Flowing down a hillside in the Luberon, today's destination is the village of Bonnieux. Much of it faces north and provides commanding views across the valley to the snow covered Mont Ventoux, 40km/24 miles straight-line distance.
It seemed to be a popular bicycle destination, too. In fact, encountering bicyclists on these narrow roads and steep hills is common. ( Bill R. - your next destination?)
The tree covered top of the town is also the location of a local church.
And from on top, the world spreads out dramatically below. In this panorama, Mont Ventoux is mostly obscured by clouds along the horizon right of center. (Click on image to view full width).
View to the north.
Yes, that is a satellite dish at center - and where I'm sitting making this image is a restaurant patio with free wifi. The past of these old villages and the present blend well.
View to the northeast.
To the west (3km/1.8 miles) is a view of the neighboring town of Lacoste. The castle atop the hill was the home of the Marquis de Sade in the 18th century before fleeing in notoriety. The castle is now owned by designer Pierre Cardin who has partially restored it and occasionally holds cultural events there. Much of the town is also influenced by the Savannah College of Art and Design which has had a campus there since 1970.
And here, with a spectacular view of the Luberon valley, we had a great lingering lunch at cliff-edge at the Brasserie les Terrasses. We were the only outside customers - the locals were inside drinking and eating at the bar wondering why those crazy Americans from Massachusetts were eating outside. It's because it felt like a summer day in Massachusetts!
The town was very quiet - it is still the off-season here - but this four-legged local walked the streets and sidewalks like he owns the place - I guess he does. By the way, mild-mannered dogs walking alone along the narrow streets is not an uncommon sight throughout this area based on my observation. They are neither aggressive nor unfriendly - just going about their lives.