Provence hilltop village named ‘most beautiful’ spot in the world | Travel News | Travel

Provence hilltop village named ‘most beautiful’ spot in the world | Travel News | Travel

The most beautiful village in the world is located in France and more precisely in Provence.

At least, that is according to the American travel magazine, Travel + Leisure, which placed Gordes, nestled in the heights of the Luberon park, at the top of the 2023 ranking.

Located in the heart of the Luberon, Gordes beat the likes of the Japanese village of Shirakawa-gō, Giethoorn in the Netherlands or even Stepantsminda in Georgia and Oia in Greece to the top of the list.

With a natural site conducive to contemplation, Gordes also has unstoppably striking cultural resources.

Its abbey, which will celebrate its millennium in more than a century, is located on the side of a hill and holidaymakers can enjoy the pleasant scents exhaled from the nearby lavender field during their visit.

In the center, an old castle overlooks olive trees and cobbled streets.

Classified as a Historic Monument since 1931, it was built between the 11th and 16th centuries.

According to the Gordes commune website, the lords never lived in the castle: “It served as a prison, a granary for harvests and a relay for the garrisons.

“At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, it was at the heart of village life, there was a bar, the boys’ school, the school canteen, the post office, a pharmacy and the town hall.”

It is in this picturesque and warm setting that internationally renowned artists perform in July and August during the Summer Evenings Festival.

After a visit to the castle, tourists can turn their attention to Saint-Firmin Church, an “imposing fortress-like building sits at the top of the rock and gives the village its citadel appearance.”

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Notre Dame de Sénanque Abbey is another notable spot for sightseeing.

The abbey is best visited in summer when the lavender fields surrounding it offer a magnificent picture. It was founded in 1148 by Cistercian monks.

While Gordes is taken over by thousands of tourists every summer, 1,600 inhabitants have the privilege of living there all year round, perched at around 300 meters above sea level.

This is the case of restaurateur Benoît Mériaux who walks every morning, with his shopping, one of the typical medieval cobbled streets of Gordes, accessible only on foot, to his establishment.

Speaking to TF1 Info, Mériaux said: “It’s picturesque, that’s what gives it its charm. It’s a pleasure to live in such a setting.”

For archaeology enthusiasts, the village of Bories, 4km from Gordes, is worth the detour. The village was named after the perfectly preserved stone cabins that still decorate the local countryside.

Small huts built without mortar but rather simple human ingenuity, with the stones skillfully stacked one on top of the other to form shelters with vault ceilings and small windows letting in the gentle light of the Provençasl sunshine.

The minerals aggregate to form an organic whole and serve as a testimony of ancient rural life alongside preserved examples of everyday objects, such as bread ovens and wheat silos, also located in the barracks of the village of Bories.

Franck Miro, “the man of stone”, is the only one to hold the secret of manufacturing the bories which are part of the village’s heritage.

“We are touching on something that was done by elders, with passion and taste and we must try to respect their work,” he explains.

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Author: Shirley