•Vaucluse (84190) • Population: 612 • Altitude: 400 m
The old village of Gigondas rises up from the surrounding vineyards, past ancient houses to the 11th-century Ste.Catherine's church, with its central clock tower flanked by the campanile belfry and the old sundial (photo).
The ruins of the ancient fortifications extend up from the rocky ridge high above the village, and most of the old defensive wall still runs down from the top along the east edge of the village. High to the right, the ruins of the castle of the Princes of Orange still stand sentinal over the village and vineyards below.
The central square has a few terrace cafés and the ever-present wine "caveaux" where you can taste several variations of the superb Gigondas wine, and of course obtain a few bottles to take home.
Gigondas has run amok with modern sculpture, and they clutter the upper part of the village. Although "taste" is a personal thing, it's at least a sign that the village cares about itself and its image. Whether you like the sculptures or not, there's enough variety that you're bound to find at least some of them interesting.
Below the old village is a neat little commercial area, with parking, some shops and a gîte. There's a basketball court here as well, in case you brought a ball with you.
Out to the left (north) of the village, on the road up to the Dentelles Montmirail, the ancient Chapelle Sts-Côme-et-Damien extends up out of the forest on a hilltop, giving an added medieval feeling to Gigondas.
History of Gigondas
First record, 951 Jocundatis (probably Roman)
Prehistoric: Built against the cliffs, Gigondas has many prehistoric artifacts, including polished axes and bronze-age furniture.
Gallo-Roman: Roman artifacts found here include the head of a statue, coins, tiles and urns.
Medieval: Gigondas was a "Seigneurie" of the Principality of Orange.
Tel : 04 90 65 85 46; Fax: 04 90 65 88 42
July - Opus 99, Theatre de Verdure; chambre music of Gigondas
Sep (1st weekend) - Fete Votive - Village Festival
• GPS: 44.164159, 5.005164
IGN (1/25,000) #3040 ET "Carpantras, Vaison-la-Romaine"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #27 "Ventoux"
Gigondas is at the base of the rugged Dentelles de Montmirail, and clearly-marked hiking trails go from the village up into these beautiful hills.
Department 84, Vaucluse Buses
- See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
• Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
• Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
• Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.