|• Mayor (2020–2026)||Richard Kitaeff|
|48.04 km2 (18.55 sq mi)|
|• Density||35/km2 (90/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
|Elevation||111–635 m (364–2,083 ft) |
(avg. 373 m or 1,224 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
Gordes (French pronunciation: [ɡɔʁd] ; Occitan : Gòrda) is a commune in the Vaucluse département in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. The residents are known as Gordiens. The nearest big city is Avignon; smaller cities nearby include Cavaillon, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Apt.
The territory of Gordes occupies some of "Les Monts de Vaucluse", a group of mountains and hills, part in the valley of the Calavon (a local river) also called the "Luberon Valley".
The main access to the village of Gordes is the departmental road D2 then the departmental road D15, coming from Cavaillon. It is from the latter road, below the Bel-Air rock, that you can observe the most famous and photographed point of view of the village.
Gordes is located 38 kilometres east from Avignon and its TGV station, 75 kilometres from the Marseille Provence international airport and 87 kilometres from Marseille. The closest "gares SNCF" (normal train station) are located in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Cavaillon.
Neighboring villages are Venasque and Murs to the north, Joucas and Roussillon to the east, Goult, Saint-Pantaléon, Beaumettes and Oppède to the south and Cabrières-d'Avignon and Saumane-de-Vaucluse to the west.
Located between two geographic area, Gordes is one of the biggest communes of the area with 4,804 hectares. The north is defined by the southern edge of the Vaucluse Mountains. The highest point of the commune (635 meters) is in this area, next to la Pouraque and les Trois Termes. The south of the commune is made by the Calavon valley, also called the Luberon Valley, and a few hills in the area. The lowest height of the commune, at 111 meters, is in the south in the area called plan de l'Alba.
The village itself is located in the center of the commune, on a giant calcareous rock from the Vaucluse Mountains, dominating the valley.
With a wide variation of the land, geology of the commune is divided into several distinct zones.
In the north, on the Vaucluse Mountains, are soils dating mainly from Upper Jurassic with urgonian limestone and calcareous clay. There are also, in very low amounts and primarily localized over the Senanque Abbey, soils dating from the Eocene / Oligocene, composed of limestone, sand, and clay.
Geology in the south of the village is more complex. The plain in Gordes (southeast) is composed of soil dating from the Quaternary (fluvial deposits, colluvium and scree) and soils of the Late Jurassic period (calcareous clay and blue marl). The hills area of "les garrigues" (in the south) is composed of soil dating from the Cretaceous – Paleocene period (calcareous sandstone, calcareous lacustrine clay, colorful, white and ocher sands and some ferruginous) and from the Miocene period (molasses limestone, sand and marl). Finally, the soil of the territory down to the plain of Calavon with some slightly higher ground dating from the Miocene and one lower from the Quaternary.
Gordes has a Mediterranean climate characterised by relatively dry summers and cool, damp winters. The city is often subject to windy weather; the strongest wind is the mistral.
In summer, high temperatures associated with a reduced amount of rain creates a drought of almost one or two months a year according to the "Gaussen index" (temperatures in Celsius degrees twice higher than rains in millimeters).
The name "Gordes" derives from the Celtic word "Vordense". Vordense was pronounced Gordenses, then Gordae/Gordone, and finally Gòrda then translated into French "Gordes".
Occupation by the Roman empire.The area is full of evidence of their occupation especially the Roman road passing through Apt and Carpentras and crossing the valley. Gallo-Roman remains were found in "Bouisses" district (skeletons, amphorae, columns) or Gallo-Roman substructures in the hamlet of "les Gros".
In the 8th century, a Benedictine abbey known as Saint-Chaffret was founded by monks of the Abbey of Saint-Chaffre in Monastier-en-Velay on the site of an ancient cella (Roman temple) destroyed during the Arab invasions.
In 1031, a castle was built and the Latin word "castrum" was added to what thus became "Castrum Gordone". The castle was re-enforced in 1123 to become a "nobile castrum", the only one known among the many castles nearby.
In 1148 the Sénanque Abbey was established under the patronage of Alfant, Bishop of Cavaillon, and Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona, Count of Provence, by Cistercian monks who came from Mazan Abbey in the Ardèche.
After the death of King René of Provence, the territory of Provence was incorporated in 1481 into the kingdom of France as a "province royale française" (French royal province). An insurrection broke out in the former states of Agoult-Simiane and County of Forcalquier. Gordes is distinguished by a strong opposition to French centralism but will pay heavily for its claims of independence. A year later, with the wedding of his son, Jacques Raybaud de Simiane takes the title of "Baron de Gordes".
During World War II, Gordes was an active resistance village and was later awarded a medal, the Croix de guerre 1939–1945.
On 21 August 1944, almost a week after the beginning of the Operation Dragoon on the Provençal coast, a German patrol was attacked by the resistance. The day after, 22 August, the village was subject to violent reprisals. The Germans forced the inhabitants to enter their homes, shooting those who were late or that were not cooperating, and started to shoot from the rock on the other side with a canon and destroyed a dozen houses. On the other side of the village, the rest of the troops set fire to a chariot, pieces of wood and houses, blocking potential followers. More than twenty houses were destroyed. After the Liberation the resistance destroyed another part of the village, including the notarial house with all the archives. All this destruction brought the municipality the sad privilege to appear amongst three "stricken cities" of the Vaucluse department. By war's end, thirteen persons had been killed or executed in Gordes, twenty inhabitants had been shot by the enemy and five inhabitants were deported.
After a period of reconstruction, the village started to attract artists like Marc Chagall and Jean Deyrolle who discovered the village in 1947, and who in turn attracted other artist friends such as Serge Poliakoff, Vasarely, Dewasne, etc.
The primary ones are reported in 1696 in the Armorial Général de France and coming from the Gordes-Simiane family.
|The arms of the Gordes family are blazoned :|
"de gueules à une gourde d'or".
|The arms of the Simiane family are blazoned :|
"d'or semé alterné de tours et de fleurs de lys d'azur".
|In 1984, new arms are created : "Mantelé d'or à deux gourdes de gueules, et de gueules à une gourde d'or". |
Occitan : Gòrda in classical norm of provencal, Gordo in Mistralian norm
The commune of Gordes has numerous infrastructures of public utility like the "gendarmerie", the fire brigade, the post office, a tax office, a library, etc.
|Tax||Communal part||Intercomunal part||Part for the department||Part for region|
|Housing tax||6.56 %||0.00 %||7.55 %||0.00 %|
|Property tax on built properties||9.83 %||0.00 %||10.20 %||2.36 %|
|Property tax on non-built properties||38.51 %||0.00 %||28.96 %||8.85 %|
|Business Tax||00.00 %||19.99 %||13.00 %||3.84 %|
|Source: EHESS and INSEE|
|Type of ground occupation||Percentage||Size (in hectares)|
|Agricultural zones||34,43%||1 690,74|
|Natural Zones||56,38%||2 768,14|
Located in the middle of the village, the castle, which was partially rebuilt in Renaissance style in 1525, is a major tourist attraction.
In the immediate vicinity of Gordes is the Romanesque Sénanque Abbey (Cistercian) and the Village des Bories, a village of dry stone huts that is now a museum.
All new buildings in Gordes are made of stone with terracotta roof tiles. No fences are allowed, only stone walls. All electrical and telephone cables are underground, except in some pre-existing installations on the borders of the commune. Some streets inside the village are paved with stone and are called calades.
There are several ancient hamlets around the village, whose names are mostly based on the names of the local families (Gros, Imbert, Martin, Cortasse) or from the activities performed there (les bouillons, les bouilladoires).
The largest hamlet is les Imberts, in the valley 5 km to the southwest. Les Imberts church was built between 1785 and 1792; other buildings also have 18th century architectural details. Gourdes' two football pitches are in Les Imberts: one for official matches and the other for training. Les Imberts has a nursery and a school and once had several small shops, but in 2011 it had only a petrol station.
Les Gros and les Martins are two former hamlets close to each other, between les Imberts and the commune of les Beaumettes.
The hamlets of les Sauvestres, les Pourquiers, les Marres and les Cortasses are in the plain to the south-east of Gordes. Some of the buildings in these hamlets date back hundreds of years.
As in many villages in the Vaucluse department, agriculture is important. Historically, almond trees were the most planted in the area, and though they are still present, olive trees have largely replaced them. Thus olive oil is important to local commerce. You can also find vineyards, with the production of table grapes or wine in AOC Ventoux.
Tourism is a major part of the local economy of Gordes. Accommodating the tourist trade, there are a number hotels,bed and breakfasts, seasonal rentals, and restaurants.
The main sights on the commune are the village itself, the castle, the Saint-Firmin Palace cellars, the Sénanque Abbey and the Village des Bories.In the surrounding towns, you can find many other tourist locations like the Fontaine de Vaucluse, Roussillon or L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the Luberon area, Avignon or the Mont Ventoux.
Gordes also has two centers of relaxation, numerous pools and ponds and miles of hiking trails.
Commercial activity is also important in the Gordes economy with various shops including several shops dedicated to tourists, selling souvenir and regional products (figurines, textiles, olive oil, honey, etc.). Moreover, a Provençal market is held every Tuesday morning around the castle.
Gordes also attracts artisans and traders in the real estate business like agents, architects, builders, landscapers, decorators, masons. By the way, the oldest real estate agency of the north Luberon area still in activity is located in Gordes, between the castle and the church, and the total number of real estate agents on the Gordes area is over ten.
Market day occurs in Gordes once a week. On Tuesday mornings, merchants from the area set up booths and sell their wares. These typically include food, clothing, instruments, Provençale dishes, decorations, and handicrafts. Additionally, the village has two bakeries and a variety of shops.
The commune has a primary school, a nursery school and a day care centre.
The closest university is Avignon University. Locals also attend Aix-Marseille University in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.
The village is home to several doctors, a pharmacy, a dentist and even an hospital but exclusively used for older people.
The commune is equipped with various sporting facilities including two football/soccer fields, walking and cycling trails, pétanque and other recreational spaces.
Several important artists have lived or worked in Gordes, including André Lhote, Marc Chagall, Pierre Chapo, Philippe Ragueneau, Victor Vasarely, Victor Spahn, Walter Salles and Willy Ronis. President François Mitterrand had a holiday home in Gordes.
The village of Gordes has a few art galleries and festivals. The biggest festival of Gordes is a music festival, but there is also a wine festival.
The castle, stone houses, stone paved streets, views, etc. of Gordes have been an important source of inspiration for paintings or photography. for example, the Provençal Nude by Willy Ronis was made in the "fontaine basse" area of Gordes in 1949.
Gordes appears in several books including :
A photograph of Gordes was used on the cover of the 2017 Gollancz edition of Orsinia, an edition combining Malafrena and Orsinian Tales by Ursula K. Le Guin.
Gordes has served as the setting for several movies or series including :
Avignon is the prefecture of the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of Southeastern France. Located on the left bank of the river Rhône, the commune had a population of 93,671 as of the census results of 2017, with about 16,000 living in the ancient town centre enclosed by its medieval walls.
Vaucluse is a department in the southeastern French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. It had a population of 559,014 as of 2016. The department's prefecture is Avignon.
The Luberon is a massif in central Provence in Southern France. It has a maximum elevation of 1,256 metres (4,121 ft) and an area of about 600 square kilometres (230 sq mi). It is composed of three mountain ranges : the Lesser Luberon, the Greater Luberon and the Eastern Luberon. The valleys north and south of them contain a number of towns and villages as well as agricultural land; the northern part is marked by the Calavon, while the southern part is characterised by the Durance.
Oppède is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. Oppidum is the Latin word for 'town'.
Ventoux AOC is a wine-growing AOC in the southeastern region of the Rhône wine region of France, where the wines are produced in 51 communes of the Vaucluse département along the lower slopes of the Ventoux mountain and at the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains. The neighbouring appellation of Luberon AOC stretches along its southern border and is separated from it by the Calavon river.
Roussillon is a commune in the Vaucluse department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in Southeastern France. In 2016 it had a population of 1,317. Roussillon lies within the borders of the Natural Regional Park of Luberon. In the French natural regional parks system, new economic activities may be developed only if they are sustainable.
Sénanque Abbey is a Cistercian abbey near the village of Gordes in the département of the Vaucluse in Provence, France.
Cavaillon is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of Southeastern France. It is situated in the Durance Valley, at the foot of the Luberon mountains. In 2016, it had a population of 26,985.
Banon is a commune in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of south-eastern France.
The arrondissement of Apt is an arrondissement of France in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. It has 57 communes. Its population is 128,793 (2016), and its area is 1,390.6 km2 (536.9 sq mi).
Cucuron is a village (commune) in the Vaucluse department, of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, in southeastern France. Its inhabitants are called Cucuronnais.
Bonnieux is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. In the plain below the village stands the notable Roman bridge the Pont Julien.
Saignon is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. The nearest town is Apt.
Goult is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. The village is perched on a hill with a solitary road to the peak. Near the end of the road is a 12th-century castle, the Chateau de Goult.
Joucas is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. The town is located on the perimeter of the Parc naturel régional du Luberon.
Mirabeau is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.
Taillades is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.
Monteux is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.
The Calavon is an 86.7-kilometre (53.9 mi) long river in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Vaucluse départements, southeastern France. Its drainage basin is 1,027 km2 (397 sq mi). Its source is near Banon. It flows generally west-southwest. It is a right tributary of the Durance into which it flows at Caumont-sur-Durance, near Cavaillon.
The Château de Lacoste or La Coste is a ruined castle in the commune of Lacoste in the Vaucluse département of France.
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