A relaxing walk from hilltop village to hilltop village via Joucas, a sleepy hamlet and artist's paradise.
This lovely walk takes you across the valley floor to the hilltop village and artists’ colony of Joucas, which you can explore at your leisure before making your way along a rocky path through shrub which offers exceptional views of the surrounding landscape. Finally, follow a peaceful forest trail and a steep but short section on paved roads to the lovely village of Gordes. Hugely popular with tourists in the summer, Gordes is recognized as one of the prettiest villages in France, and its warren of narrow streets clustered round the castle are host to many fine restaurants and specialist shops.
There are a number of options to walk into Gordes, and we have documented the one that involves the least walking on what can be very busy tourist roads. The path we have chosen will also bring you through a wonderful section of ruins which have been embellished with creative art instalments by the locals.
Take some time to explore Joucas. It will be of particular interest to art fans. Visit the La Labyrinthe d’art show room (free entry) to view some interesting sculptures.
Today you will be walking on roads for the most part, these are small quiet country roads, but do still be aware of traffic. Take care on the path after Joucas as it is rocky, especially on the descent to the forest.
Although the rocky descent to the forest just before Gordes is short, some may find walking poles beneficial to aid descent.
Food and Drink
Roussillon is well served with shops that will allow you to stock up for the day with food and water. Joucas has two restaurants and a small general store (all closed on Mondays) and Gordes has a wide variety of shops, bars and restaurants covering all tastes and budgets. We recommend always starting your day carrying at least 2 litres of water per person per day, and maybe even more on particulalry warm or longs days. Provence can become very hot and it is important to stay hydrated.
Points of Interest
Église de Joucas
Joucas has a fine church which is open to visitors throughout the summer months. Located just off the small square beyond Place de La Fontaine, it boasts fine freezes behind the alter, and has some remarkable modern statues located on the square at the entrance.
Joucas Artists’ Colony
Joucas is home to a number of artists mostly focussing on sculpture. Currently, a sculpture garden is being created on the lower reaches of the village visible from the church, and the gallery named the showroom named La labyrinthe d’art (just off La Pace de la Fontaine) is worth a visit.
More details can be found at www.sculpture-heybroek-plaud.com
Chateau de Gordes
This Castle was rebuilt in 1525 and already existed in 1031. This well-restored and preserved building combines architecture from the troubled Middles Ages and the Renaissance era. The monumental fireplace that decorates the Hall of Honour was classified historical monument in 1902, as was the rest of the castle in 1931. There is a small entrance fee. More details can be found at the Tourist Information Office at the castle entrance. Today’s walk finishes here.
Les Caves du Palais Saint Firmin (Gordes)
The cellars of Saint-Firmin Palace, which boast a variety of artistic features, provide evidence of life in Gordes from the Middle Ages onwards, and offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of this mysterious, semi-troglodyte world. Moving from room to room, visitors will learn all about the history of the place and the know-how associated with the oil production process. Self-guided visit with audio-guide in several languages. There is a small entrance fee.
More details can be found at http://caves-saint-firmin.com/