Exploring Gordes, France

A Brief History of Gordes, France

Gordes, a hub for art lovers, has been officially named one of the most beautiful villages in France. Its stone buildings perched on the cliffs offer sweeping views of Provence, making it one of the most popular spots in the region. 

Full of small boutiques, cafes, and art galleries, this stunning village in the Vaucluse is the perfect spot for lunch and an afternoon stroll. While it can get quite busy in the summer season, it goes on the list of “must-sees” when visiting the area, especially in July, when you can spot the vibrant fields of lavender below. Its residents, called Gordians, are known for their rebellious spirit, having sparked medieval invasions and supported Resistance fighters during World War II.

The History of Gordes from the Medieval Ages to Present

Occupated by the Roman empire, the area is full of evidence of their history in the region. In the 8th century, a Benedictine abbey known as Saint-Chaffret was founded by monks of the Abbey of Saint-Chaffre in Monastier-en-Velay on the site of a Roman temple destroyed during the Arab invasions.

In 1148, the Sénanque Abbey was established under the patronage of Alfant, Bishop of Cavaillon, and Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona, Count of Provence, by Cistercian monks who came from Mazan Abbey in the Ardèche. The image of the Sénanque Abbey surrounded by its bright fields of lavender has been promoted all of over the world.

After reconstruction was needed post-WWII, Gordes began attracting artists, including Marc Chagall and Jean Deyrolle, who discovered the village in 1947 and later drew more attention from the artist community.

Where is Gordes and How to Get There

Gordes is one of the most famous villages of Provence, built on the foothills of the Monts of Vaucluse, facing the Luberon. It is within 15 -20 minutes of some of the other popular villages of Menerbves, Bonnieux, Roussillon, and Goult.

Transportation Options to Gordes

We recommend renting a car to explore this exceptional village and its region, as it is not easily accessible by public transport. The main international airport, used by most European carriers, is Marseille (MRS), only 80 km from Gordes, roughly a one our drive. If coming by TGV train (fastest), the closest option is to travel to Avignon TGV Station and drive to Gordes (40-45 minutes). Below are the train times to the Avignon train station.

  • 2 hours 40 minutes from Paris
  • 3 hours from Roissy Charles de Gaulle
  • 1 hour from Lyon, and
  • 30 minutes from Marseille

Gordes’ Location within Provence

What to See in Gordes: Local Highlights

Historical Landmarks in Gordes

At the very top of Gordes sits the iconic Chateau de Gordes, which faces out onto the hills of the Luberon. The fabulous Abbey of Senanque is not far from Gordes, and to this day, Cistercian monks still live there, producing honey, lavender essence, and liqueurs.

Just beside Gordes is the Village de Bories, an ancient hamlet of all dry-stone buildings: an incredible collection of houses, walls, barns, and various other enclosures, including a period silk-making shop.

Galleries, Museums, and Exhibits in Gordes

Because of its ancient history, Gordes houses a variety of galleries and museums, not to mention a wide range of exhibits during the year. Just meandering the cobblestone streets, visitors will come across many. The most popular museums are Village Des Bories, where you can explore small stone huts dating back to pre-Roman times, and the Lavender Museum in nearby Cabrieres d’Avignon.

Food & Drink Recommendations 

  • Gordes, France offers an extensive selection of small quaint bars, restaurants, and some of the region’s finest dining. Following are the most well-known places to eat in Gordes:

La Trinquette – Historic venue with wood beams & country views from terrace tables, serving modern French cuisine. Some of the most romantic tables can be found here. Reserve early, especially during the summer months.

Le Mas Tourteron – Family restaurant with traditional hearty fare with a wisteria-covered terrace.

Where to Stay: Accommodations in Gordes, France

Hotels in Gordes, France

The famous 5-star Bastide de Gordes offers stunning views over the Luberon.

Another attractive option is the lovely Le Petit Palais D’Aglae, which offers spa services on the Route de Murs.

Luxury Villa Rentals in Gordes, France

As the luxury property rental market has exploded worldwide, renting a luxury villa in Gordes has become the preferred choice for accommodations in Provence. Only Provence has the largest selection of luxury properties in the region.

Benefits of Luxury Villa Rentals in Gordes

One of the many benefits of renting a luxury villa in Gordes is having a genuinely private yet authentic experience in Provence, complete with in-home chef services. Many of Only Provence’s villas are within walking distance from the village of Gordes itself.

Below are some of the few great benefits of a luxury villa over other traditional accommodation options.

  • Personalized experiences such as private chefs and organized tours and activities;
  • Privacy and exclusivity;
  • A dedicated villa manager and staff;
  • A sense of feeling at home while staying in a private luxury villa;
  • Private luxury villas in Gordes are ideal for groups of families or friends traveling together.
A distinct collection of luxury villa rentals and real estate for sale in the South of France

- offering all comforts and amenities - pool, housekeeping, and chef services.

© 2023 Only Provence.

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.