Nestled in the hills of the stunning Maison du National Park is one of Provence’s most famed and photographed hilltop villages, Gordes. As though the buildings and streets have emerged from the rock beneath, the village has blended into its surroundings, with the terraces of the hamlet mirroring the steep incline of the hill. Often named as one of the ‘most beautiful villages in France’ this unique and authentic destination draws thousands of visitors to the area, of which are in search of the real France. Somewhere that has been untouched and represents the rich cultural heritage that this inspiring country has.
As expected of a traditional hilltop village, the narrow and cobbled lanes are as much of an attraction as the rest of the settlement. Lose yourself in the maze of historical paths and uncover the many discoveries that await. Passing ancient houses, churches and even a castle, the rusticity of Gordes is captivating.
Along your exploration of the village, you will come across one of the main monuments, the castle. After being carefully restored, this historic structure, which dates to 1031, is now one of the highlights of the village. Imposing upon the horizon and visible from almost all areas of the village, the castle only gets more impressive the closer you get. Within the castle, there is a tourist office, as well as regularly changing art exhibitions.
Village of Bories
Just a 15-minute drive or a 30-minute walk from Gordes is the captivating village of Bories. The historic settlement dates to the Bronze Age, although this is regularly disputed, it consists of seven grouped dry-stone huts. Each hut has a different function, which is exactly how the settlement would have been all those years ago, with a house, grain store, henhouse, tanning mill, bakehouse and animal shelters. The site at Bories has been carefully restored, taking over ten years, to preserve the fascinating monument. Visitors are now invited to visit, to discover the intriguing history of the settlement, including the tools and objects of the period.
The Caves of Saint Firmin (Citadel Villages)
As inspiring as the historical wonders are above ground, underneath the cobbled lanes you explore during your time in Gordes there is a network of equally enthralling discoveries. Saint Firmin is a Renaissance mansion, and what lies beneath is as impressive as what is above. While Gordes became squeezed for space, the solution at the time was to create the surprisingly large network of industry buildings below ground, including mills, wine presses and workshops. Part of the caves are now open to the public and visitors can enjoy a short documentary, a tour of the underground network guided by a MP3 player, as well as a look around the museum which exhibits the artefacts found in the cellars, along with the lengthy restoration project to bring the Citadel Villages to the presentable state they are now in.
The picture-perfect sighting of Gordes, as seen below, can only be admired from outside of the village, across the western valley. So, to ensure you get the classic holiday snap of the village, a short walk should be taken, although your efforts are more than rewarded when you arrive. The panoramic view presents the beauty of Gordes in its entirety, with the terraced buildings sloping down the hill, while surrounded by the luscious rolling hills of the French countryside.
If you are considering visiting the enchanting village of Gordes, then why not take a look at our stunning selection of holiday villas in Provence and find yourself a dream-like base for your stay in this unique pocket of France?
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