Part of the joy that comes from a stay in Provence, is in exploring the romantic hillside towns of the area. We started in Bonnieux, climbing up the Rue des Pénitents to the 12th century church at the top of the town,
where we had fabulous views of the village sprawling below us with its 19th century church, charming alleyways, and the fields of lavender in the distance.
We moved on to the picturesque town of Roussillon, full of buildings that range in color from russet red to golden yellow, thanks to
the ochre found in the nearby hills. Seventeen shades of ochre in all, the powder has been an invaluable resource since Roman times until the advent of synthetic dyes,
and it was the handiest material around through time to use in the building of the village.
Today the town boasts
artists sketching a rainbow of colors,
and cute shops attracting the thousands of tourists who visit each year.
Later that day, we dropped by the small village of Cucuron, best known for its beautiful pond of water in the main square, surrounded by 200 year old plane trees. A delightful place for a spot of refreshment.
As the day drew to a close, we headed back towards Lourmarin, stopping in the village of Ansouis with its chateau and 16th century bell tower.
A quiet little village, that
begged to be explored on foot
in a slow casual way, so as not to miss the small charming details the town had to offer.
The next morning found us en route to the town of Gordes, with houses perched down the hillside commanding incredible views.
This is a village worth climbing its steep pathways,
because at every turn is a view you want to remember always.
Looking up as you climb reveals
Strolling along, you catch glimpses of the 15th century chateau which today holds art exhibitions.
It was getting close to lunchtime--which restaurant to choose became the question of the hour. But snuggled in the shadow of the chateau, we found this little bakery,
with a case of delicious pastries and hot croque monsieur sandwiches,
which became our feast as we sat on a rock wall and marveled at this view below. The "best table" in the town!