Beautiful and picturesque Gordes is the first hill town many travelers think of when they plan to visit the Luberon. A short drive away, several other small and less visited towns provide respite from the crowds and a delightful way to spend a day.
The pleasant perched village of Bonnieux offers a lively Friday morning market, great views of the Calavin Valley and 2 excellent restaurants for lunch or dinner.
Narrow roads and steep passageways will take you to Upper Bonnieux and the Rue des Penitents Blancs. On a clear day, the terrace below the 12th century Haute Eglise (High Church) offers an excellent vantage point to view the plateau of the Vaucluse, the small town of Lacoste and in the distance, Gordes and Rousillon. You may even be able to see the Mont
The traditional Friday morning market takes place on the main square and continues down the hill and on to the square by the New Church. The produce and food stalls occupy the main square with fabrics, handicrafts, straw baskets and jewelry nearby.
There are two fine restaurants to try in the center of town. Located on the Place Carnot, Le Fournil is the perfect spot for a leisurely Sunday lunch on the terrace. The restaurant offers 2 prix fixe "menus" at lunch and dinner as well as a la carte dishes. Chef Malbec prides himself on a fresh, seasonal Mediterranean cuisine.
A few short steps away on rue Lucien Blanc, the 14th century vaulted dining room of L'Arome is a cozy and romantic spot for dinner. The Provencal dishes prepared by chef Jean-Michel Pages are well-prepared and beautifully presented.
Before leaving the area, be sure to make the short drive to the easily missed but well-preserved Pont Julien. Believed to be built in 3 BC under the orders of Julius Caeser, the elegant little Pont Julien is the only remaining bridge on the Via Domitia, the ancient Roman road linking northern Italy to Spain through Gaul (now France).