Heathrow and Gatwick: Beautiful French village 4 hours from London consistently named among the best for a romantic getaway
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching and England’s gloomy weather set to last for some time, many Londoners are feeling in the mood for a couples getaway in February. Home to the city of love, France is a top pick for anyone looking for a romantic getaway – but Paris isn’t the only romantic place you can easily travel to from London.
Perched on the heights of the Monts de Vaucluse, Gordes is an absurdly beautiful medieval village, perfect for a long weekend or a short stay with an added touch of romance. Not only is Gordes only three and a half hours away via London Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and easily accessible by train – with some February airfares currently as low as £19.99 on EasyJet – it is also centrally located in the magnificent Luberon region.
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Stretching over 600 square kilometers in the south of France, the Luberon is best known for its beautiful ocher landscapes, vibrant lavender fields and traditional French towns and villages that seem lost in time. Unsurprisingly, the magical region has been repeatedly named among the best European spots for a romantic weekend.
Gordes, on the other hand, is considered one of the Luberon’s main destinations to discover thanks to its privileged location on a hill, which offers breathtaking views of the rest of the valley. The pretty village is also often bathed in golden light, making it perfect for a romantic stroll, a sunset drink or lunch and dinner with a view.
You won’t need to sacrifice on the quality of the food either, as Gordes is full of excellent restaurants offering a mix of gastronomy and local cuisine. A particularly well rated spot is The Outsider. Number one restaurant in Gordes on Tripadvisor and winner of its Best of the Best award in 2021, this family restaurant is hidden from the main tourist sites and has five stars in total.
It has everything from a secluded outdoor terrace and friendly service to great food prepared with local ingredients and expertly crafted cocktails. Otherwise, if you’re looking for fine French cuisine, there are plenty of places to choose from, including Le Carillon and Auberge De La Bartavelle.
Both listed in the Michelin guide, they are located a stone’s throw from Goult, either 13 minutes by car or around 1h45 on foot. For those who prefer their meals overlooking the rolling countryside, Restaurant David in the nearby village of Roussillon is also a dream come true.
As for places to stay, Gordes is full of romantic boutique hotels and private accommodation options perfect for couples. For a classic Provençal experience, stay at Jas de Gordes, located in the heart of the Luberon Regional Park, just a five-minute drive from Gordes.
Here you will find acres of wooded parkland with lavender, thyme, rosemary and other fragrant plants. The rooms are bright, fresh and airy with lovely provincial white furniture, small flowers and stunning views.
There is also a heated swimming pool and a large open breakfast room and terrace where you can enjoy evening cocktails. You can also find more charming and secluded properties on Airbnbincluding an incredible 17th century stone pool house which seems straight out of a fairy tale.
In terms of activities, Gordes has something to satisfy all types of travellers. Those who prefer a more relaxed weekend will love wandering the maze of narrow cobbled streets in the village or visiting local historic sites such as Le Château de Gordes.
This sublime stone structure dates from at least the 11th century and features incredible interiors. You will also find a lively village market erected at the foot of the castle every Tuesday.
Expect fabrics, linens, soaps and lavender, as well as enough breads, olive oil, honey, cold cuts, cheese and wine to organize a picnic. Another must-see is the Abbaye Notre Dame de Sénanque, a historic monastery where monks still live to this day.
In summer, the combination of Cistercian Romanesque architecture and fields of vivid purple lavender make for a particularly stunning sight.
More active visitors to Gordes can also enjoy walking or cycling from the village to other Luberon hotspots such as Fontaine de Vaucluse, a pretty pastel-coloured town on the water. The walk between the two takes five hours from Gordes but is worth it for the quiet paths and scenic end point.
Popular cycle routes, meanwhile, include a 4.5-hour ride from Gordes to Bedoin through the Provençal countryside and vineyards, and the Gordes Loop Ride. The latter takes you through many of the classic landscapes of the Luberon valley, as well as two picturesque villages.
How to get there
One of the advantages of a weekend in Gordes is the ease of access. You can find regular flights to nearby Marseille Airport from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted – and most only take around an hour and 55 minutes.
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Those looking for a last-minute romantic weekend can take advantage of EasyJet’s tickets to Marseille in February and March, which are currently from £19.99 at present. It will then take you about an hour and a half to reach the village of Gordes itself by taxi or rental car.
If you don’t mind a slightly longer journey, you can take the train from London St Pancras to Lille (one hour 22 minutes), then change to a TGV to Avignon (four hours). Book your tickets on Trainline here. From Avignon, it takes about 45 to 50 minutes to drive to Gordes, giving a total time of around six hours.