Château de Gordes, a historic jewel in Provence

Discover the Château de Gordes, an architectural gem in Provence. Founded in 1031, this site combines medieval fortress and Renaissance elegance in the heart of the picturesque village of Gordes. An unmissable historic and artistic stopover.

Place Genty Pantaly, Le Village, 84220, Gordes

Page updated on 18/04/2024

Château de Gordes

Château de Gordes

Discover the Château de Gordes: a journey through history and architecture

From medieval fortress to Renaissance residence: the evolution of Château de Gordes

Nestling in the heart of the picturesque village of Gordes, the Château de Gordes is an architectural treasure trove, revealing a fascinating history spanning several centuries. Founded in 1031, it initially stood as an imposing medieval fortress, a symbol of wealth and power. In 1525, the castle underwent a remarkable metamorphosis, subtly blending medieval features with the elegance of the Renaissance, a period of artistic and cultural renewal. This unique blend offers visitors an exceptional testimony to the past, while reflecting the artistic influences of its era.

An architectural panorama: from medieval towers to Renaissance windows

The majestic round towers of Château de Gordes immediately catch the eye. These buildings, crowned with machicolations, combine defence and prestige. Although their original function was defensive, today they offer an exceptional panoramic view of the village and its surroundings, inviting you to contemplate a breathtaking Provencal landscape (Note: access to the roofs is currently restricted for security reasons). At the same time, the château's Renaissance windows, spread over three levels, pierce its sturdy walls, bringing light and finesse. These delicately designed openings symbolise the castle's transition from an austere fortress to a noble and welcoming residence. What's more, the south-facing façade, which overlooks the old town of Gordes, is a perfect illustration of Provencal life, with its emblematic fountain and monumental staircase, a true architectural masterpiece. Classified as a Historic Monument, Château de Gordes is not only a guardian of the past, but also a vibrant place of culture and contemporary art, offering visitors an immersive experience through the ages.

Visiting tips: discover the best of Château de Gordes

For a unique experience at Château de Gordes, follow this expert advice: stand at the entrance to the garden of the Hôtel Simiane, facing the north facade of the château. It's from this privileged vantage point that you'll be able to truly admire the architectural evolution of this impressive building. Look carefully, from left to right. First you'll see the 12th-century Saracen tower, proud of its crenellations typical of medieval architecture. In the centre, the 14th-century tower stands "uncrowned", with its tiled roof, marking a turning point in the castle's history. Finally, on the right are the two towers, jewels of the Renaissance, built in the 16th century under Bertrand Rimbaud de Simiane, Baron of Gordes. This unique alignment offers a veritable open-air history lesson.

Not-to-be-missed treasures at Château de Gordes

The Escalier Monumental de Gordes: a marvel of art and architecture

At the heart of the Château de Gordes stands its monumental staircase, an architectural feat that combines functionality and aesthetics. This wide spiral staircase, the only one of its kind, stands out not only for its design but also for the uniqueness of its materials: each step, carved from a single piece of stone from the local quarries of Ménerbes, Oppède and Saint Pantaléon, testifies to the excellence of the craftsmen of the time and their commitment to local resources. The decorative elements that adorn its walls, such as swans, coats of arms, corbels, thistles, foliage, cherubs and shells, add a dimension of grace and elegance. These refined motifs are not mere ornaments; they tell stories, reflecting the legends and symbols dear to the castle's residents during the Renaissance.

Escalier Château - Gordes

The Renaissance fireplace: a sculptural masterpiece in the heart of the château

In the dining room of Château de Gordes stands another marvel: a monumental fireplace, listed as a Historic Monument since 1902. Measuring 7.20 metres long and 4.50 metres high, this fireplace transcends its utilitarian function to become a sculptural masterpiece. The richness and finesse of its carvings, notably the stylised acanthus and thistles, illustrate the unrivalled skill of the craftsmen of the period, while reflecting the artistic tendencies and reverence for nature characteristic of the Renaissance.

The fireplace, surmounted by twelve niches probably representing the twelve apostles, is a subtle tribute to faith and art. The coat of arms of the Simiane family, although hammered out during the Revolution, marks the centre of the fireplace, a reminder of the many historical changes the château has undergone. The fireplace at Château de Gordes is more than just a means of heating; it is a living witness to history, an embodiment of Renaissance art and a central element that enhances the grandeur and unique character of the château.

Cheminée Château - Gordes

A centre for art and culture in the heart of Gordes

At Château de Gordes, exhibitions are not just an opportunity to discover exceptional works of art; they are also an invitation to explore the links between contemporary art and historical heritage. Strolling through the rooms of the château, visitors will be immersed in a fascinating dialogue between past and present, art and architecture.

Art exhibitions at the château: annual programme

Elisabeth von Wrede - "Lumières parallèles" (10 January - 08 June 2024)

The first half of the year will be devoted to an exhibition by Elisabeth von Wrede, an artist renowned for her mastery of mixed media and her innovative approach to colour. Journey through Colour" promises to take visitors on a dazzling visual journey, where von Wrede's canvases unfold in a symphony of nuances and textures. His works, often inspired by nature and landscapes, resonate with the architecture and history of the château, creating an immersive and memorable experience.

Hans Silvester - "L'Éclat de la Vie" (19 June - 26 November 2024)

The second part of the year highlights the work of internationally renowned photographer Hans Silvester, famous for his captivating images that celebrate the beauty and diversity of life. The 'The Radiance of Life' exhibition will present a selection of his most emblematic photographs, inviting viewers on a journey across different continents and cultures. Each of Silvester's photographs tells a story, capturing moments of pure emotion and natural beauty, and reflecting his deep commitment to the environment and indigenous peoples.

DID YOU KNOW?

Château de Gordes has played a crucial role in the world of contemporary art, not least thanks to its collaboration with the famous artist Victor Vasarely. In the 1970s, Vasarely, a pioneer of optical art, established an art centre within this historic château. This initiative transformed the former medieval fortress into a space dedicated to modern art and innovation. Vasarely's works, characterised by their play of geometric shapes and vibrant colours, contrasted fascinatingly with the castle's ancient architecture, creating a unique dialogue between past and present. Although the Vasarely Museum has since been relocated, this period remains an emblematic chapter in the history of Château de Gordes, testifying to its dynamic role in the embrace of contemporary art.

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Château de Gordes
Village de Gordes
Village de Gordes
Château de Gordes
Gordes

Practical information on Château de Gordes, a historic jewel in Provence

Opening times and periods

From 10/01 to 26/11/2024, daily.
Open: 10am-1pm and 2pm-6pm
Exceptional closures on 27 and 28 April and from 09/06/24 to 18/06/24 inclusive.

Price

Full price: 6 € Reduced price: 4 €. Free entry for children < 12 years.

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