•Vaucluse (84480) • Population: 1,395 • Altitude: 420 m
Bonnieux is perched on a narrow, steep ridge, rising up from a flat plain to the 12th-century "Eglise Haute " church at the top with its high, pointed steeple. The village is full of of picturesque old streets, fountains, shops and Medieval walls as well as cafés and restaurants.
Bonnieux is a hillside village, so walking is much more up and down than flat. There are handy terrace café-restaurants spread throughout, so resting with refreshments is always available.
Bonnieux Fountains, Lavoirs
Amidst the 19th-century houses, ancient stone walls and Medieval fortifications are numerous old fountains and lavoirs. This Dolphen Fountain (also known as the Grande Fontaine) on Rue de la République is a good example.
The large, double-spigot fountain on the Place du 4 September was built in the 16th century, and there's a lavoir tucked into a nook just below.
Silkworms and Street Art
Silk was a major industry in Bonnieux from the 17th to 19th centuries, and most of the inhabitants of that time were involved in some way, from raising silkworms to collecting mulberry leaves. The tall, narrow building with the row of small windows along the top (our photo) was one of the silkworm factories (magnaneries).
Provence village street art is often in the form of trompe-l'oeil wall murals. During our August 2015 visit, Bonnieux street art was in the form of large, nearly-monchrome images, such as this Parasol Lady, or the ancient couple at the adjacent Place Carnot, or a giant postman delivering a blue shutter on Rue Pasteur.
Bonnieux has Beyond's only bread museum, the Musée de la Boulangerie. The museum displays a period bread oven and bread shop, not so much different than what you see in today's small boulangeries (although they are steadily disappearing with the encroachement of the massive "bread factories").
The Bonnieux Musée de la Boulangerie is in a 17th-century house, perfectly natural for this ancient village. The museum explains the history of bread, from Roman times through Medieval and the French Revolution. Explained is the entire sequence of bread making, from the agrarian civilizations and their farming equipment, through the milling to the distribution.
The museum is open daily except Tuesdays, 1 Apr to 31 Aug; Sept-Oct weekends only;
closed 1 Nov to 31 Mar.
12 rue de la République. Tél 04 90 75 88 34; Fax 04 90 20 53 45
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History of Bonnieux
First record, 1103 Castrum Bonils
Prehistoric: There are many neolithic signs at and around Bonnieux, including several shelters and tombs.
Celto-Ligurian: Gaulois villages of the "Vulgientes"
Medieval: a monastery in the 6th century (on the site of a pagan temple); part of the Comtat Venaissin; abandoned in the 13th century; Knights Templiers
Tel : 04 90 75 91 90; Fax: 04 90 75 92 94
Market day: Fri.
Aug (3rd weekend) - Fête votive
The Luberon is a very popular area for cycling, and there are always cycling groups or individuals passing through Bonnieux. We found a couple of cycle rental places in the village (2015) offering classic and electric-powered bicycles. One is located on the Ancien Chemin de Lourmarin, just below the Place de 4 September; another (our photo) is a bit further up, on Rue Marceau.
The Luberon en Vélo cycling path runs 100 km between Cavaillon, Apt and Forcalquier.
• GPS: 43.823228, 5.308192
IGN (1/25,000) #3142 E "Apt (ouest), Bonnieux (3242 OT)"
IGN (1/25,000) #3243 OT "Pertuis, Lourmarin"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #14 "Luberon, Sainte-Victoire"
• The GR97 (Grande Randonnée) passes through the center of the Luberon mountains south of the Bonnieux.
• A hiking trail south from the village goes into the Luberon to join the GR97.
• A hiking trail north from Bonnieux crosses fields and a few low hills to join the GR6 Hiking Trail near Roussillon, about 10 km away.
There are many good dining possibilities in Bonnieux, from the terrace cafés along the Ave de la Gare at the bottom of the village to more dedicated restaurants higher up. A favorite of ours is the César hotel-restaurant on the Place de la Liberté. Partly because of excellent food and a great view (this photo from the window, 2015), and partly nostalgic: we stayed in the hotel on our first visit in 1997.
- See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 02: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map and schedules (link for PDF files).
Apt - Aix-en-Provence Bus
- Vaucluse bus line 9.1 serves Apt, Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Puyvert, Lauris, Cadenet, Villelaure, Pertuis, Aix-en-Provence.
Avignon, Pertuis Bus
- Two Vaucluse bus lines are required to travel between Avignon and Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Cadenet or Pertuis.
(A) Line 15.1: Avignon, Coustellet, Les Baumettes, Goult/Loumieres, Gare de Bonnieux, Bonnieux/Pont Julien, Apt Le Chene, Apt; Line 9.1: Apt, Bonnieux, Lourmarin, Puyvert, Lauris, Cadenet, Villelaure, Pertuis.
(B) Line 7: Avignon, Caumont, Cavaillon; Line 15.2: Cavaillon, Cheval-Blanc, Mérindol, Puget, Lauris, Puyvert, Lourmarin, Cadenet, Villelaure, Pertuis.
Cavaillon - Bonnieux - Apt Bus 15.2
- Vaucluse bus line 15.2 serves the towns and villages: Cavaillon, Les Taillades, Robion, Coustellet, Maubec, Oppède, Ménerbes, Les Beaumettes, Goult, Lacoste, Bonnieux, Gargas, Apt.
The trip between Cavaillon and Apt is about 1h45.
Cavaillon has links to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.
See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 02: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map and schedules (link for PDF files).
Cavaillon - Bonnieux Bus
- Vaucluse bus line 15.2 serves the towns and villages: Cavaillon, Les Taillades, Robion, Maubec, Oppède, Ménerbes, Lacoste, Bonnieux. There are 3 buses a day: early morning, mid-day, evening.
Cavaillon has links to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.
Department 84, Vaucluse Buses
- See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
• Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
• Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
• Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.