Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Bonnieux, A village in the Luberon, Provence

An area of France that I have visited numerous times over many years is the Luberon in Provence.

Known for its natural beauty and historic hilltop villages, I am drawn to the area over and over again.

Bonnieux, is one of these villages, and is one of my personal favourites. (Voted one of the most beautiful villages in France).

If you ever do find yourself in the region make sure you make the
 climb up to Bonnieux, and when there, you should definitely call in to see Vincent Gils at his shop, ‘Antiquités Gils'.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011
Besides being a treasure trove of hard to resist french brocante, the space the shop occupies is itself unique and has a fascinating history.

Some of the foundations date back to the 4th century and in a part of the old wall is a cross carved out of the stone marking where the old ‘oratoire’ or little chapel was situated and where the mountain people came to prayer all those hundreds of years ago. 

If you get chatting to Vincent he is more than happy to relate the extraordinary history of this special space room by room.

As well as running his business, Vincent is the town’s bell ringer and he was generous and kind enough to invite me to climb to the roof of the village’s oldest church (set at the highest point of the village amongst the ruins of the medieval chateau) for my very own private bell ringing moment.

© Copyright Millie Brown 2011

Not only did I get to climb to the ‘top of the world’ (to the roof of the church), something that is normally forbidden, but I got to witness the skill and strength that is required to make the special and beautiful sounds that come from these quite magnificent bells.  Antiquités Gils 25 rue Voltaire Bonnieux

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