Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Al Fresco Lunch at Restaurant l'Arome in Bonnieux and a Walk-about the Village

I think I told you that one of my favorite movies is "A Good Year" starring Russell Crowe. In case you haven't seen the movie, Russell Crowe plays Max, a successful London banker who inherits a château after the death of Uncle Henry played by Albert Finney.

We have visited most of the sites where the movie was shot around the Luberon. The last time we went to Château La Canorgue, the site for the run down château and winery Max inherited near Bonnieux, they were sold out of their rosé which we like.

A few months back, we went to the Luberon to visit Cucuron and see the étang, a long pond in the center of the village where Max and Fanny Chenal, played by Marion Cotillard, have their first date. On the way, we went by Bonnieux to have lunch and buy rosé at nearby Château La Canorgue.

As we drove to Bonnieux, we came upon this beautiful field of coquelicots. "Naturellement," we stopped for pictures since coquelicots are Shirley's favorite flowers.

Cousin Matthias and Shirley in field of coquelicots near Rogne

Field of coquelicots near Rogne

Bonnieux sits on a steep Luberon hill overlooking a valley with a patchwork of vineyards, lavender fields and orchards. Nearby is Pont Julien, a beautiful Roman bridge and the Cedar Forest planted in 1862 with cedars from the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. Dating back to Roman times, village houses and shops cascade down the hill.


As I said, we had come to Bonnieux for lunch. We've found that restaurants designated "Bib Gourmand" by the infamous Michelin inspectors offer very good food for a moderate price. It is awarded to restaurants that offer a complete, three-course meal (starter, main course and dessert) for €31 or less.

So this day, we dined at L'Arome, a foodie favorite in Bonnieux designated a Bib Gourmand in the 2013 edition of "Bonne Petite Tables du Guide Michelin." Yes, I will admit it, I am a list man and I generally try to figure out what are likely to be the best restaurants in a village before we go.

Cousin Matthias and Shirley at L'Arome Restaurant

It was not a super warm day but warm enough that we chose to sit outside on the terrace where we could watch the activities around the restaurant. We all selected the three-course "Menu du Marché" for the aforementioned €31. Lucky for us, they had the Château La Canorgue rosé on their wine list.

Château La Canorgue rosé

To get our lunch started, the chef sent out a tasty "amuse bouche" of Velouté de fenouil (fennel soup) in a shot glass.

Velouté de fenouil

For starter, we all chose the Sweet Peppers and Sun-dried Tomato Mille-feuille with Honeyed Fresh Goat Cheese.

Sweet peppers and sun-dried tomato mille-feuille with honeyed fresh goat cheese

Our main courses included Sea Bass Fillet with Barigoule Sauce served over Saffron Bulgar with Zucchini and Almonds, and

Sea bass fillet with barigoule sauce served over saffron bulgar with zucchini and almonds

A Saddle of Rabbit with Tian of Provencal Vegetables.

A saddle of rabbit with tian of Provencal vegetables

The restaurant has a beautiful dining room carved it seems out of the stones.

Interior of l'Arome Restaurant

For dessert, our choices included Caramelized Apple Puree, Crispy Shortbread, and Manzana Apple Sorbet, and

Caramelized apple puree, crispy shortbread, and Manzana apple sorbet

Fresh Oranges in Jelly, Honey Ice Cream, and Cake with Candied Oranges.

Fresh oranges in jelly, honey ice cream, and cake with candied oranges

The cooking and service were very good and I would recommend L'Arome if you are looking for a great dining spot in Bonnieux. Having enjoyed a wonderful lunch, we wandered around Bonnieux before we went to Château La Canorgue to buy our rosé.

A view down the street toward the New Church in Bonneiux

Hotel Dieu (hospital from 1749 to 1948, today the Town Hall)

Water fountain

Part of the Defensive Fortifications of Bonnieux

Archway Through the Defensive Fortifications.

Stone Bell Tower on Top of Village House

Archway Through Defensive Fortifications of Bonnieux

Covered Passageway in Bonnieux

Cobblestone Street

A Café on Place de la Liberté

A road also winds back and forth up through the village, passing small squares with shops and cafés at different levels.

Winding Street Through Bonnieux

There are 86 steps up to the Old Church at the top of Bonnieux.

Cobblestone Steps Up to Old Church at Top of Village

Cobblestone Street

12th Century Old Church of Bonnieux

There is a great view 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.

View Toward Lacoste

New Church of Bonnieuxx Built in 1870

There are some beautiful houses in Bonnieux that date back to the 16th century, and the village's relative opulence dates back to this period when several bishops lived in Bonnieux when this area belonged to the Popes.

Bonnieux Village House

The Clock and Bell Tower on a Bonnieux Building

Restaurant l'Arôme
2 Rue Lucien Blanc
84480 Bonnieux
Tel: 04 90 75 88 6


  1. Beautiful photos of a beautiful village!

  2. Mich.......this was divine! I loved the pictures,so beautiful.....the food and pictures surely made me want to hope on a plane.

  3. Bonnieux, what a lovely place. We spent some time there back in 1998 so it was a pleasure to see some pics of it again.

    If I recall, wasn't Bonnieux and Menerbe where they filmed a lot of that movie "A Year in Provence"??

    I truly enjoy reading your blog and your pictures are always beautiful.

  4. A Good Year, my all time favourite too! AND my favourite part of France. How truly fortunate you are :)

  5. A good year,2007, when we visited Provence,and Bonnieux and Menerbes! Lovely pics!

  6. I loved this little walk through Bonnieux! (Big fan of A Good Year as well-I like to watch it in the darkest part of winter.) have you ever eaten at Les Coquelicots in Suzette? Totally minor note, but the clear plates reminded me of that place. We ate there twice on my last trip to Sablet.

  7. Another mouthwatering post!
    They serve Château La Canorgue rosé at my local restaurant and I always order it :)

  8. Ooh, this looks like a great address, Michel--mille mercis!

  9. Bonnieux is one of our favorite places; we rented a house in Goult and would go all the time. Do you know the restaurant "La Gare" down the hill? A very quirky and unique place and, I think, very special! For lunch only, I think.
    Oh these pictures make me long to be there again!!

  10. Barbara - Thank you!

    Sharon - You and Ted definitely need to make a trip to Provence.

    Liana - Yes, the movie was shot near Bonnieux, not so much Menerbe. Thanks so much for stopping in to visit my blog and leave a comment. I appreciate this very much.

    Jo-Anne - I agree with you. Thanks so much for stopping in to visit my blog and leave a comment. I appreciate this very much.

    Kathleen - Seems like it is time to return. Thanks so much for stopping in to visit my blog and leave a comment. I appreciate this very much.

    Liza - Thanks for the recommendations on Les Coquelicots. Shirley will love the place for the name alone.

    Sara - Thanks! I really like their rose wine, not such a big fan of the red.

    Heather - I think that a meal at L'Arome would be nice any time of the year. The dining room is fabulous as is the food.

    Libby - I have heard others mention La Gare but have never been there. I will make a point of lunching there next time we are in the area. Thanks so much for stopping in to visit my blog and leave a comment.