Plus Beaux Villages de France
Population: 1,408 in 2007
This is Bonnieux, France and the Luberon valley, our 2nd Plus Beaux Village de France destination. Due to our want to visit Roussillon, we positioned ourselves in this village, especially so that hotel rates in Lourmarin are beyond our budget. We found this boutique hotel boasting of a terrace overlooking the valley, we were sold!
We had about 24 hours in Bonnieux, how did we spend it?
Explore! Get on Your Feet
Bonnieux is a perched village. That being said, exploring can be challenging especially for couch potatoes like me. However, Bonnieux is a charming village that can only be enjoyed by walking.
The doors and windows of the houses are so lovely in their Provencal trademark. Very photogenic and makes time and tiredness go by unnoticed.
The houses in Bonnieux also display character, withstanding the tests of time and season.
Bonnieux is screaming of art that one has to be on his toes for those little secrets along the way. It encourages anyone to keep walking, and walking, and walking to uncover the beauty of this village.
We discovered the Fontaine aux Dauphins and the Ancien Hotel de Ville, which leads to the older church.
Bonnieux Market on a Friday
Provence markets are a famous destination in themselves that we made sure to coincide our trip to its market day. As with Lourmarin, Bonnieux’s market day is held every Fridays.
Bonnieux market is the 3rd Provencal market we have visited. While I read raves about visiting on a Friday, I found their market paling in comparison to Lourmarin’s and L’Isle Sur La Sorgue’s. We didn’t spend too much time looking around. If interested, be there preferably at 10am when the market is abuzz until after lunchtime.
While on our way to the Friday market, we stumbled across an impressive crèche display in one of the houses. Creches, or the nativity scene, are a popular tradition in Provence, and the handmade clay figurines are called santons. The owner was there entertaining the visitors. He said he holds the crèche display in the Vieille Eglise during the Christmas season. I wonder how much more fascinating that would be.
The newer of the 2 churches in Bonnieux located at the foot of the village. As is the village, the church is very solemn inside when we visited.
Hike up to Ou Vieille Eglise
This must be one of the highest, if not the highest place you can get to in Bonnieux. This is the structure that you first see on your way to Bonnieux.
We planned to go up for sunset. Unfortunately, there was no sun, and even if there was, we found out that the church was not the best place to view it. However, though the hike was quite tiring with 86 steps, the views in front of you are worth it. The cedar trees add a little bit more to its charm.
We climbed up to see the church and it was closed when we went there. There was a lot more to see as we walked around. As we walked further, we came to this most serene place in Bonnieux. This must be a good place for meditation, as it was adorned with a cross, a few benches and trees shaped by the Mistral wind.
Time to Rejuvenate
After all the sightseeing and shopping, who can resist the goodness of Provencal cuisine? There is a variety to choose from, some offering views of the valley.
Being a small village, there isn’t much to do at sundown and it quiets down early. We were not able to pass the time at our terrace as it was very cold, so we called it a night early. There was a lot of time to recuperate the tired feet.
In 24 Hours…
I think a day is enough to appreciate Bonnieux. In fact, we spent less time as we left to visit Menerbes in the afternoon and Roussillon the morning after. Our visit to the market made a lot of difference in how the rest of our day went. We had high expectations that wasn’t met, I guess, that we shifted to lazy gear all of a sudden.
I guess it happens. No matter how beautiful the place is, sometimes you just don’t click.
But see for yourself. Yours might be a different story.