When you stand at the precipice of the precariously perched Gordes in Provence and look into the valley below, you'll see a road leading away towards Apt. See it? That road is thousands of years old, built by the Romans. So in case the town itself doesn't knock your socks off – and if it doesn't, check your pulse – then the sight of that road should make you realize just how much history there is in this area of France.
And the history of Gordes doesn't stop with the Romans; from fortifications against Arabs in the first millennium to the 12th century Sénanque Abbey surrounded by lavender to its eventual addition as a French royal provence in the Middle Ages and a Resistance stronghold during WWII, this is not your run-of-the-mill charming village.
Today Gordes is one of those “hidden gem” towns, often overlooked for the more popular Avignon nearby. But between Peter Mayle's mention of it in his books as well as being a popular location for films, it's coming into its own and welcomes visitors with open arms. Helping with its hospitality is the fact that it holds the official classification of being one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France; its residents are justly proud of the title, and much care has been taken to accommodate visitors without destroying what makes it so special.
With so much to see and do in the area, it's an easy visit up to Gordes (as long as you aren't squeamish on winding roads). It shouldn't take you any longer than 45 minutes to get there from Avignon; then you can head back down to Cavaillon to taste the famous local melon that bears its name!