Bonnieux is the biggest and the busiest of the perched villages in the Luberon and one of the loveliest, a belvedere overlooking all Le Petit Luberon. The ungainly modern church at the bottom of the village contains four colourful 16th-century wood paintings of the passion of Christ; also make a stop at the musee de la Boulangerie, rue de la Republique ( open 10 – 12:30 am and 2:30 -6 pm) in April-June and October. A couple of good restaurants are Le Fournil ( built troglodyte-like, right into the stone), on Place Carnot and the other popular restaurant Le Terrail near Place Gambetta. On rue Voltaire , you can scrutinize the galleries and antique shops tucked in the old buildings. Pass under the arched passageway , cross over Rue de La Republique, and follow rue de La Republique and follow stony Rue de La Mairie under the next arch and into the sunlight. Mount the stone-paved stairs on the right , going past the stone arched- entrance to the hotel de Ville, up and some more to the terrace for a beautiful panorama of the patchwork valley and the Vaucluse plateau. Visit the 12th- century Eglise Vieille to see the terraced vineyards. On Rue Mairie , The restaurant Le Cesar, sitting in Place de La Liberte with its brightly colored awnings, invites you to stop for a bite.
The Village of Roussillon. Sits atop the highest hills within sight, is awash with the ochre and red colors of its surrounding earth. From the place du Pasquier, follow Rue des Bourgades along the rim of the village, noting the houses and walls in shades of lightest yellow to deep brick red. Pass rue des Lauriers and find the stairs at the end of the stone wall. Climb the stairs, then turn right on Rue de la Porte Heureuse to look at its galleries and studios. If you turn left into Chemin de Ronde, there are extended panoramas from the view point back across the Val des Fees.
On rue de L’Eglise you will find Eglise St Michel, an 11th-century, modest church. Follow the path past the church to another viewpoint to enjoy expansive vistas across the countryside and to Mont Ventoux on the horizon. You can enjoy a nice lunch or dinner at the Cafe des Couleurs which overhangs the edge of the village and offers an interrupted view of the ochre colored countryside from the wall of windows.
Gordes. Officially classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Gordes sits on the edge of the Vaucluse plateau, its tiers of houses rising high above the valleys. From Place des Chateaux , walk across the place to visit the 17th-century, Chapelle des Penitents Blancs, built on an ancient fortified city gate. Pass by the corner tower of the 11th-century castle, rebuilt as a 16th century chateau, and step into Place Genty Pantaly. When you turn right under the arch of Rue de L’Eglise you will come face to face with L’Eglise de St-Firmin, the interior exhibits fine 18th-century ironwork, and its Chapel is dedicated to blacksmiths, locksmiths, and cobblers. The caves St- Firmin are a great place to visit for a quiet tour of the vaulted cellar of a 16th-ccentury mansion that includes an old olive oil mill and the cisterns. If you ascend rue Andre Lothe for more spectacular views.
These villages will be part of our itinerary for our Gourmet Tour taking place in May ( May 2 – May 9, 2015). Visit us online at http://www.luxurytravelconsultant2.com.