To protect themselves from the barbarian troops attacking the villages in the 5th century A.D., many Provençal peoples settled in the highest points, taking refuge on the rocks as in Gordes or on the hills as in Oppède. These eagle nests have become the most beautiful perched villages in Provence.
Forgotten for years by tourism, Gordes is back in the limelight thanks to a film shot in its main square, A Good Year with Russel Crowe.
The white rocks that make up the houses make the village subject to endless changes, dictated by the changing light at different times of the day, and its secluded, perched location makes it unique and inimitable.
Perched on a hill 340 metres above sea level, Gordes is one of the most charming villages in Provence: everything here is to be seen, admired or photographed. First of all, don’t miss the view of the village at the top of the hill, arriving by car: the View Point di Gordes1 offers a picture postcard view.
Once inside the village, take your time to stroll unhurriedly through its small, winding cobbled streets and stop at several viewpoints to admire the Luberon Park. As you walk, you will discover ancient façades with their vaults and arches, sundials and old stone houses adorned with climbing vegetation.
If you plan to visit Gordes, it is impossible not to be fascinated by the imposing castle-fortress, which proudly dominates the village. Dating back to the 10th century, the feudal castle was remodelled during the Renaissance to make it more ‘welcoming’.
This is the square that became famous for being the location for a few scenes in the film A Very Good Year with Russell Crowe. In the shade of the shady plane trees, sit by the bubbling fountain and savour the unique atmosphere of the Provençal villages.
In this delightful little square, a colourful market takes place every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.: a riot of flavours, fragrances and exquisitely Provençal products, to be discovered by browsing among the stalls of local producers.
In Provence, a calade is a sloping road made of stones or pebbles. The etymology of the word is unclear. It probably comes from the Occitan calade meaning ‘the silent stone’. These roads are built in sloping villages to allow the flow of rainwater, made of cobblestones or stones.
They are the most charming narrow, sloping alleys, usually located at the walls and in the outer parts of the villages. Gordes is no exception and going to discover these hidden corners means admiring the most picturesque views of the village.
The Cellars and Gardens of the Palais Saint Firmin are a semi-troglodyte, man-made site carved into the rock, evidence of the village’s craft activities in the Middle Ages.
Town-villages like Gordes are a real challenge to nature: in fact, to make up for the lack of walkable surface area, underground life has sprung up over the centuries. While people lived above ground, industry and handicrafts developed underground. In Gordes there is a gigantic underground network, often more impressive than the houses built on the surface. This labyrinth was inaccessible for years, but after more than forty years of conservation and security work, tourists can now discover part of this underground world.
The guided tour leads into the heart of the village’s history, through archaeological finds dating back to the Middle Ages, oil mills, silos, vats, showing the craft activities practised at the time, in an atmosphere that is both mysterious and fascinating.
Located in the heart of the village, its history is still shrouded in mystery. Some say it was the seat of a secret brotherhood. Archives only mention it from the 17th century, which gives it an aura of mystery.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Some forty kilometres from Avignon, Gordes is perched on its rock, from where it proudly dominates the Calavon valley. This little Provençal jewel encompasses exceptional architecture, heritage and culture, to be discovered without haste.
This is why we recommend sleeping in Gordes, to admire this small village in all its charm, in the evening and at sunset, when most tourists will have already headed for larger towns.
Being a small and very famous village, it does not have a large offer of hotels and accommodation, which are also very expensive. We therefore advise you to book well in advance, especially in the summer months.
The most convenient way to reach Gordes is by car. From Avignon, it takes about 50 minutes, following the D900 road or follow the A7 motorway (toll) and continue on the D15.
For those travelling by plane, Marseille Airport is the closest, 75 km away. You can then reach Cavaillon or Avignon by bus or train. From these cities, you can take a local bus line to Gordes.
What's the weather at Gordes? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Gordes for the next few days.
Gordes is located in the heart of the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region, in the Vaucluse department, just 40 kilometres from Avignon.