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Winner of Contest 2006

Kathy, Charley and Kelly's Best of Provence - Hiking in the Luberon

Kathy Wood (Kaydee)

A Circular Walk from Bonnieux to Lacoste

Time: Three hours (plus additional time to explore Lacoste)

Conditions: Some walking on roads; paths through vineyards, orchards, farms and woods; some ascents/descents to/from these two villages.

Map: IGN Blue map - 3142 OT (Cavaillon)

This is a beautiful walk between the neighboring perched villages of Bonnieux and Lacoste. We lived in this area for 6-1/2 months and got to know every road, dirt road, and path in between the villages. This is our own route, not from a guidebook.

The view from Lacoste toward Bonnieux and the Grand Luberon

The view from Lacoste toward Bonnieux and the Grand Luberon

  • From the main roundabout at the bottom of the Bonnieux, follow the signs to the school (ecole) and park in the lot next to the school and in front of the Maison du Livre et de la Culture (library/community center).
  • Walk down the small road passing the schoolyard; turn right on the path, winding down past a few houses. The path bears left. Continue to follow this through the woods, past some houses and then along a wall looking down over a farm.
  • Eventually you'll come to a road and a yellow signpost. Cross this road and continue to follow the dirt road/path, winding through farmland, vineyards and orchards until you come to another road near a house called "La Beguine." Turn left on this road and walk a short distance until you see a path on the right. You will eventually come to another road near a big ruin called "La Maison Basse." Take this road just a short ways and then continue straight on the "Chemin du Passet." You will see Lacoste up above. The road eventually turns into a path and you will continue on a steep path up to the village, coming up alongside the Lacoste village school.
  • Take some time to wander around the village. Many of the restored buildings now belong to the Savannah School of Art and Design, which runs a satellite program here. Depending on the time of year, the terrace at the Cafe de France is a good place for a rest, a drink, and maybe even a light lunch-and definitely a fabulous view looking back over to Bonnieux. You can climb all the way to the top of Lacoste and visit the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. (The castle is now owned by designer Pierre Cardin.)
  • Leave Lacoste just before the Protestant church (temple), taking a path that descends to the D109 road below and the old "lavoir." Follow this curvy road for a while until you reach "Chemin de la Bernarde" on your right. Take this small road up a slight hill, passing through orchards and vineyards. (The house where we lived is down a road on the left, signed "La Bastide Vieille." On the right is a tall restored house with a sculpture of a big head in the garden.) Just past this big house, turn left on "Chemin de Trigaud," a small road. You'll see Bonnieux ahead of you and the Petit Luberon mountain on your right. Chemin de Trigaud runs into the D 109. Turn right on the D109 and soon after take a left on the Chemin de la Gardiole. Then you'll come to the path on the right (which you had descended) that heads back up to Bonnieux. Return to the school parking lot the way you came.

The cafe Le Terrail (on the main square mid-way up the village) is a good place to have a drink after your walk.

Looking up at Lacoste and its famous castle

Looking up at Lacoste and its famous castle

Photos

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showgallery.php?cat=3425: Best of Provence - Hiking in the Luberon (Bonnieux to Lacoste)

Resources

Woods Family Grand Tour of Europe: List of articles and photo albums by Kathy Wood

www.luberonexperience.com: The Luberon Experience


© Kathy Wood, 2005

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