Out of all the beautiful Provencal villages in France, Gordes is my absolute favourite.
This little hilltop village in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is small enough to explore in one day. Thinking of adding this picture-perfect gem to your travel list? Here’s my Gordes luxury travel guide.
When’s the best time to go to Gordes France?
Gordes is one of the most popular destinations in Provence so planning when to go is essential if you want to make the most and fully enjoy your visit.
The peak summer season in Gordes can be challenging if you don’t like huge crowds. Tour operators normally operate in Provence around April to October so the village streets can be a bit busy around this time of the year. But if you want to see the fragrant lavender fields in full bloom during your visit, then you’ll have to visit around late June and throughout July. Just be aware of how busy Gordes (or Provence and France) generally is, around the summer season.
Personally, I think fall is the best time to visit Gordes. That’s of course, if you don’t mind missing the lavender season. In September, the weather is gentler, the crowds are slightly thinner and the luscious grapes in the Provencal vineyards are ripe for picking!
Getting to Gordes France
Gordes is around an hour’s drive from either Aix-en-Provence or Avignon, two of the most popular bases for visiting Provence. If you’re flying into Provence, the Marseille-Provence Airport is the nearest airport to Gordes. Heading straight to Gordes after your flight should take you just a little more than an hour.
Exploring the hilltop village
The road leading to Gordes is steep and winding so prepare yourself and know what to expect. Driving can be challenging if you’re not used to driving on the right side of the road or if you’re not used to small winding roads. I’d recommend hiring a car with automatic transmission but know that these are hard to come by during peak tourist season (May to July) in Gordes (or France in general).
This picturesque village is also quite small so parking can be difficult. The main car park is just off Route de Cavaillon right after you pass by the Gordes town viewpoint. It’s about 10 mins walk from the village centre. There are two more public carparks further into the village and both are about a 10-15 minute walk into the centre.
Carparks are extra busy during peak tourist season and especially in the morning on market day (Tuesdays). During the slower seasons, carparks still get filled quickly in the morning on market days but are usually quieter in the afternoon and almost empty near the evening. Expect to pay around EUR 6 for four hours, unless you’re arriving after 7 pm then parking is free.
Where’s the Best Place to Stay?
For a small village in Southern France, Gordes offers a good number of options. But my favourite would have to be La Bastide de Gordes, a five-star hotel & spa recently acquired by the luxury hotel group Airelles. Not only does La Bastide de Gordes have spectacular views, it also has world-class Michelin-starred restaurants and all the amenities to complete your luxury holiday in Gordes. Make the most of your stay by booking a bedroom that comes with a view of the stunning Gordes village.
Things to do and Activities in Gordes France
While there are lots to do in Gordes, here are a few activities that have become my favourites. And even if you’re heading there just for a day, you can definitely fit all this in one trip.
- Experience market day. Every Tuesday from 8 am to 1 pm, the Gordes weekly market happens in front of Le Chateau de Gordes (the Gordes castle). There, you can buy paintings by local artists, lavender products, straw hats and baskets, spices, charcuterie and cheese, local farm produce, and of course the famous Marseille soap.
- Check out the local shops and luxury boutiques. If you happen to visit Gordes on a non-market day, worry not. There’s also a good variety of local shops and luxury boutiques in the centre of the village selling lavender products, jewellery, charcuterie, and cheese, among others. There are also local branches of L’Occitane and Vanille & Lilas if you’re thinking of getting the perfect Provencale souvenir.
- Visit Le Chateau de Gordes – After browsing through the market stalls and local boutiques, it’s time to head to the castle on Place Genty Pantaly. Le Chateau de Gordes is open almost every day except on New Year’s Day and Christmas Day and during exhibition changes. Opening times vary throughout the year so make sure you check the Le Chateau de Gordes’ official website.
- Dine at La Bastide. Channel your inner Emily in Paris and dine at Clover Gordes, one of the eight restaurants of Jean-François Piège, France’s own multi-Michelin-starred chef. Everything is cooked from local produce and the cuisine combines Jean-François passions in vegetarian dishes and open-flame grilling. Another scrumptious option is the L’Orangerie restaurant. With equally stunning views of the Provencal lavender fields and olive groves, L’Orangerie serves the best traditional Luberon cuisine as you dine under the shade of lush mulberry trees.
- Visit L’Eglise Saint Fermin. This charming 18th-century church was dedicated to Saint Firmin, patron saint of Gordes. It’s amazing how this historic place has been restored artfully into its former glory. Visit and marvel at the impressive wood paneling and colourful murals around the church. Entrance is free but donations are welcome.
- People watch at a café. You’re spoilt for choice because the village is dotted with cafes and ice-cream shops. Get a cup of chocolat chaud and people watch in the village centre. Or if you fancy it, head to the newly opened Laduree in the village centre and grab a French macaron or two.
- Head to the Gordes town viewpoint. Before leaving Gordes, treat yourself to a panoramic view of one of the most beautiful villages in France. Search for Town View Point Gordes or simply type 13 Rte de Cavaillon on Google Maps and you should be able to find the perfect spot. Now the Gordes Lookout Parking has very limited spaces so try heading there during quieter times. Morning to early afternoon is quite busy but late afternoon is quieter. I personally prefer going near sunset when the lighting is at its best and you have almost no one to compete with when it comes to enjoying the view or having your photo taken.
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