Bonnieux, Lacoste, Oppède and Ménerbes

4 prestigious villages draw what we called in the 70s "the Golden Triangle" of the Luberon: Gordes - Bonnieux - and the inseparable Oppède and Ménerbes. In its heart, the village of Lacoste which knew decades of cultural and artistic emulation. We speak nowadays of "Golden square", by connecting the Abbey of Senanque in the North-West, Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt in the North-East, Buoux in the South-East, and Oppède/Ménerbes in the South-West. This is where the major tourist sites of the Luberon Nord are found.

Bonnieux is a sumptuous village clinging to the northern flank of the Luberon massif. Pass peacefully through the village and climb up to its 10th century high church. You will have to climb 86 steps to reach it, and admire the panorama over the Luberon regional natural park and beyond to Mont Ventoux. Very close to Bonnieux, take advantage of pleasant and marked walks in the freshness of the cedar forest.

Oppède and Ménerbes are other emblematic villages of the Luberon in Provence, both built on rocky outcrops.
You can visit the museum of olive oil in Oppède, located in the wine and olive-growing area of Royère, and the House of the truffle and wine of the Luberon in Menerbes, where you can taste and buy delicious products.

At the top of Lacoste are the ruins of the castle formerly occupied by the famous Marquis de Sade. The renowned fashion designer Pierre Cardin bought it and saved it from ruin in the early 2000s, and organizes there every summer the Lacoste Festival in the quarries of the castle, devoted to dance, theater and opera. His arrival in the village is nevertheless controversial, because Pierre Cardin bought some forty houses there to house no one, leaving no more opportunity for the inhabitants and former traders of the old village to continue their lives there. An excellent documentary film by Cyril Montana and Thomas Bornot explains this recent history of the village, in French (Cyril against Goliath, released in France in May, 2020). The village also hosts a renowned American school of higher education in art and design: SCAD, offering its students an immersion in the history and culture of Provence.
Not far between Lacoste and Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, a short stop at Pont Julien? Dated back from -3 BC, this Roman bridge is worth a look.