History

This village can boast about being amongst one of the most beautiful villages in France. It has narrow cobbled streets which thread their way through tall houses; built against the rock, clinging onto its flanks and whispering the tales of a thousand legends.

Gordes is also proud of its castle firmly planted in its very core and which reminds the passer-by of a past rich with conquests but also marked with the sufferings of its inhabitants. Today, the castle acts as both a Town Hall and a Museum sheltering  the works of art of the painter Pol Mara.

Gordes also extends its territory to include the Bories village, those curious igloo-shaped structures made of stones - no mortar; the Sénanque Abbey set in its green valley, the Bouillons oil press  and the cellars of St Firmin's s Palace. 

As for the soul, Gordes has sheltered many a famous artist such as André Lhote, Marc Chagall, Jean Deyrolle, Victor Vasarely and Pol Mara, who amongst others have found here some inspiration.

Such a cultural tradition is kept alive to this day, during the summer time when many exhibits do take place in buildings marked by History, such as the St James almonry, the White Penitents chapel etc.

Gordes Municipality looks after its heritage with a rigorous love so that success does not spoil it.

Yes, indeed, Gordes is a highly recommended tourist destination, and thus because of its History, its exceptional geographical location, its high quality cultural activities as well as for its renowned hotels and restaurants.

Gordes must remain authenticable, maintain its Provençal traditions, and yet be open to a tourism, which knows to appreciate and respect.

History

In the Roman times, Gordes was an oppidum; the tribe that lived there was that of the Vulgientes or Vordenses which gave its name to the original village; the "V" usually became a "G" (Vordenses - Gordenses) in the Gallo-Roman days.

The History of Gordes goes  back to a much older age: already in the Gallo-Roman days, Gordes was the most important oppidum for the city of Cavaillon.  The diocese of Cavaillon was one of the oldest in Gaul.  Until the French Revolution Gordes has been located on a border, and in a very peculiar way was answerable to a diocese located abroad.  This border was even marked on all the Roman maps.

The terrible insecurity caused by the many invasions forced the local populations to find refuge on the hills.  This explains why so many villages are "perched".  The strategic value of these fortified cities will last during the whole of the medieval times and part of the Renaissance, notably during the religious wars.

This is the reason why Gordes has lived on a defensive mode and has learnt, maybe more than others, how to protect itself.  This explains why to this day, the village has a tough and even austere appearance.  It is like a labyrinth of stones marked by the torments of the past, which is given in heritance to the inhabitants.

Because of  the multiple invasions,  the religious wars (including the massacre of the Vaudois), the plague, two earthquakes (thankfully light ones), a bombing at the end of the second World War and all the consequences thereof (starvation and depopulation), the inhabitants of Gordes, have had many an opportunity to show their bravery and their strength and to prove how attached they are to that little village strongly clinging onto its rock!

Gordes is listed as one of  "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" ("The Most Beautiful Villages in France").  Gordes has been able to build a world reputation for itself, yet be respectful of its past and of its traditions.  It is a well-appreciated centre for numerous artistic and cultural happenings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Réalisation : CLIN Productions

Gordes, one of the most beautiful village of France