In a time long ago, during funerals the procession would follow a small and very irregular dirt path winding up a steep cliff to Gourdon, the only place in the surrounding area with a church.
Today, for everyone's ease and comfort, a tarmac road leads to the foot of the village where parking lots can be found!
Nicknamed the “Eagle's Nest”, the village is perched at 760 metres on a dizzyingly high, rocky outcrop. Overlooking the Valley of the Loup, the panoramic views stretch over the entire Riviera, from Nice on the left to Théoule on the right.
Today peaceful, the village often served as a fortress since the 8th century thanks to its exceptional natural defences. The old fortress was a cave-like building set on the peak above Gourdon.
The village itself nestles behinds the imposing château surrounded by gardens designed by Le Notre.
The Château was built over several stages. The fortress already existed in the 9th century. On its foundations, the Counts of Toulouse, lords of Gourdon, built the château and its fortifications in the 12th century, conferring on the village its role as sentinel up to the second world war.
The arches and upper floor of the château were built in the 17th century.
Queen Victoria stayed in the château on April 19, 1891; a village square bears her name.
In 1918, an American, Miss Norris, bought the château and restored it to its original state.
The commune has a population of only 416 inhabitants. The village is mostly animated by its craftspeople and their workshops, its colourful shops and its restaurants. The remarkably well-restored old stone houses have kept all the charm of the past. It's a pleasure to wander about, past a chapel or onto a small square with views as far as the eye can see.
Also to see:
Office de Tourisme intercommunal - 24 Rue du Majou - 46300 Gourdon
+33 (0)5 65 27 52 50http://www.tourisme-gourdon.com/