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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Country Travel Life Village Tour – Part Three


French Country Travel Life Village  Tour – Part Three   may  increase your enjoyment if you first check out  PART ONE  and  PART TWO. (but, hey…if you’re a risk taker…..)

When you finally descend the wondering heights of Lacoste, turn right on RN 100, and enjoy the scenery. But not for too long. Because in no less than 5 to 10 driving minutes, you’ll be seeing a sign for “Bonnieux.” (she being the last of our hilltop stops.)

bicyclegourmet.comGo slowly along this here byway, and if it’s late June or early July, look left and you’ll see a half dozen bing cherry trees.  These are “anybody’s tree’s.” As in no designated owner. So, feel free to sample the “fruits of the land.” (keeping in mind what too many cherries can do!)

200 or so metres past the trees,  a rustic building partially submerged in greenery will emerge . As you turn right, you’ll see it’s a classic “in-the-middle-of-nowhere” French Ma and Pa Cafe, Coffee Shop and Dry Cleaners. (Actually, they may not be offering this service anymore. but, hey – never hurts to ask – right?)

Amazingly, I’ve never eaten there.  Even more amazing considering I lived in the gite exactly next door for a winter. So – now it’s your chance. (p.s. the gite is now a private residence.)

Across from the cafe/ancient Gite, a concrete confirmation(and aren’t those the best kind?) that kitsch is universal. An old train station  has been converted into mutiple arts n’ crafty …dare we call them “boutiques?”  Hey – why not!

bicyclegourmet.comAfter thrilling to these down home country attractions, it’s time to drink in more of the Luberon National Park’s wonders. And, happily, this wonder is just down the road.  And you can get a (small) drink there. for FREE! Yes, dear reader, yet another “Cave Co-operative!” She belonging to Bonnieux, where you will next be adventuring.

By now, you,  a cave co-operative veteran of (at least) Coustellet and Lumiere need no instruction, prompting or skill testing questions to know what to do!

After doing what needs to be done and gaining an enhanced appreciation for the Luberon’s liquid treasures, the road will, as you have no doubt anticipated, begin to make like yeast.  And soon the village of Bonnieux will be looming medium large ahead.


Bonnieux, like it’s hilltop cousins “dates back to Roman times.” So, if you’re inclined to wander about (you are – right?) you’ll find no shortage of evidence of the passing of the ancient conquerers. The “lil’ B” (pop – about 1500) also sports a cedar forest.  Them thar trees being imported from North Africa during the Napoleonic era.

You’ll remember in Part One of this riveting saga I said the  “Gordes is the most celebrated of the hilltop villages.” I also promised “more on Gordes later.”

OK – now is “later.”  First of all, to get there, you’ll need to go all the way back to your starting point. – Coustellet. The crossroads village. And at that intersection (there’s only one – so no confusion) turn Right.  The road gradually winds upward, through rocky, sagebrushy scenery . The village, which will come into view ahead, and to the right, is definitely “imposing.” With a capital “I.”


Sadly, due to the fact it’s in every “most-beautiful-villages-in-france-you-must-see-or-be-a-total-loser” guidebook, the prices are equally imposing. Unless, of course you’re already good with dropping 6 euro ( about $7.80 U.S.) for a postage stamp cuppa joe.

Now, I’m not saying give Gordes a miss. DA BG’s  advice is:  1) Visit off-season (middle of May/last week September 2) pack a lunch 3) bring something wonderful from your cave co-operative adventures.

More hilltop villages another time – but this should get you started on your French Country Travel Life Village  Tour – n’est ce pas?


What are ya thinkin’?

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42 Responses to “French Country Travel Life Village Tour – Part Three”

  1. janie bond says:

    great images. great post. Classic BG! (but then – all of them are!)

  2. samantha domingo says:

    i agree with your statement about gordes..defin itely “imposing” in every sense. thanks for the “heads-up” about the coffee prices!

  3. laura hilgaldo says:

    I hear you Samantha …but i think most of us expect high prices from places that are well known.

  4. paul hoskins says:

    bonnieux would be my preference – not gordes.

  5. reggie bender says:

    agree completely paul! 1500 people as opposed to who knows who many gawking tourists is deinfitely my cup of tea. (hopefully at a non-gordes price!)

  6. alice wanderly says:

    love the opening photo..can almost smell that lavender!

  7. candance appleby says:

    i want those gardens in the first picture! (and there’s a house with them i hope?)

  8. lauren reid says:

    i’m with candance..110%! those garden are incredible. and you post wasn’t bad either! (lol)

  9. marly starwater says:

    that photo of the cherry tree is pure meditation!

  10. david gephardt says:

    with these three exceptional posts – you’ve given us an early east present even better than a huge chocolate egg….a fabulous initerary!…i for one will be taking action!

  11. sanders viksna says:

    you saved me from saying it david..(and said it better) i would have PAID to get real down to the ground info like this. BG – long may you reign to write!

  12. raoul kensada says:

    i too would very much like to visit those gardens, with something nice from the bonnieux cave-co-op!

  13. judith mobley says:

    raoul..don’t think you’re going to get any arguements there from DA BG’s readers. certaintly not from this one! (lol)

  14. ben dover says:

    gee…never heard of a cafe that also does dry cleaning….could DA BG be pulling our legs here?

  15. con annecy says:

    everytime you do a great post (which is often!) i want to say: “this is your best post ever”…but i can’t because you keep coming up with “better” darn you! (lol)

  16. blair hunnicut says:

    love the way you state the obvious in such a funny way…”dates back to roman times”….hey, i guess pretty much all of europe alos “dates back”..yeah?

  17. cathy venera says:

    blair…..you are a great historian. (if you didn’t already know it)

  18. ewen peters says:

    from your photo, looks like Gordes is well worth visiting. (as long as you bring your own coffee!)

  19. barry mcmaster says:

    i’m a writer…not yet “an author”..and i am constantly in admiration of the way you use colorful descriptions and subtle turns of phrase to drive home a point. like “descending the WONDERING heights…” little touches, yes, but, so essential for creating atmosphere. reading you is instructional. but FUN instructional. many thanks!

  20. pouls nordstrom says:

    this is a region i was aware of…but not in such wonderful detail.
    we will certaintly be following your itinerary when we visit france this spring! bravo for this excellent post!

  21. randy baxter says:

    sure don’t need travel guidebooks with you around. this looks like one great circuit…and i’m gonna try it. thanks BG!

  22. inyu sisimut says:

    some really great information here…i especially agree with you on when to visit….summer is just a bad idea ..almost anywhere in europe.

  23. ramon valdez says:

    very cool stuff man! you reallt got the lowdown on this place…and dig your info on the wine..;rad!..definitely worth checking out.
    stayy cool bro!

  24. valerie ranmis says:

    you described gordes as “imposing”…from your picture my adjective would be “GINORMOUS!

  25. cyril pendergast says:

    valerie….you DO have a way with words.

  26. stan dup says:

    fab series of posts…really appreciate the wine co-op info. if only we had something like that here!

  27. bud standish says:

    neil…..what about us beer drinkers?….what has france got to offer us?

  28. neil over says:

    bud…..a question for DA BG. (p.s. i’m a plumber – ie not an expert on French beer???if it even exists!)

  29. emil gailinao says:

    a wonderful tour..this series…..all too short…..however you did threaten us with more hilltop villages. a threat we will hold you to!

  30. margret fletcher says:

    i’ve been a reader of yours from day one…and i can’t tell you how much your posts have done for me…so much information!…and so humorously presented…..this series is another great example of the truly unique BG style. keep it coming!!!

  31. jack steinman says:

    hey margaret…..how much is the BG you for your “unbiased comment.”

  32. ellie brenner says:

    say jack…..you’re not jealous that DA BG doesn’t dig your sparkling wit enough to offer you some cash – are you?

  33. ellie brenner says:

    these last three posts…this series….well….all i can say is i just want to jump into those photos and get started!

  34. sean mullins says:

    i hear ya ellie!….what we all need is the transporter beam from startrek!

  35. walt carson says:

    sean…you mean to tell me that in this age of amazing digital technology..we don’t yet have a transporter beam APP?

  36. diane willis says:

    walt../great heads up for all the app creators out there…get on it..”Make it So!” (lol)

  37. celine levesque says:

    very fine you should make these post to let peoples know france is more than the eifffel tower and mont st. michel.

  38. lucy branston says:

    looking forward to more of these “virtual tours” from you. this one is fabulous!

  39. cassi pendron says:

    lucy… up you to take it from “virtual” to “been there – done that” – right? bon voyage!

  40. preston willmans says:

    as one of your other readers noted…..we’ll hold you to your “threat” of more posts on france’s hilltop villages!

  41. luigi donatelli says:

    as you may know we have many famous hilltop villages here in Italy… perhaps your readers would be interrest to know of one i like very much..montefalco…maybe sometime you will do a post on it…like these ones….which we have enjoy very much. thank you bg.

  42. marshall thompson says:

    mighty fine! with a capital “MF” – this entire series;;can’t thank you enough for opening such a big window on the “real” france. way to go BG!

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