Discover the Heart of Provence – Luberon’s Magnificent Hilltop Villages

Lavender field in Provence, Southern France. (Fotolia)

Let’s travel to three idyllic ‘perched’ hilltop villages of the Luberon – Bonnieux, Gordes and Roussillon. Soak up the French spirit of joie de vivre at these medieval stone towns, each having has something to offer, and worth discovering.

Lavender field in Provence, Southern France. (Fotolia)

Nothing harkens summer in Provence better than the sweet scent of lavender. Across the iconic countryside, soothing fragrance emanates from sweeping fields of delicate mauve, lavender distilleries, and lavender honey, soaps, crepes and sorbets. There’s a magic in the balmy air that brings to mind the thought – ‘Paradise’.

Which is exactly what the French regard Provence as. And the jewel in the crown is the Luberon – a 600 square kilometre massif at the heart of Provence. Across the rugged mountainous landscape, striking stone villages perch atop hills, offering panoramic views of the lavender fields that blanket the countryside from June to August.

Ancient cobbled streets, stone abbeys, and fortresses define Luberon’s stunning hilltop villages, which have inspired dozens of writers, artists, and travellers for centuries. Rising above the sea of lush forested valleys and iconic vineyards, olive groves, and cherry orchards, they are the doorway to the ‘genuine Provencal experience’.

Let’s travel to three of Luberon’s ‘perched’ hilltop villages- Bonnieux, Gordes and Roussillon. These idyllic medieval stone towns, each having something to discover, are without doubt a lovely and peaceful retreat from the world.

Lavender field in Provence, Southern France. (Fotolia)

‘Enjoy a genuine Provencal experience’ at the laid-back and enchanted villages of Luberon, which for centuries, have inspired writers, artists, and travellers by the dozen.

Bonnieux: The Hilltop Bastion

One of the finest medieval villages in the Luberon, the hilltop village of Bonnieux is an impressive sight to behold. (

One of the finest medieval villages in the Luberon, the hilltop village of Bonnieux is an impressive sight to behold. From the church tower at its pinnacle, 19th-century honey-coloured stone houses cascade down the hillside, overlooking the rustic fields, orchards and vineyards of the Calavon river valley.

Previously home to several bishops during the 16-18th centuries, this once-affluent village has a 2,000 year-old history dating to Roman times. As such, there is much marvellous architecture to explore: ancient stone walls (remparts), medieval fortifications, stone fountains like the Dolphen Fountain, and the Pont Julien bridge built by the Romans.

Near the village summit is Rue Droite, the oldest street in Bonnieux, and the 12th-century Roman-gothic church Vieille Église, whose church tower tops the village. A second and newer church – Église Neuve – rests at the base of the village. Built in 1870, it is home to vividly depicted scenes of the Passion of Christ.

With a population of 1,400 residents, Bonnieux contains an impressive range of amenities. These include a post office, ATM, grocery store, pharmacy, tourist office, restaurants, cafes, shops, art galleries, and fashion boutiques. There is even an elementary school, community centre, library, and a bread museum – Musée de la Boulangerie, which showcases the history of sourdough bread.

Besides admiring the scenic village, also worth exploring are nearby landmarks like the Jardin de la Louve, an award-winning private garden; the Enclos des Bories, a drystone village in the Cedar Forest (Forêt de Cèdres); and the Café de la Gare, mentioned by British author Peter Mayle in his bestseller, ‘A Year in Provence’.

A delightful outdoor farmers’ market opens every Friday morning on the Place Gambetta, a small square situated in the centre of the village. The market sells the freshest produce, including strawberries, Cavaillon melon, wild boar sausage, cheeses, tapenades and jams, olive oils, honey, as well as fashion wear and crafts by local artisans.

Bonnieux also has a popular pottery market, which takes place each year during the Easter weekend.

Gordes: The White Citadel

Visit the link below for the rest of the article!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s