Gordes France: Guide to Provence’s Charming Hilltop Village

One of the reasons why tourists go to France is because of the quaint countryside villages it has. France has many beautiful medieval villages, but Gordes in Provence stands out the most.

Featured in Forbes.com, Gordes is a village to be added to your France travel bucket list, absolutely. Its almost millennium-old alleys, gardens, as well as its scenic view will surely satisfy your fantasy and wanderlust!

Gordes, France

In this post, you will learn more about Gordes, the best things to do in Gordes, why you must visit Gordes, and many more! 

Facts and information (i.e., opening hours, etc.) are based on the official website of the Village of Gordes unless stated.

I created this post because southern France is really a beautiful place to be… and I am so interested in it. To everyone who will read this, I hope that this article helps you plan or learn about Gordes. 

Have safe travels!

Introduction to Gordes

Gordes, France

Gordes is located in Provence, southern France, perched in the rocky promontory Vaucluse mountains above Coulon Valley. Situated on an elevated ground, visitors of Gordes enjoy the view of the surrounding places like Luberon. 

The position of the village of Gordes is a factor why it is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. 

See its location from the Map shown below:

Another thing that makes Gordes a beautiful village is the structures built in it. The buildings are made up of bricks and stones, and they have terracotta roof tiles. In today’s world of concrete and steel, Gordes will surely bring the visitors back in time.

Houses, Gordes, France
Houses in Gordes

Gordes also has calades or narrow streets made from cobblestone. They fill Gordes with a medievalistic charm that never fails to captivate visitors passing through.

Calades, Gordes, France
Calades in Gordes

Culture flourishes within Gordes too. It is the center of several cultural events during summer. There are museums and different exhibition that takes place. You can find street performers singing, making the ambiance in Gordes great and good vibed.

Best Things to do in Gordes

Comparing other attractions in France, Gordes is relatively small in size. Yet, it does not mean that sightseeing is the only thing you can do here.

There might be less adventurous activities to do, but there are lots of things to discover. Genuinely curious travelers will surely enjoy exploring Gordes.

By the way, I wrote an article about the 10 most beautiful villages in the south of France (click here to read). Gordes is one of these beautiful villages. If you love quaint villages and medieval experiences, you should also discover the others. They’re just the perfect place to satisfy your wanderlust.

Park, Gordes, France
Gordes Fountain

Here is the list of the things to do in Gordes: 

  1. Château de Gordes
  2. Saint-Firmin church
  3. Saint-Firmin Palace Caves
  4. Gordes’ Calades
  5. See the Gordes View Point
  6. Glass and Stained-Glass Museum
  7. Village des Bories
  8. Sénanque Abbey 

Château de Gordes

We can start the list of things to do in Gordes with the most historical place or structure in the Village: The Gordes Castle.

Castle, Gordes, France
Gordes Castle

You can easily find Gordes Castle. It is one of the “largest” structures in Gordes. The castle is near the village center, a few steps from the runabout to the east.

Gordes Castle is a Millenium old structure in the heart of Gordes village, built during the early years of the 11th century. Exploring the castle, you will notice the medieval and renaissance architecture embodied in the structure.

Among the attractions in Gordes, the castle is the one which is meticulously preserved. Thus, visiting Gordes Castle would feel like traveling back in time.

Outside, the castle’s round towers crowned with machicoulis will help you imagine the furious battles that happened back in the day. 

Notice also the hole openings on the walls used by the archers to defend the village. The castle will make the movie fantasy you’ve watched on Netflix turn into a reality.

Gordes Castle, Gordes, France
Gordes Castle from afar, Gordes Castle Alley

There are exhibitions inside the castle. Near the fireplace, you will learn the history of Gordes and see artworks of the artists who lived in the village, such as Jean Deyrolle, Marc Chagall, André Lhote, and Pol Mara.

Gordes Castle is open from 10am to 6pm, and the entry costs 5 EUROs.

Saint-Firmin church

The saint-Firmin church is the next place on our list of things to do in Gordes. From the castle or village center, walk south, and you can arrive at the church in less than 2 minutes.

Saint Firmin Belfry, Gordes, France
Saint-Firmin Church Belfry

It is a church dedicated to Saint Firmin, the patron saint of Gordes, hence the name. The currently standing church building was built in the 18th century at the same site where the old church was, including some 20 houses.

The restructuring of the church was to accommodate the growing population of Gordes. And after the improvements, it gave the village a whole new look. The church now looks like a citadel, a fortress on the top of the hill.

Citadel-looking Saint-Firmin Church, Gordes, France
Citadel-looking Saint-Firmin Church

Inside, there are remarkable murals of saints and other painting decorations that seem to create 3D images.

If you are a catholic and it will be the first time you enter the church, don’t forget to make a wish. It will be the wish that will come true.

Saint Firmin Church, Gordes, France
Inside Saint-Firmin Church

Saint-Firmin Palace Caves

Since Saint-Firmin Palace Caves is very near to the church, visiting the cellars will be our list’s third thing to do in Gordes. 

Saint-Firmin Palace Caves, in a nutshell, is a museum, a semi-troglodytic site considered a National Heritage Site in France. It links the visitors to the past, letting them learn the hidden history of the village of Gordes. 

Inside the Saint-Firmin Palace Caves, you can find an exhibition of the objects found during the site’s restoration. These are things used by the citizens of Gordes during the middle ages, such as olive oil mills, silos, cisterns. 

At every stage of the museum, there will either be light shows and audio guides to take. 

After visiting the museum, you can go straight ahead of the alley where the museum’s entrance is and see the scenic view of the surrounding landscapes.

Saint-Firmin Palace Caves accepts visitors every year starting 31st of March until the 3rd of November. Opening hours are 10am to 1pm, and 2pm to 6pm. During summer, the closing time is extended until 6:30pm. The entry fee is 6 EUR.

If you have questions, you can email the admin of Saint-Firmin Palace Caves (caves.saint.firmin@gmail.com). See Saint-Firmin Palace Caves in Google Maps.

Gordes Calades

In my opinion, a stroll in the village would be the best thing to do in Gordes. The village is the main reason why you would come here, right? 🙂

Alley, Gordes, France
Charming Alley in Gordes

Gordes is a beautiful village, and there is a reason why it is called that way. Wander around and get to wherever your feet bring you.

I’m sure numerous eye-glittering sights await you in Gordes like ancient gateways and walkways, quaint houses, picturesque boutiques, and many more!

Arches, Gordes, France
Arch and Walkway in Gordes

Discover every detail that you can find. Maybe you find things that you were not even looking for.

One thing, do not forget to travel to the southern portion of the village near the church. It’s the hillside. Absolutely, you’ll find scenic viewpoints of the surrounding landscape.

Viewpoint, Gordes, France
Gordes Viewpoints and Calades

See the Gordes Viewpoint

If you liked sightseeing the views from the Gordes village, you should also check and visit the Gordes viewpoint. It is located along the Route de Cavaillon, west of the hill where the Gordes is located.

Gordes viewpoint is a spot where you can have a stunning view of the village. Don’t forget to bring your cameras because it is going to be really picture-worthy!

Gordes, France
Afternoon in Gordes Viewpoint

The viewpoint is 3 minutes away by car or 13 minutes away by foot. There is a car park right after the spot.

The parking space is tiny and could be fully occupied during peak hours. But the tourists do not stay for long and leave after a very few minutes of picture taking and sightseeing. You won’t have to wait for hours to get your turn to park your car.

Dusk, Gordes, France
Sunset view of Gordes Viewpoint

I suggest that if you want to visit the viewpoint, come an hour or 30 minutes before sundown – that is when it is not cloudy. You can also try visiting at dawn (I recommend sunset more).

Those are the parts of the day called Golden Hour, and it makes every scene even more stunning. It makes the photos look much better too.

Night View, Gordes, France
Night View of Gordes Viewpoint

And if you’re in photography, it’s an excellent time to create a timelapse. Witness and capture the changing colors of the sky over Gordes also the lighting of village lights when it turns dark.

Either way, the viewpoint is open 24 hours, and you can go to it whenever you want. Since it is along the road to and from Gordes, you can conveniently visit it before or after you come to Gordes.

Glass and Stained-Glass Museum (Musée du verre et du vitrail)

On the outskirts of Gordes, you can visit the Glass and Stained-Glass Museum – another item on our list of best things to do in Gordes. If you do not know the French language, you’ll have a hard time looking for it on Google Maps.

Musée du Verre et du Vitrail is a museum in the southern portion of Gordes, showing the history of glasses through the objects that are on exhibit. Inside, you will discover how glass was first created in Mesopotamia 7 millennia ago and how it was used in different cultures and lifestyles.

The methods and techniques of glass-making are summarized inside the museum as well. Know how the glasses are molded, how stained glass is made, and etc.

The museum is open from the 1st of April to the 30th of October. It is open all days of the week besides Tuesday, 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm.

The guided tours in the museum last for an hour; there is an entry fee of 5 EUR for adults and 3.5 EUR for Children. If you have inquiries, you can reach the administrator of the museum by these numbers and email:

  • +33 4 90 72 22 11 
  • +33 4 32 50 28 35 
  • interluberon@orange.fr

Village des Bories

Village des Bories is another museum just on the outskirts of Gordes – not to be missed from this list of things to do in Gordes. It is a historical outdoor museum situated at the slopes of the Vaucluse mountains, only 4 kilometers away from Gordes.

Village des Bories, Gordes, France
Village des Bories

In the village, you will see numerous structures made of stacking stones, a spectacle that will leave you curious how and why they are made.

What’s even more remarkable? There are houses in the village that have a curved ceiling made from stones. It’s head-scratching to think how did the villagers make the stones stack in that way.

Village des Bories, Gordes, France
Curved ceiling houses in Village des Bories

The stone houses were created during the 17th to 18th century when the villagers needed to produce more crops for their population. During that time, all they have was a rocky patch of land, not suitable for farming. So what they did, they extracted tons of stones from the ground to make the land crop-friendly.

Resourceful, the villagers used the stones to create the sturdy and unique-looking houses we now admire in Village des Bories. Today, we look at these houses as an embodiment of the extraordinary ancestral art of building and the incredible craft of stacking stones.

Village des Bories, Gordes, France
Village des Bories entrance to a stone house

The Village des Bories is open every day starting from 9 am to 8 pm. Visiting the museum will be a self-guided tour that lasts for 30 minutes.

The entry fee is 6 EUR for adults and 4 EUR for kids. The time opening time and prices are accurate by the time of its writing, but it is always subject to change. Always verify the schedule and get a booking in advance by calling +33 4 90 72 02 08

Sénanque Abbey

Last but not least on this list of things to do in Gordes is the Sénanque Abbey. It is a beautiful destination near Gordes, “a haven of peace intended for meditation.”

Senanque Abbey, Gordes, France
Senanque Abbey

Sénanque Abbey is located northwest of Gordes, which takes about eleven minutes to reach by car. It is a Cistercian monastery constructed in 1148 open for guided tours to the abbey church, dormitory, calefactory, cloister, and chapter house.

Senanque Abbey, Gordes, France
Cloister of Senanque Abbey

The Sénanque Abbey is also the most photographed place in Provence. The beautiful view of the lavender fields and the antique monastery in the background is an absolute shutter presser, truly Instagrammable.

Senanque Abbey, Lavender Field, Gordes, France
Senanque Abbey Lavender Field

Entry to the monastery is 8 EUR for adults, 5 EUR for students, and 3.5 EUR for children. The opening hours are 10 am to 5 pm. Come early or come during the off hours to avoid the crowd and capture an epic shot!

Senanque Abbey, Lavender Field, Gordes, France
Senanque Abbey Lavender Field Close-up

Is Gordes Worth Visiting?

Gordes has historical sites best for curious minds. It is worth a visit if you like learning history, sightseeing, and wandering along medieval lanes. There are no adventurous things to do in Gordes, but there are numerous picture-worthy spots your camera can capture.

Book accommodation or a day tour in Gordes?

Gordes is a village with a small area, the attractions can be visited within a day. It is more recommended to stay in a larger city and get a day tour to Gordes. However, there are beautiful hillside resorts with scenic views in Gordes – a reason why you would spend a night in Gordes.

How to Go to Gordes?

From wherever you are in France, you can take a train ride to Avignon. It is the nearest city to Gordes. 

In Avignon, you can rent a car and drive it to the Gordes. If you decided to go to Gordes using a private car, here are the Google Maps Coordinates of the parking lots:

  1. Lower parking lot – more spacious than the upper parking lot and has toilet rooms (Many visitors complain about the cleanliness of the toilet)
  2. Upper parking lot – closer to the village center but is smaller than the lower parking lot.

Both parking lots use ticket machines.

If you plan to use public transportation, you can also start from Avignon. The cheapest and fastest route involves 2 bus rides:

  1. From Avignon, take the bus #15 #7 #15S4 to Maubec.
  2. In Maubec, transfer from Coustellet route d’Apt to Coustellet Pl du Marché (Farmers market in Coustellet)
  3. Take bus #17Hs or #17Bs to Gordes.

See Rome2rio.com for complete information and alternatives. 

What cities are near Gordes?

Below is the table of the cities and the travel time between Gordes and each city:

 To Gordes
Arles2h 42m1h 3m
Avignon1h 50m46m
Aix-En-Provence2h 14m58m
Nimes3h 30m1h 11m
Marseille2h 48m1h 5m

The data from the table above are gathered from the Rome2Rio travel platform/application. The data above are only approximated. They may change depending on demand/traffic/weather. 

Here is the list of links references for the table above. You may also use these links to double-check the data above or book your transport to Gordes.

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Gordes, France

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