Visits to Gordes and the Senanque Abbey are the ones you can’t miss during your stay in Provence. But we invite you to leave the too busy tourist routes and discover them differently by taking some detours, from Côté Provence.
After meandering through the terraces planted with olive trees, on a road surrounded by dry stone walls, appears Gordes, a perched village classified among the most beautiful of France, in the heart of the Luberon Regional Natural Park. The citadel is anchored on the heights of a rocky outcrop and backed onto the southern flank of the foothills of the Monts du Vaucluse, facing the Luberon mountains.
Its castle, its church barred by imposing buttresses, the picturesque cobbled streets that wind through the large golden stone houses, give the village its character. And its postcard look under the rays of the setting sun!
“Notre Dame de Sénanque” Abbey, a 12th century monastery, is still inhabited by a community of Cistercian monks. The Abbey is listed as a historical monument. Its state of conservation, its Cistercian architecture and its location (coiled up in the superb valley of Sénancole, and surrounded by fields of lavender) make it a magical place, timeless, imbued with spirituality.
Guided tours are possible in season (see the “Useful links” section below).
A visit that will interest young and old alike in this village of bories (also called “Gallic cabin”). This typical built heritage is part of the identity of the landscape of Provence. You will discover sheepfolds, bread ovens, wine vats, alleys, enclosures… Classified as a Historic Monument in 1977.
Le village des Bories
Far from the hustle and bustle (and yet so close to Gordes and the Ocres!), you can extend your trip to the village of Lioux. You will discover a rather impressive landscape! A cliff 80m high and 7 km long, which features pretty glowing colors.
Venasque is an old medieval city clinging to its rock. The village gave its name to the Comtat Venaissin and is classified among the most beautiful villages in France. We love these places steeped in history …. and quiet!
See section “Our good addresses” below.
Roussillon and its Ocher cliffs are nearby. Early riders can visit Gordes and its surroundings plus Roussillon in the same day.
See our dedicated post The Ocres
Let’s go there !
Distance from Côté Provence : ~30 kms
Directions to take: you can classically from Le Thor join the D900 towards Apt then turn off at Cabrières d’Avignon. Or follow our more bucolic route through the Monts de Vaucluse (see below)
Our favorite route
From Côté Provence, we advise you to take the direction of Pernes Les Fontaines, then Saint Didier and take a break in the magnificent village of Venasque. From Venasque, venture into the Col de Murs (a must for our cycling friends), and at Murs on the roadside, don’t miss the most beautiful specimen of oak in the region (more than 6m tall). From Murs, don’t go straight down to Gordes, but take the D224 to first reach the Senanque Abbey.
You will come across a lot of Chinese in and around Gordes… Provence has indeed become one of the favorite holiday destinations for the Chinese since a Chinese television series took it in part as a setting. This romance (Dreams Links / yī lián yōu mèng / 帘幽梦) still attracted 200 million viewers every night! It seems that Princess and Prince Charming end up getting married in the middle of the lavender fields …..