Built high on a plateau in the heart of Provence sits the village of Bonnieux, know for its breathtaking views of the region and an ideal spot to base one self when visiting the South of France. With it being such a popular village to visit, we thought it helpful to share our experience on all there is to see and do, whether it’s a quick passing through or a longer stay in one of Only Provence’s luxury rentals.
A brief note on the history of Bonnieux
Human presence in the region of Bonnieux is extremely old with traces of Neanderthal man dating back as far as 50,000 and 60,000 years ago–this is hard to imagine in itself! Jumping to more “recent” times, the more official history of Bonnieux dates back some 2000 years to Roman times when a major road, the Via Domitia, ran through the Luberon valley. The Romans built another road that headed up through what’s now the route from Bonnieux to Marseille, crossing what was then a substantial river with a bridge. Many of the ancient residences date somewhere between the 16th-19 centuries, making a stroll the winding cobblestone streets a beautiful step back in time.
When to go – consider timing with the Lavender Season- it doesn’t get better!
When planning your trip, consider coming during the peak lavender season as it really is a full sensory experience. Bonnieux is perfectly perched above a sprawling valley of lavender fields and is known for its spectacular display during the months of June and July.
What to include in your Bonnieux Tourist Itinerary
Church of Saint Sauveur
There is a 12th Century church on top of the hill that will require a 86 step climb but the views are well worth it. It’s the perfect stroll to take either before or after a lunch in town. It was originally built as a fortress church and played a defensive role during any historical times of conflict. The Old Church stands as a testament to the village’s enduring history as well as interesting example of how architecture has evolved over the centuries.
Weekly Outdoor Markets
Like all villages, Bonnieux offers a vibrant morning market on Friday offering the best of Provence’s regional specialities–olives, cheese, honey, fruits and vegetables etc.. The market in Lourmarin, only 15 minutes away is bigger and more extensive. If you are staying over a Saturday, the morning market in Apt, only 10 km away, is also known to be one of the best in the region.
Musée de la Boulangerie, (bread museum) is located inside a village house on the rue de la République. The museum is open by appointment only and on program days. Located around an old bread oven, the museum offers fascinating history surrounding bread in Provence- one that dates more than 8,000 years old. It’s an invitation to discover the world of read from the wheat field to the table.
The Pont Julien— a few kms outside the village, you’ll a Roman stone arch bridge over the Calavon river that dates back to 3 BC. Originally, it was built on the Via Domitia, an important Roman road which connected Italy to the Roman territories in France.
Popular Nearby Villages
For Nature Lovers
The Cedar Forest is just a few short km away and offers beautiful botanical trails enabling visitors to discover the wealth of flora, fauna and wildlife that has taken possession of the cedar forest. Wheelchairs can easily move around on a 1200-metre route, thanks to the installation of an environmentally friendly cedar floor.
Bonnieux: Where to Dine
From simple cafes and bistros to Michelin star establishments, Bonnieux has a great variety of places to eat and drink.
L’Arome: Listed in the Michelin guide, and known for its creative Provencal cuisine, vaulted dining room and charming ambiance.
La Bergerie Just on the outskirts of town and part of the luxury hotel Capelongue, La Bergerie offers fresh local fare with amazing views of the village.
La Bastide: Fine Michelin star dining also part of the lovely Capelongue Hotel.
Le Fournil: Right in the center of the village, tucked underneath a rock cliff, this restaurant recently changed hands and offers a unique blend of tapas innovative dishes.The restaurant also owns the ice cream shop –a perfect spot for the kids to have a treat while their parents enjoy a lazy lunch.
In the middle of the village, just up the hill from the “New Church,” you can find a variety of cafes and bistros for more casual dining.
Wineries… simply everywhere
Bonnieux is beautifully situated close to many of the region’s best wineries. You can typically book private tours and tastings that offer more extensive experiences, but know that all offer walk-in tastings for free (under 6 people).
La Canorgue is a family run domaine, and a must for any wine lovers. It was also the setting for Ridley Scott’s blockbuster A Good Year. The estate has all the charm and more when you visit in person. Ridley Scott bought a vineyarhttps://masdesinfermieres.com/d himself – Mas des Infermières, nearby and is well worth a visit. The Cave a Bonnieux is found just outside of town towards Goult and has a wide variety of wines. One of the best known wineries in this area is Domaine de La Verriere. It is located in Goult, approximately 8km from Bonnieux. Chateau de Milles is a must-do as it is a 13th century winery steeped in history with exceptional wines. In Menerbes, about 12 km from Bonnieux, are Aureto and Domaine Citadelle
Most wineries are closed on Sundays and during lunch hours.
For a complete list of all things to see and do in Provence, download our Insider’s Guide to Provence.
Luxury Villa Rentals in Bonnieux, France
As the luxury property rental market has exploded worldwide, renting a luxury villa has become the preferred choice for accommodations in Provence. Only Provence has the largest selection of luxury properties in the region.
Benefits of Luxury Villa Rentals
One of the many benefits of renting a luxury villa is having a genuinely private yet authentic experience in Provence, complete with in-home chef services.
Below are some of the few great benefits of a luxury villa over other traditional accommodation options.
- Personalized experiences such as private chefs and organized tours and activities;
- Privacy and exclusivity;
- A dedicated villa manager and staff;
- A sense of feeling at home while staying in a private luxury villa;
- Private luxury villas are ideal for groups of families or friends traveling together.