Things to do around Bonnevaux

Paola Di Pietro

Bonnevaux beauty lies in its being remote. However it is fair to say that if you make your way there, you may think about what else you could do besides taking part in one of the retreats. Well, it turns out there is a wealth of beautiful places and activities within easy reach. We’ve summarised here a selection of places and activities that were recommended by travelers who have already visited Bonnevaux Centre for Peace. We’ve also asked locals who live nearby and who tend to know those hidden gems that tourists may miss out on. 

Walking in the Woods

There are some fantastic walks you can take in the proximity of the Abbey. Bonnevaux sits in a very unique and unspoiled location, completely immersed in green. If you enjoy walking, this is the place to be. There are more than 400 km worth of marked trails near the Abbey, from short walks to over 20 km trails, you can pick whatever suits your desires. France-Voyage gives some good suggestions for hikes on foot or bike around Poitiers. 

Pictures by Arnaud Callec

A few steps away from Bonnevaux, you will find the Organic Farm Project. Thomas Litzler, who founded the project, is inspired by the concept of permaculture – developing agricultural ecosystems in a sustainable and self-sufficient way. The project started as an opportunity to develop a farm that would nourish people in a very healthy way. If you’re interested to know more about Thomas’ project or would like to help with his farm as a volunteer, you can find more information on La Graine de Ferme on Facebook. 

The closest city…

Poitiers is the closest city to Bonnevaux and you may travel to the Abbey via this city in any case. So you can plan your trip if you have time to kill and stop by. Worth visiting for its historic churches, in particular Romanesque church buildings. The town’s centre is very picturesque and pleasant to walk through thanks to its pedestrianized area. There are numerous shops, cafes and restaurants in the town centre. A short drive from Poitiers, you can also find the Futuroscope, a theme and research park in Chasseneuil-du-Poitou. More information on what to see and visit in Poitiers here

Image of Poitiers old city centre by inkflo from Pixabay

The French Camino is really not that far

Not far from Bonnevaux, via Poitiers, you can easily get to the French Camino de Compostela, also called Le Chemin de St. Jacques de Compostelle. One starting point is at the Tour St Jacques in Paris and then on to Orléans-Tours or Chartres-Tours. From Tours, the route passes through Poitiers (30min drive from Bonnevaux) and Bordeaux, the forest at Les Landes before connecting to the Camino Francés, shortly before Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port or to the Camino de la Costa in Irún. For more information on the French Camino, here are some useful resources: 

Pics from the young group that did this journey this year

Pictures by Enos Mantoani

On a spiritual trail 

The Abbey of St.Martin of Ligugè, also called Ligugé Abbey (in French Abbaye Saint-Martin de Ligugé), is a French Benedictine monastery in Ligugé. Dating back to the 4th century, it is one of the oldest monastic foundations in France. It is about 10km from Bonnevaux. The current monastic community dates from 1853, and belongs to the Solesmes Congregation. More information on the Abbey of St.Martin on the Tourisme Vienne website. 

Also within a 20 minute car ride, you will find the beautiful Abbey of Saint-Benoit de Quincay and the Basilique de Marcay – Patrimoine du Livre

Heading towards the Atlantic 

If you want to breathe in the healthy sea breeze of the Atlantic, you can also head towards the seafront in La Rochelle. About 1h 30 min drive from Bonnevaux, the city has maintained its past architecture, making it a very picturesque and historically rich cities on the Atlantic coast. You can stroll through the old town, or head towards the “Old Harbour” (the “Vieux Port”), which is at the heart of the city, very picturesque and full of seafood restaurants. From here, you can also take a boat to the  Île d’Aix and Fort Boyard. Worth visiting also the Saint-Louis Cathedral, the Orbigny-Bernon Museum and the Muséum d’histoire naturelle de La Rochelle. More information on the Tourism Office of La Rochelle website. 

Image of La Rochelle Harbour by chrisbromley0 from Pixabay

Thanks to Philip Kitchen for your contribution to this article.

If you wish to share ideas on what to do around Bonnevaux, please email us at comm@bonnevauxwccm.org