Gordes

If the Luberon were a country, Gordes would be its capital. This is the Parthenon of Provence, an imposing edifice born of stone that has always attracted its share of attention because it is just so good-looking.

Inevitably, Gordes is officially one of The Most Beautiful Villages in France.

It's not just the stunning view of Gordes as you approach it - Gordes is also a pleasure to explore from within, along its tight alleyways and arcades. There are many restaurants and cafes, from simple to refined; some bakeries and food stores; and a thriving arts scene. Your explorations will take you to the spots where the view outward from Gordes is also spectacular, high over the Luberon plain.

The village is dominated by its church and castle, ancient symbols of the fight against invading armies. Even in World War 2, Gordes suffered terribly, much of the village was destroyed and the populace massacred. The whole village was awarded the Croix de Guerre medal.

Man's presence here dates back to neolithic times - the first inhabitants were the Vordeuses, who named it Vorda. Since then the name has mutated to Gordes.

Gordes Market day is Tuesday mornings, in the village square, where you can stock up on the best local produce, crafts and fabrics.

Just outside Gordes are the incredibly picturesque Senanque Abbey with its famed lavender field, and the mysterious Village des Bories.


Gordes in winter, when the natural beauty of the Luberon is undiminished