Gordes: one of the most famous villages perchés in France
Standing on the edge of the plateau of Vaucluse, Gordes is one of the "in" villages of Luberon where many movie stars and artists have made their home. It is one of the most famous "perched villages" or villages perchés in France, the castle dating back to the 1100s. Its beautiful architecture and hilltop setting make it one of the most visited places in Provence creating tourist crowds in high season.
Its houses of white and gray stone rise up in a spiral around the rock where the village is set. At the very top is the church and the castle which face out onto the hills of the Luberon. Due to its privileged position, its exceptional charm and its typical architecture, Gordes has been listed as "one of the most beautiful villages of France". While strolling around the tiny streets which climb up between the tall houses, you will discover here and there beautiful old doorways, arcades and walls of flat stone perfectly restored, and on the other side, there is the panorama of the valley and mountains of Luberon. Once at the top of Gordes, you can see the fortified castle enclosing the city hall and the Pol Mara museum (Flemish contemporary painter), The odd village of the "borie" is intriguing. Bories are little round huts built in stone and were at one time used by shepherds or hunters.
Whatever you do, you must not miss the fabulous Abbey of Senanque hidden in the green valley just outside Gordes. The lavender fields are among the most photographed sites in France. Cistercian monks still live there producing honey, lavender essence, and liqueurs. The whole twelfth century edifice is open for visits.
There are several restaurants from the simple to refined in Gordes neighbourhood including some with two Michelin stars. The books by Peter Mayle A Year in Provence and sequels have made the villages of the Luberon familiar to the world and remain highly entertaining.