Gordes is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France, all built in the pale stone of the area and perched on a hill across the massif du Luberon. It is popular, so you should try to arrive there early. Along its steep streets in calades (wear comfortable shoes!), each building is full of architectural treasures. A remarkable feature is mostly unseen, though: the Caves du Palais Saint-Firmin, an underground network where artisans worked, built by the resourceful locals faced by lack of space.

Its dominant position made it a natural oppidum for the Romans, and a stronghold against Barbarian invasions in the Middle Ages. In the 16th century, it also resisted assaults the cruel Huguenot Baron des Adrets, who then unleashed his fury onto the Abbaye de Sénanque.

Its strategic position at the entrance of the Calavon valley fostered its prosperity over the next centuries. It was an active centre for the Résistance during WW2. It attracted many artists in the 20th century, such as André Lhote, Marc Chagall, Victor Vasarely and Pol Mara.

Don’t miss:

Le château-forteresse dating from the 10th century and remodelled at the Renaissance, now the town hall

The romanesque église Saint Firmin, d’origine Romane 

Les Caves du Palais Saint Firmin

L’Aumônerie Saint Jacques, escale pour les pèlerins en route vers Saint Jacques de Compostelle

La Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs

All the houses and mansions, with their magnificent doors, vaults, sun dials and cisterns

The dominant views 

The Village des Bories, a rural habitat village 4 km awayécouvrirez-les-trésors-d’un-patrimoine-caché