Bonnieux, Vaucluse tourism & sightseeing
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Bonnieux is towards the east of the Luberon region of Provence, between Lourmarin and Lacoste. The village, sprawling attractively down the side of a hill, is less developed for tourism than many of the villages in the Petit Luberon, but is well worth the detour.
There is a main road that passes through the centre of the village and effectively divides Bonnieux into two parts. Most of the shops and commerces are in the lower part of the village, and winding alleys are in the upper part, leading to the church that stands at the top of the hill.
Start your visit in the lower part of the village, with a visit to Bonnieux tourist office on the corner of Place Carnot to ask for the map showing the highlights in the village: there are numerous information boards throughout the village and the map shows you where they are...they are in French only but have photos of how the places looked in days gone by so are interesting even if your French is rusty!
First explore the lower part of the town, with its quiet narrow streets and arcaded passages running down to the bottom of the valley, perhaps stopping in a cafe or to look in the window of an art gallery or two.
Although there are no particularly important historic monuments in this part of Bonnieux there is still much to see and enjoy in the winding streets that meander quietly through the village as well as the lower church, built in1870 and containing various items that were originally in the old church, for example several 16th century paintings.
Next you can follow the Rue Voltaire up the hill from the tourist office as far as the Place de la Liberté - take a look on Rue Emile Eppy here to see one of the original gateways into the fortified village with a guard house above.
Now ascend the long straight staircase called Rue des Penitents which climbs straight up the hill to the top of the town. This staircase passes the old town hall (the Hotel de Rouvil, a private house, until the middle of the 19th century and used as the mairie for Bonnieux until 2006) with its overly grand stone entrance.
As you climb you will notice a few narrow passages that lead off to the side and wind around the hill. Take the time to explore these quiet passages, there are some attractive undiscovered houses and gardens hidden away in the quiet corners of Bonnieux.
At the top of the long staircase along Rue des Penitents is a viewpoint that overlooks the roofs of Bonnieux and the countryside beyond. The Chapel Notre-Dame des Sept Douleurs originally stood in this place but had to be demolished after an earthquake early in the 20th century, and the vault you can see is the only remaining trace of the chapel.
From here a second staircase leads to the 12th century village church, where you can get some shade from the heat and enjoy the far reaching views in all directions. There is a small part of the original roman style church to see (to the east) but most of the church was rebuilt in the gothic style in the 15th century when the Popes were established in Avignon.
The church is surrounded by cedar trees and a small park area and is a nice place for a picnic. The church itself is no longer in use because religious services are now held in the church at the bottom of Bonnieux.
Bonnieux also has a museum that relates the history of bread making - the Musée de la Boulangerie.
A few kilometres north-east of Bonnieux you can visit the Pont-Julien, a stone bridge with three arches that was built for Julius Caesar 2000 years ago. Another attractive place to stop and explore is the cedar forest just outside Bonnieux, which has marked botanical trails leading through the woods.
The village you can see off to the east of Bonnieux is Lacoste, which we also recommend you visit, as are the villages at Lourmarin and Menerbes. Many other pretty Luberon villages are within easy reach.
Map of Bonnieux and places nearby
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Address: Bonnieux, Apt, Provence, 84480, France || GPS: latitude 43.8239, longitude 5.3075
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Jardin de la Louve: remarkable garden
- Lourmarin: most beautiful village (8 km)
- Menerbes: most beautiful village (8 km)
- Roussillon: most beautiful village (9 km)
- Apt: recommended detour (9 km)
- Gorges de RÃ©galon: site of natural beauty (11 km)
- Gorges de Régalon: site of natural beauty (11 km)
- Jardin à la française du Pavillon de Galon: remarkable garden (12 km)
- Abbaye de Silvacane (La Roque-d'Antheron): religious monument (12 km)
- Luberon: regional natural parc (13 km)
- Gordes: most beautiful village (13 km)
- Abbaye de Sénanque (Gordes): religious monument (13 km)
The French version of this page is at Bonnieux (Francais)