Gordes…down through the centuries…

The history of Gordes began on the rock on which the village was first built and was linked to that of the castle and its lords for several centuries. The castle was first mentioned in 1031.

In the 14th century, it became an important military construction intended to protect the village against repeated attacks by brigands who terrorized the region. The remparts were built at the same time but fell into ruin from the 18th Century, leaving a few remains today.

During the renaissance , on the initiative of Bertrand Rambaud de Simiane, the medieval castle was enlarged and totally redesigned to suit the tastes of the time.

Despite all this work, the lords never lived in it, as , until recently, the village was very difficult to reach and a long way from the communication routes across the plain. With a very large population, the 18th Century marked the beginning of a period of economic prosperity based on the presence of a flourishing craft industry and other small industries. Tanners, shoemakers (there were 400 in the early 19th Century), silk production, wool carding, silk imlls, madder plant growing, quarrying, olive oil production, (hectares of olive trees and 18 windmills before 1914) were the village’s main activities. However, the bubble burst with the outbreak of the first world war and Gordes went throughout a long period makes by depopulation, entire neighborhoods falling into ruins and restored them, and Gordes was given a new lease of life. Today, its rich architectural and cultural heritage make it one of Provence’s leading attractions.