11 Fun Facts & Things to Do in Gordes

11 Fun Facts & Things to Do in Gordes While Renting Your Luxury Villa

Designated one of the most beautiful villages in France, Gordes resides on a giant calcareous rock from the monts de Vaucluse in Provence. An inspiration to artists such as Marc Chagall, the panoramic views of the Luberon valley from this hilltop village are nothing short of spectacular. There are many things to do in Gordes and while each of these could stand on their own, here are 11 reasons to visit this special Provencal village.

1. You won’t find a wooden building in Gordes (or fences for that matter). All buildings are required to be made of the beautiful stone Provence is known for and use terra cotta roof tiles.

2. The castle, located in the center of the village, dates back to 1031 and was partially rebuilt in Renaissance style in 1525.

3. Locals and visitors love the vibrant, weekly Tuesday Market. Fresh bread, local pro-duce and fabrics abound. The farm land surrounding Gordes is known for growing al-monds, olives and grapes. While exploring the area, be sure to stop in at a few wineries to sample the local vin.

4. Space is limited in a fortified hill village. For protection during turbulent times, Gordes developed an underground network of more than 50 rooms dug into rock, now called the Saint-Firmain Palace cellars. Once used as storage areas and artisan’s workshops, this subterranean labyrinth also provided hiding places and escape routes.

5. The Cercle Repulicain, a historic café founded in 1911 as part of France’s network of Cercles Républicains, resides in the heart of the village. Ask to sit on the terrace enjoy to the picturesque views.

6. Surrounding the village are many little, quiet, well-preserved hamlets. The largest, in the valley southwest of Gordes, is called Les Imberts, which has it’s own 18th century church and two soccer stadiums. Consider renting a luxury villa in one of these hamlets for a peaceful getaway.

7. Just a short drive from Gordes, the Abbey de Sénanque was established in 1148 by Cistercian monks. The lavender fields blooming in front of the Abbey is perhaps the most recognized photograph of Provence. Today the the monks who live at Sénanque grow lavender and tend honey bees for their livelihood. The landscape of the valley where the Abbey lies is simply stunning and should not be missed.

8. The nearby Village of Bories, Le village des Bories, consists entirely of small, ovoid buildings made only of stone. Classified as a Historical Monument, the ancient drystone huts were built without the use of mortar and are thought to go back several centuries BC.

9. Set in a traditional Luberon farmhouse, the Lavender Museum, Musée de la La-vande, is filled with the delightful aroma of genuine lavender. Watch a short film and learn about about growing and distilling the iconic flower of Provence, take an audio tour of the museum including stills dating back to the 16th century, and do some shopping for authentic lavender products.

10. Filmmakers are taken with Gordes’ magnificent setting. Scenes from several mov-ies and television mini-series, including A Good Year, Mistral’s Daughter, A Year in Provence and Mr. Bean’s Holiday were filmed in Gordes.

11. The biggest festival in Gordes, Les Soirees d’été de Gordes, is an annual music festival in early August. As with many Provencal villages, Gordes holds festivals throughout the year — a wine festival in mid-August, a village festival in early October and an almond tree festival in spring.

Gordes is lovely to visit year round, whether it’s admiring the chateau, exploring the caves or simply enjoying a glass of rosé on the terrace, this charming village is a must see.

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Jumping the Picket Fence Light Through the Cracks

Only Provence co-founder Lydia Dean writes about their experiences raising a family, building a business in Provence, and later combining the love of travel with giving back in "Jumping the Picket Fence”. In 2021, she published “Light Through the Cracks,” a continuation of her journey, much of which has been based in Provence. Both books are available Amazon, Amazon.uk, and Amazon.Fr.