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30 of the most beautiful places in the world

July 8, 2014, 9:01 a.m.
lavender fields provence

Photo: Anneka/Shutterstock

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Lavender fields of France

For this one we're also considering the olfactory component, because fields of vibrant flowers in Provence, France are one thing; but add waves of heady lavender fragrance to the setting and it's a slam-dunk in the beautiful places department. We can thank the Romans for bringing lavender to France, which they did more than 2,000 years ago. The hillsides and plateaus provided the perfect place for wild lavender to flourish and throughout the Middle Ages the local Provencal inhabitants collected the flowers for natural remedies and cleaning. By the end of the 19th century, increased attention was paid to maintaining and cultivating the lavender, resulting in its thriving position in the economy, culture and fields of the region today. Take a deep breath.