Cascading down a giant chalky hillside that juts out of the Vaucluse plateau east of Avignon, Gordes is a medieval village of narrow cobbled lanes and handsome stone houses (which local law dictates must be built from Provence stone).
At its heart is an 11th-century castle, surrounded by rows of houses reeling at skittish angles. Below its streets lies a subterranean world of hidden cellars. Such a picturesque village inevitably draws the crowds but our specialists know Gordes well and can help you experience it in an authentic way, avoiding the busiest times of day and directing you to locations that offer an insight into the medieval world in which the village thrived.
Gordes is often referred to as the 'Jewel of Provence' and the greatest joy in a visit is simply found in wandering its handsome streets. More thrilling, perhaps, is a visit to the cellars of the Saint-Firmain Palace, where an underground world of impressively large rooms, cisterns and olive oil mills linked by stone staircases exists. Back above ground, you can visit the village market on Tuesday mornings, when typical Provençal products are on sale.
Surrounding the village, there are several places of interest to visit. Northwest of Gordes, a quintessential image of Provence unfolds with fields and fields of lavender enclosing a Romanesque abbey. The Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque was founded in the 12th century and is still inhabited by a community of monks, who grow the lavender and keep honey bees.
The abbey buildings are remarkably unchanged, the graceful cloister and simple abbey church, dormitories and scriptorium typical of the austere Cistercian style. The lack of ornamentation was designed to avoid any type of distraction from the monks' rigid discipline.
Elsewhere, fields and fields of olive groves stretch to the horizon, the low trees rippling in neat rows across the hillsides. Olives have been cultivated here for about 2,500 years and the olive oil of Provence is prized as one of the best in the world. If you're interested, it's possible to visit an olive oil mill to see the traditional processes that go into producing the oil.
Just southwest of Gordes, you can also visit the traditional Village des Bories, a cluster of 30 stone huts built without mortar. The beehive-shaped huts with corbelled ceilings date from the 18th century, but look as if they come from prehistoric times.
The stones would have been collected from the surrounding fields as they were cleared for agriculture with the buildings used as shelters for animals or temporary dwellings. This particular cluster of buildings were more permanent in nature with houses, stables, barns, grain stores, a bakery and a silkworm factory on the site.
Suggested Gordes itinerary
This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Gordes, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Gordes
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Gordes
- Roussillon 8 kilometers away
- Ménerbes 9 kilometers away
- L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue 12 kilometers away
- Avignon 33 kilometers away
- Saint-Rémy-de-Provence 33 kilometers away
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region 34 kilometers away
- Les-Baux-de-Provence 38 kilometers away
- Orange 41 kilometers away
- Aix-en-Provence 47 kilometers away
- Pont-du-Gard 54 kilometers away
- Arles 54 kilometers away
- Uzès 64 kilometers away
- Provence 82 kilometers away
- Saint-Tropez 137 kilometers away
- The French Riviera 137 kilometers away
- Grasse 142 kilometers away
- Rhône-Alpes 142 kilometers away
- Saint-Paul-de-Vence 157 kilometers away
- Antibes 160 kilometers away
- Nice 166 kilometers away
- Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat 173 kilometers away
- Èze 175 kilometers away
- Monaco and Monte Carlo 180 kilometers away
- Lyon 208 kilometers away
- Talloires 230 kilometers away
- Annecy 235 kilometers away
- Chamonix 252 kilometers away
- Dordogne 291 kilometers away
- Sarlat-la-Canéda 335 kilometers away
- La Roque-Gageac 336 kilometers away
- Castelnaud-la-Chapelle 339 kilometers away
- Beynac-et-Cazenac 339 kilometers away
- Saint-Émilion 439 kilometers away
- Bordeaux 472 kilometers away