An Insider’s Look at the Magical Village of Gordes, France
A historic, magical village proudly stands amongst the hills of the Plateau de Vaucluse in southern France. White stone buildings dating back to the 12th century form uneven geometric patterns as they climb the mountain side in tidy tiers. Narrow cobblestone streets lined with cafes and bakeries wind throughout the village. Fields of lavender stretch across the landscape in neat, fragrant rows. Just below the town, a massive sea of sunflowers opens up to the sky. Gordes, France looms over the forests of Provence with categorical, storybook charm. Please grant me the pleasure of sharing an insider’s look at this magical village of Gordes, France.
Gordes, France is an Artist’s Dream
Gordes, France is a haven for artistic types during the summer. A few days spent in this village, and you will quickly understand the appeal. The classic beauty of this area inspires beautiful prose. It enables those with a lens or paintbrush to capture idyllic images of floral seas and calming vistas. Many call it the most beautiful village in France, and I find it impossible to disagree. Nevertheless, this attraction continues onto the rich history the area has endured.
At the epicenter of Gordes, France looms the village’s castle. Once a fortress of protection in Gallo-Roman days, it now serves as a municipal City Hall building. You would never have known that this castle has survived a number of invasions, religious wars, and two earthquakes!
Beneath the Surface
Beneath the city lives a network of labyrinths and cellars. This underground community once housed the artisans and tradesmen of the town, as they perfected their crafts underground. Currently, you can experience the cool, man-made caverns on a tour of the Palais du Saint Firmin. Dating back to the Renaissance, it sits above an approximate 50 caverns open to the public. You’ll be impressed by the massive stone arches and vaulted ceilings.
Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque
Similar to most medieval European villages, Gordes’s history has deep religious roots. Just beyond the village homes, sits the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque. It has housed Cistercian monks since 1148. Spend an afternoon wandering through the grounds of the monastery. The gray stone structure is flanked by vibrant rows of lavender bushes during the summer. The monks produce honey and lavender essence, which you can purchase onsite. You’ll also find excellent photo opportunities! If you want to sit in on a religious ceremony, keep in mind the dress code and that monks value silence.
L’Eglise Saint Firmin a Gordes
Keeping up with the religious sites, a beautiful structure adorned with romanesque motifs stands near the city center. L’Eglise Saint Firmin in Gordes, France boasts an interior of vibrant colored walls and sacerdotal works of art. The church has eight chapels dedicated to respective patron saints. Although the structure shows signs of aging, it is a lovely glimpse into the past life of the village Gordes.
Oh, the Lavender!
This French region, particularly Gordes, France, is known for its copious crops of lavender. Purple seas extend as far as the eye can see in many areas! Perfumed, summer breezes float on high as you gaze out over the tousled shrubs. There is actually a museum dedicated to this medicinal flower. The Musée de la Lavande offers ecological information regarding the region’s famous flower. There is also a boutique with an extensive collection of products concocted from the plant. A guided tour where you can learn all about lavender can be booked. Plus, pick out your own lavender field to explore from the many in the area. The photo opportunities alone are divine!
French Bread, Yes Please!
When in France, carbs do not count– at lease that is my motto! While in Gordes, France you must indulge in a flaky chocolate croissant and doughy baguette. These delicious baked goods perfectly characterize the French culture. A lovely bakery, La Boulangerie de Mamie Jane, is a local favorite. Located along Rue Baptistin Picca, the tiny bakery has been operated by the same family for over three generations. The pastries are light, cakes are moist and biscuits are incredibly airy. In true Gordes fashion, you will even find lavender infused baked goods. Enjoy!
If your travel plans span a Tuesday morning, you must meander through the local stalls of the Farmer’s Market. What better way to enjoy a small village than to shop as the locals do? Aromal cheeses, fresh eggs, local wine, and don’t forget the lavender oil! Tables lain with the goods of local entrepreneurs brings the stone city to light with pops of color and energy.
French villages never cease to amaze me with their quaint charm and delicious cuisine. Gordes, France is a must-see destination for many of these reasons and more. I know I will be reminded of the waving fields of lavender and this magical village each time I smell that soothing floral fragrance.