As you drive from our last stop at Oppède-le-Vieux, winding your way towards Gordes, you’ll follow the olive tree flanked hairpins and as the road begins to straighten will suddenly be greeted by a breathtakingly spectacular view of perhaps the most magnificent of the Luberon’s perched villages, Gordes. You would be forgiven for thinking that someone has grabbed a cluster of stone buildings and then scattered them like a roll of the dice to tumble dramatically down the hillside….
Home to film stars and artists and the location for many movies, this dramatically beautiful ‘village-perché’, meanders its way up and down the hillside to which it clings so precariously. Its ancient doorways and carefully restored stone-faced buildings preserve the stories of centuries of history, during which time Gordes has been repeatedly plundered.
Even during World War II it was brutally ransacked and much of its population murdered, to such an extent that it was awarded the Croix de Guerre medal.
The main square near the top of the town is dominated by Gordes’ imposing fortified castle which encloses the city hall and Pol Mar Museum.
To its right, slightly down the hill is the church of Saint Fermin’s, a dramatic somewhat austere building, originating from the twelfth century, it was rebuilt in the eighteenth century and devoted to Saint Fermin, Bishop of Uzès. When you step inside you are immediately transported back to a time when religion and fear dominated peoples lives, it is a thought provoking place.
There are also a plethora of restaurants and shops and a vibrant art community. A wonderful market spills through its streets every Tuesday morning, an excellent source for locally made goods and fresh produce.
Next time we will stop at Gordes’ nearby picturesque L’Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, near the mysterious Village des Bories. The Abbey is a not to be missed stop on your tour of the Luberon, especially from the middle of June when its famous lavender field lays a carpet of delicate, fragrant blooms before it.