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Enjoy the sights (and smells) of the lavender fields in Provence. Photo: iStockphoto

Local Color is a new blog series that takes a look at colorful places around the world.

The color purple occurs very rarely in nature, but there are a few lovely places around the world where you cansee it in abundance.

The lavender fields of Provence bloom a deep purple from early June to late August. Right now the last of the lavender is being harvested and dried to make the soaps, oils, and perfumes that this region in France is known for. Now would be the time to visit to see the remaining purple plants and get first dibs on the freshest products.

Cairns, Australia is the home of the largest amethyst geode in the world, known as the Empress of Uruguay after the country she was discovered in. This humungous natural geode is more than 11 feet tall and weighs two and a half tons. Inside the giant rock are thousands of glittering crystals that appear to change from deep plum to periwinkle depending on the angle from which you’re looking at them.

At Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, California, the sand is literally made of gems. Manganese garnet that washes down from the surrounding hills mixes with the white sand and  streaks the beach with purple grains. Pfeiffer Beach is particularly stunning at sunset, when the light makes the entire cove look like it’s been painted purple.

Just a few hours north of Big Sur, the town of Loomis, California will be hosting their 26th Annual Eggplant Festival on October 5. Local chefs and farmers prepare every permutation of the purple fruit you can possibly imagine… and then they make a few more. One of the more unusual Loomis traditions is the boxcar derby: kids enter the competition by building a pine car that is then “driven” downhill by an eggplant with a face painted on it.

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Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith is a writer, traveler and lover of cities currently living in Austin, Texas. Follow her on Twitter at @shameonseamus.
Jamie Smith

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