• Donna.C

Provencal villages of Bonnieux, Rousillon Gordes, and Isle sur la sorgue

Departing the big city of Marseilles, we drove 2h for a change of scenery and pace of life. As a city girl, the countryside has always held more appeal. There is something magical in the vastness and raw, wild and untouched landscapes, particularly if they are among mountains.

The villages of Luberon are famed for their markets, and we coincided our arrival with market day in Bonnieux, also the location of our domain for the next 3 days. While the market in Bonnieux isn't as big as some of the others in Apt or Isle sur la sorge, the vendors sell quality goods, and we lingered at almost all of them admiring the handcrafted pottery, painted in gorgeous colours, provencal printed linen and scarfs were in beautiful prints, the chef in le husband got terribly excited at the farmers market section and came away with a load of groceries and fruits that were absolutely mouthwatering. French cheese samples were delicious, and i managed to buy a lovely aged comte and some gouda. We kinda lost it at the truffle shop because everything was so bloody delicious, from infused oils, to cremes, bread spreads.... and we cursed the meagre luggage restrictions of Lufthansa (23kg) or would have bought a whole lot more. My favourite scent, Lavender happened to be in season and permeated the whole village, making me a very happy camper.

After our bellies were full, and our wallets lighter, we headed to our airbnb , just up the village. It was in a remote but beautiful location, surrounded by olive farms, flowers were starting to bloom in spring, and the mountains surrounded us. We had a pool, but a toe dip test had me shuddering (I absolutely detest cold water) but deck chairs were placed throughout the very large piece of land in strategic locations. I throughly enjoyed lying in them, in absolute silence, reading my kindle, and listening to my spotify playlist.

It seemed like all my troubles (for that moment) melted away and everything was serene, beautiful and calm. I am truly grateful for moments like these, for the fact that I can go to places like these to get away and recharge in nature. I am blessed indeed.

Home for the time we are in the Luberon Valley

In Summer, the sun sets pretty darn late, i.e 845pm or thereabouts. Drove down to a few viewpoints where i had a panoramic view of the village and the sunset was gorgeous.

Day 2, we planned to visit Rousillon, and Gordes, which weren't too far, maybe about 30 mins from Bonnieux.

Rousillon is famed for its ochre coloured walls and cliffs coloured by mineral deposits. This made for some very instagramable shots and tourists were in full on mode. We took a walk through the little alleys in the village, and were amused at the door knockers and house designs. Like a scene from medieval movies the village seems to have frozen in time. Giant brass lion headed knockers adorned heavy wooden doors, bricklays and stone walls framed tiny houses, brightly coloured little flowers and ivy crept up hedges, giving the whole place a charm of its own. We passed by shops, selling local produce, mouthwatering sweets and chocolates, beautifully embroidered linen, cheese and wine cellars of days of olde, i.e think of winding stone staircases entering a cave filled with oak barrels.

Gordes was a slightly more "developed" village. I use the term developed loosely as it still has tried to preserve its medieval looks, but on a slightly upper class level. Films have been made at Gordes and certain movie stars have been spotted out and about and made their home here.. After a quick walk around the alley ways, admiring the stone facades, castles and beautiful old wooden doors, we stopped at a creperie for afternoon tea. It was the perfect weather for sitting outside, blue skies, sunny day out and lovely temperature. We certainly took our time savouring the delicious speculoous crepes and a nice pot of earl grey tea.

Theres a scenic lookout point which gives you the prettiest view of the entire village of Gordes and you'll then see why its named one of the prettiest villages in the Vacluse region.

The jaw dropping view of Gordes on a sunny day

Isle sur la sorge, has a huge market on sunday, from antiques to fresh groceries, chickens roasting on with baby potatoes, nuts and olives in every possible flavour, freshly baked vennoisories , giant pans of paella, as well as more beautiful linen. The next time i'm going to come with an empty suitcase and buy lots of stuff back home! The wind was on a roll that day, so we didn't take much pictures, but nevertheless came back with bags full of olive bread, comte rolls, more cheese (because you can't go to france and not eat cheese) Along the alley we passed by a second hand bookshop named the Mistral Bibliotheque with a lovely doorframe,

"The sun makes me dance"

That wraps up the Vacluse region for us, and its onward to Nice, and the southern riviera for some cycling, and more beautiful scenery!


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