Monday, June 21, 2010


Every time we are in Provence, we head in the direction of the Luberon mountains to visit one or more of the small hill top villages in the area. Many times, Gordes is one of the villages we visit, especially if we have first time visitors to Provence with us.

Gordes is about 1 hour drive southeast from Sablet on the southern edge of the high Plateau de Vaucluse. Nearby is the Village des Bories, a small settlement of drystone dwellings dating from the 17th century.

In addition to the Village des Bories, the spectacular Abbey of Senanque and beautiful ocher-colored village of Rousillon are close by and not to be missed (see previous posts).

The obviously strategic site where Gordes is located has been occupied since prehistoric times. The stone buildings were built against the base of the cliffs and spiral up around the rock where the village is set with a panoramic view over fields and forests and small perched villages across to the Luberon.

At the top of Gordes and in the center sits the castle which dominates the town. Built in 1031, reinforced in 1123, the castle was rebuilt in 1525. Today the castle is home to the Pol Mara museum, a contemporary Flemish painter who lived in Gordes, and the tourist information office. In summer there are concerts and plays in the castle's courtyard.

Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs is located near the castle. Dating from the 17th century, the white chapel is an art gallery today.

Gordes is classified as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France -one of the most beautiful villages of France, one of seven to be classified as such in the Department of the Vaucluse where we live.

One of the many narrow stone streets called calades - small paved, sometimes stepped alleyways lined with gutters defined by two rows of stone.

Our friend Allison sitting on the ramparts of Gordes.

As you wander the narrow streets, you will discover here and there beautiful tall stone houses.

Every Tuesday morning is market day. Merchants from around the area set up stalls and sell their wares: fresh fruits and vegetables, Provençale pottery and linens, art work and clothing.

Around the center of the village near the castle, you will find various cafés, restaurants, art galleries and souvenir shops.

We try to get to Gordes as early as possible especially in the summer as there are a very large number of tourists who come to visit this popular village.

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