Menerbes, France

Menerbes. A beautiful accidental addition to our itinerary.

Based in Bonnieux, in the Luberon area Provence, we were kinda restrained with our itinerary as my friend and I are dependent on the scarce public transport in the area. We were supposed to visit Roussillon that afternoon but couldn’t figure out a way to get there. Rather than wasting time in Bonnieux, we looked for other villages we can visit, and here it is… Menerbes.

Bus Number: 18

Fare: 1.50 Euro per way

Travel Time from Bonnieux via Bus: approx. 30 minutes

Visit Duration: 1 hour

If our bus ride to Menerbes is an omen, we would know that arriving in the afternoon will be a very quiet affair. There were just me and my friend in the bus. With just an hour, we hurried up the hill to find out for ourselves how Menerbes has become one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France.

With a very small population (1,144 in 2007), this perched village has a lot of Provencal charm. I just loved Provencal houses that I found myself wondering how it would have felt living stress-free in one of them. I loved the faint Mediterranean colors of the houses, the colorful doors and windows in contrast, the clinging vines that cover the walls…

Indeed, I am in France. I am in Provence!

The views around Menerbes are so lush in green. It is refreshing to feast your eyes on the colorful windows and doors and the nature around.

As we climb up, we reached a small square with a restaurant, a clock tower and an arch leading to a viewpoint of the other side of the valley. Walking farther to the west of the square, we reached a small 12th century church and a cemetery beside it.

By the bench in front of the church we found out that 5 sculptures of Etienne Viard.are on display all around Menerbes.

Born in 1954, Etienne Viard may be proud of his presence on several continents, in private and public properties or collections. His steel “Vegetals”, “Torsions”, “Waves”…are directly inspired by Nature : trees, rain, water, geological layers… After a complex work of drawings and maquettes, and with great energy and concentration, the artist slices steel sheets and bend them in his will.

 It started some sort of a treasure hunting game to locate all these 5, but we were only able to see 4. One was tucked inside Joe Downing Garden, that we almost missed.

There could probably be a few more sights we haven’t seen, but with only an hour to spend, we were convinced it deserves to be named one of the Plus Beau Villages.

A quaint village, tucked inwards of Luberon, the secret is in just wandering, without an itinerary and not letting yourself be pressed for time. This is one village where we purposely didn’t look for the Tourist Center and just walk to where an hour will take us.

Menerbes is one of the 3 reasons why I am having an obsession to visit more Plus Beau Villages of France in the future.

How about you? Do you fancy small villages too? Which ones for you are the best?


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