France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   What to See in Gordes, Luberon, France

  Gordes, France
Steep, narrow street, Gordes.


   

 

The first thing to "see" in Gordes is the town itself. Perched on a hillside, dominated by its château and the church, Gordes enjoys a dramatic setting. Driving on the D15/D2, the main road into town, be sure to stop and enjoy the lovely view of the town on the hill.

Gordes, France  

Late afternoon sun makes the hilltop town of Gordes gleam.

 

The center of town is the Place du Château, fairly quiet except on market day. The fountain in the square was the only water source for Gordes until 1959.

If you are in Gordes on market day (Tuesday), then you will want to spend time visiting the various stalls and offerings. Need a hat? You'll find plenty? Provençal pottery or tablecloths? Sure? Clothing? Olive oil, soap, or perfume? Of course. There's a wide array of offerings and it's a fun place to wander.

The market also has food, including colorful artichokes (in season), piles of ripe tomatoes and peppers, local cheeses and smoked meats, and of course breads. You can buy some treats for a picnic, or enjoy one of the many restaurants around the main square or a bit off the beaten track.

As for the rest of Gordes, it's a place to wander. Make sure you have comfortable shoes, as you'll be walking on cobblestones and rough streets, and up and down stairs. Explore the little alleyways and see where they lead. Sometimes you are rewarded with expansive views, while other times you may hit a wall.

We walked down a steep twisty path and were rewarded with this lovely view:

Gordes, France  
   

The Château today is home to the Tourist Information Office. It also hosts various art exhibitions; check to see what is on when you're there.

The Church of St-Firmin, not far from the Château, dates from the 18th century, though it was built on the site of a former Roman church. The bell tower also serves as an observation tower. The church has eight chapels, one dedicated to St-Crépin, the patron saint of cobblers; at one time the cobblers' guild of Gordes had 400 members. Another is to St-Eloi, patron saint of blacksmiths.

As you wander in Gordes you'll have the opportunity to appreciate the architecture and history of this small town. If you get to the lower town (remember you'll have to walk back up), you can see the old wash house and the remains of businesses that used to thrive there.

Nearby is the lovely Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, well worth a visit. Also the Village des Bories, where you'll find ancient buildings made of stone, with absolutely no mortar. This fascinating village is just 3 kilometers (less than two miles) from Gordes.

If you like Gordes and want to explore other hilltop towns of the Luberon, consider visiting Roussillon (10 kilometers/6 miles); Bonnieux (17 kilometers/10.5 miles); Ménerbes (11 kilometers/7 miles); Lacoste (15 kilometers/9 miles); or Oppède-le-Vieux (13 kilometers/8 miles). And the lovely market town of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is just 18 kilometers (11 miles) to the west of Gordes (map).


Gordes

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

Tourist Information

The Luberon

Hilltop Towns of the Luberon

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

About Provence

 

Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan

 

Artichoke flowers, Gordes, France

Above, Vibrant artichoke flowers in the Gordes market.

Below, Lots of hats for sale on a sunny day in Gordes, in the shadow of the Château.

 

Gordes market, France

 

 

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