Places to visit: remains of towers and ramparts from the 13th century, la forêt des Cedres (Cedar forest)
Market: Friday morning
Before you arrive in Bonnieux, regardless of the road you choose, the first thing that you will spot from far away is the top of the steeple of the church. From the top of its 425 meters it dominates the gorgeous surrounding landscapes watches over this magnificent perched village of the Luberon.
Set in levels on the side of the cliff above the valley, Bonnieux is one of the most beautiful villages of the Luberon. Its houses, capped with terracotta, are spread out on the hill in a beautiful harmony of colors and shapes.
A few beautiful residences from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries will remind you that Bonnieux was once a prosperous city at a time when the region of Comtat Venaissin belonged to the Popes. Several bishops chose Bonnieux as their place of residence. It is therefore with delight and amazement that you will walk through the streets of the village and you will discover the architectural riches of the heritage of the village of Bonnieux.
The cedar forest:
This area was sown from 1861 onwards with seeds harvested in the Algerian Middle Atlas. The first trees matured and began reproducing around 1920; these second generation 65 to 75-year-old cedars took over the spaces left free by their elders.
In 1930, there was 60 hectares of cedars. However, the largest extension of the cedar forest occurred after the disastrous fire of 1952, which destroyed several thousands of hectares. Only the very heart of the cedar forest survived. After a few years, it was noticeable that the natural seedlings of cedar settled on a broad peripheral band thanks to its emptiness and the capacity to regenerate of this species. Hence the third generation of cedars of the massif, which are now between 40 and 45 years old.
Today, the cedar forest forms a massif of approximately 250 hectares, distributed between the municipalities of Bonnieux, Lacoste and Ménerbes. It occupies the eastern part of the plateau for five kilometers following the ridge tracks.
In fact, the cedar just found there a habitat that it had previously occupied. Pollen analyses of sediments revealed its existence in Provence, and throughout the Mediterranean part of Europe, a little more than 20,000 years before our era. The subsequent Ice Age forced cedar to retreat to North Africa and the Middle East.
Photo : JD Mano
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