Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Picnic in Bonnieux, My First Picnic in Provence

We have eaten in a variety of cafés, bistros, brasseries and restaurants in Provence but we have never had a picnic. I know that is probably hard for some of you to believe but I guess the fact that we are restaurateurs makes us inclined to eat in restaurants when we are not at home.

This morning we, really Shirley decided, that since we had a refrigerator full of good eats, that we would picnic somewhere in the Luberon. We were going to Roussillon, one of our favorite most beautiful villages of France and we would eat a picnic lunch after that.

As we were driving away from Roussillon, I suggested we go to Bonnieux, a pretty village not too far away. Now I like Bonnieux and all, but my reason for going was to show Shirley and her friends Château la Canorgue, the château and winery which was the site for the old house in the movie "A Good Year" starring Russell Crowe based upon a book of the same name by Peter Mayle.

Shirley reminded me that there was an area below the old church at the top of Bonnieux with great views where she thought we would find a good place to have a picnic. I didn't tell them my plan to take them to Château la Canorgue after lunch as I wanted to see if they would recognize the château without pointing that out since we had watched the movie the night before.

Bonnieux looks pretty from the road to Lourmarin even on an overcast day. Bonnieux is built on a steep hill which overlooks a beautiful valley planted with a patchwork of vineyards, lavender fields and orchards.

Sure enough, when we got up to the parking area below the church, we found a place to spread out where we had a great view over Bonnieux and out towards Lacoste. As I recall, our picnic menu included stuffed deviled eggs, potato salad, couscous salad, cheese, olives, freshly baked baguette, radishes, cornichons, fruit and a bottle of rosé from Cassis.

From left to right, Shirley and three friends, Yvette, Jennifer and Liz from the 2-east unit at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where Shirley works in Santa Rosa, California enjoy lunch and the beautiful views from our stone picnic "table".

Among the views from our picnic spot was the upper or old church built in the 12th century located at the uppermost point in the village. The upper church at nearly 1400 feet elevation is visible from every direction as you approach Bonnieux.

We also had a great view out over the valley towards Lacoste with its famous château which formerly belonged to the Marquis de Sade. Today the château belongs to Pierre Cardin, the famous stylist designer.

We had a nice view over Bonnieux and this wrought-iron bell tower on a roof.

There are actually two churches in Bonnieux, the previously mentioned old church at the top of the village and the Eglise Neuve - new church built in 1870, which we could see below our picnic spot at the bottom of the village.

It is very hard not to enjoy a picnic where you wash your food down with rosé wine in the company of 4 charming ladies with beautiful views all around. I am already thinking about the menu for our next picnic in Provence.

Bonne journée mes amis et à bientôt. Have a great weekend.


  1. What a fantastic spot to have a picnic. We often take visitors to one of our local lakes or dams for a picnic, beautiful but without a view like you had. Keep well, Diane

  2. Hello Michel! I'm already looking forward to our next trip to Provence! It's all so beautiful!

  3. You picked a beautiful spot to have a picnic!

  4. Diane - It was a fun time. I won't hesitate to do another picnic.

    Claudia - Nice to hear from you. Hopefully, you will get to Provence soon.

    Sara - Absolutely beautiful spot! I discovered that picnics aren't so bad.

  5. Oh, I love picnics in Provence and it looks like you really chose a gorgeous spot. And I have to tell you that, thanks to you, we had a fantastic meal in Carpentras at Chez Serge last weekend... I remembered your recommendation at the last minute, and boy were we happy! Bon weekend to you.

  6. Tuula - I am so happy to hear you liked your meal at Chez Serge. We have eaten there often and never had a bad meal.

  7. Picnic sounds nice. We need to get out more.

  8. Megan - I have not been a big fan of picnics up to now but it is amazing how fun a picnic can be when you find a location with great views and have good food and a bottle of rose to drink.