( Gordes )

Gordes (French pronunciation: ​[ɡɔʁd]; Occitan: Gòrda) is a commune in the Vaucluse département in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France. The residents are known as Gordiens. The nearest big city is Avignon; smaller cities nearby include Cavaillon, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Apt.

The name "Gordes" derives from the Celtic word "Vordense". Vordense was pronounced Gordenses, then Gordae/Gordone, and finally Gòrda then translated into French "Gordes".[1]

Early history

Occupation by the Roman empire.[2] The area is full of evidence of their occupation especially the Roman road passing through Apt and Carpentras and crossing the valley. Gallo-Roman remains were found in "Bouisses" district (skeletons, amphorae, columns) or Gallo-Roman substructures in the hamlet of "les Gros".

The view from north of the castle shows the ancient and the Renaissance parts.
Middle Ages and Renaissance

In the 8th century, a Benedictine abbey known as Saint-Chaffret was founded by monks of the Abbey of Saint-Chaffre in Monastier-en-Velay on the site of an ancient cella (Roman temple) destroyed during the Arab invasions.[3]

In 1031, a castle was built and the Latin word "castrum" was added to what thus became "Castrum Gordone". The castle was re-enforced in 1123 to become a "nobile castrum", the only one known among the many castles nearby.[4]

In 1148, the Sénanque Abbey was established under the patronage of Alfant, Bishop of Cavaillon, and Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona, Count of Provence, by Cistercian monks who came from Mazan Abbey in the Ardèche.

After the death of King René of Provence, the territory of Provence was incorporated in 1481 into the kingdom of France as a "province royale française" (French royal province). An insurrection broke out in the former states of Agoult-Simiane and County of Forcalquier. Gordes is distinguished by a strong opposition to French centralism but will pay heavily for its claims of independence. A year later, with the wedding of his son, Jacques Raybaud de Simiane takes the title of "Baron de Gordes".

Second World War
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During World War II, Gordes was an active resistance village and was later awarded a medal, the Croix de guerre 1939–1945.

On 21 August 1944, almost a week after the beginning of the Operation Dragoon on the Provençal coast, a German patrol was attacked by the resistance. The day after, 22 August, the village was subject to violent reprisals. The Germans forced the inhabitants to enter their homes, shooting those who were late or that were not cooperating, and started to shoot from the rock on the other side with a canon and destroyed a dozen houses. On the other side of the village, the rest of the troops set fire to a chariot, pieces of wood and houses, blocking potential followers. More than twenty houses were destroyed. After the Liberation the resistance destroyed another part of the village, including the notarial house with all the archives. All this destruction brought the municipality the sad privilege to appear amongst three "stricken cities" of the Vaucluse department. By war's end, thirteen persons had been killed or executed in Gordes, twenty inhabitants had been shot by the enemy and five inhabitants were deported.

After World War II

After a period of reconstruction, the village started to attract artists including Marc Chagall and Jean Deyrolle [fr], who discovered the village in 1947, and who attracted their artist friends including Serge Poliakoff, Victor Vasarely and Jean Dewasne [fr].[citation needed]


The primary ones are reported in 1696 in the Armorial Général de France and coming from the Gordes-Simiane family.

Arms of the Gordes family 
The arms of the Gordes family are blazoned :
"de gueules à une gourde d'or".

Arms of the Simiane family 
The arms of the Simiane family are blazoned :
"d'or semé alterné de tours et de fleurs de lys d'azur".

1984's armory 
In 1984, new arms are created : "Mantelé d'or à deux gourdes de gueules, et de gueules à une gourde d'or".

The design is clearly based on the Gordes family armory in terms of colors and form.

Other historical language names

Occitan: Gòrda in classical norm of provencal, Gordo in Mistralian norm

^ GORDES notes d'histoire by Jean-Louis Morand page 9. ^ GORDES notes d'histoire by Jean-Louis Morand page 17 to 24 / "L'époque romaine". ^ GORDES notes d'histoire by Jean-Louis Morand page 39 to 53, "Histoire de Saint Chaffret" ^ GORDES notes d'histoire by Jean-Louis Morand page 249 to 253 "Le château de Gordes" then page 205 to 216 / "Généalogie des familles".
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