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713km (443 miles) SE of Paris; 35km (22 miles) E of Avignon; 16km (10 miles) NE of Cavaillon; 64km (40 miles) N of the Marseille airport

The majestic sight of Gordes's ancient stone houses rising in tiers above the Imergue Valley is one of the enduring images of Provence. Yet the village's beauty has made it a victim of its own success, with busloads of tourists crowding the cobblestone streets even outside the high season of July and August. Combined with its popularity among the members of Paris's media elite, who have bought second homes here over the years, it's hard to shake off the feeling that this undeniably pretty village has lost its soul somewhere along the way. Expect a higher than usual markup in the local restaurants and shops, as well as long waits to get into the parking lots during the summer.