This lovely circular walk takes you into the cedar forest of the Petit Luberon high above the village of Bonnieux, affording fantastic views back across the valley to your start point and towards the perched village of Lacoste.
Starting at the Eglise Neuve, sometimes labelled Eglise Basse on maps, your walk today takes you up above the village of Bonnieux through woodland up on to a high plateau of the Petit Luberon. After leaving the town on a quiet tarmac road, the route enters the forest. Climbing upwards on a hikers path, eventually you reach the top of the plateau from where there are fantastic views down to the valleys below. On the summit of the plateau, you can enjoy the cooling canopy of the Foret des Cedres, the Cedar Forest. There are several clearly marked walks in the forest should you wish to spend more time enjoying the shade. From the forest, the path descends steeply down back to the valley. Again joining a tarmac road for a short time you will walk through the farms and small vineyards that surround Bonnieux before arriving back in the village.
Take some time at the start of the walk (or the end) to explore Bonnieux. This pretty Provencal small town is set on a hillside and is a maze of small streets. There are some interesting independent shops selling paintings, pottery, local produce and other artisanal products. Remember that most French shops close between 12 and 3 each day for lunch.
Sturdy boots are definitely required today. The ascent and the descent the plateau both involve walking on stony forest paths where it would be easy to turn an ankle or take a slip and fall.
You may want to consider taking walking poles with you to assist with the stiff and stony path on walk up to the plateau, and particularly for the descent.
Eglise Haute, Bonnieux
A climb up to the 12th century Eglise Haute church at the top of the village with its high pointed steeple is worth it for the views.
Musee de Boulangerie
The Musee de Boulangerie displays a period bread oven and bread shop, and explains the history of bread from Roman times through the Medieval era and the French Revolution. The museum is open daily except Tuesdays, 1 April to 31 Aug. Sept - Oct weekends only and is closed 1 Nov to 31 March. 12 rue de la Republique. http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/en/museum/bakery-museum-bonnieux
If you are lucky enough to be in Bonnieux on a Friday, be sure to check out the market which spreads up through the village from the Eglise Neuve. An array of goods is for sale, including locally-grown fruit and vegetables, basketware, pottery, artisan honey, lavender oils, olive wood dinner ware and cotton clothing.
Food and drink
Be sure to take a picnic with you today as there are no places to stop for food after leaving Bonnieux. Bonnieux has a small supermarket called "Utile" on the Rue Jean Baptiste.
This tour is available on the following itineraries: