Gigondas Patrimony


Main monuments and places of interest


The Feudal Castle
Originally belonged to the Princes of Orange and was probably used as a « second home ». Later in 1678, the Hospices were added to the castle. After the French revolution, the castle building became a girls' school up until the beginning of the 20th century when it was finally abandonned and fell rapidly into ruins. From 1983 to 1994, the Association « Gigondas Yesterday and Today » was responsible for its restauration in collaboration with the Association « Remparts ».

Today the site is used as a cultural spot, to host the « Cheminement des sculptures » (permanent sculpture exposition) and the Soirées Lyriques (Lyrical Evenings).

The Parish Church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Built on the same ground as the primitif feudal castle ; the church dates from the beginning of the 17th century. Its belfry, clock and sun dial date from the same period. A hollow on the front face shelters a statue of the Virgin Mary.The roof is formed in the very typical pyramidal form, it covers a central nief from which the vaults have the same formation.

The Chapel of Saints Damien and Côme
Located on the road leading towards the Dentelles de Montmirail, it offers an exceptional panaoramic view of the village and its historic buildings. The chapel dates from the 12th century, having replaced an older building dating from the 7th century. It was never actual completed, and the marks made by the stonemasons can still be seen in the angle of the nief now in ruins. The transept and its cradel shaped vault were renovated in the 19th century. Later in 1973, the stained glass windows depicting the lives of the Saints Côme and Damien were inserted in the absidioles.

The Sarrazin Tower
Located in the Dentelles de Montmirail Massif and dating from the 12th century, the tower was originally a look out post for incoming enemies. It is still visible today despite usury with time.

 The Monastry of Prébayon
Implanted on the commune of Gigondas up until the French Revolution, it then became the property of the neighbouring commune of Séguret. The Trignon Valley marked new administrative limits between the two communes. This Abbey was built in the 7th century. After the torrential rains of 962, the convent was partially destroyed and the nuns were obliged to take refuge at the Domaine of St. André de Ramières.

Domaine Saint André des Ramières
In the middle of the 12th century, the nuns founded the first ever Cartusian Convent. This was closed in February 1734, on the order of Louis XV, and ratified by a report from Pope Clement XII in December 1735.
This magnificent domaine then became a secondary residence to the Bishops of Orange, before being finally sold to the State during the French Revolution. Today the Domaine de St. André des Ramières is a vineyard.

Thermal Station « Le Montmirail »
Its peak was during the middle of the 19th century up until the Second World War. Celebrities such as Stendhal, Sarah Bernardt and Frédéric Mistral were guests. The waters were recognised for their virtues in the treatment of skin complaints. A special « purgative » water containing magnesia sulphate was commercialised at this time. The natural springs finally dried up, which put an end the thermal activity.

The Menhir
Situated on the GR of the region , not far from the former Montmirail thermal station ; this stone monument was classed in 1912 as a « natural artistic monument ».
Copyright ©
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Culture in Gigondas


Several associations have developped and promote culture in our commune  :


The Gigondas Cultural Association


   The association is implicated in the organisation of the Lyrical Evenings in Gigondas as well as managing the local library.

* Les Soirées Lyriques (Lyrical Evenings) :   petit fute

   The magnificent outdoor theatre, located in the Hospices sets the venue for this music festival. The theatre is set in the medieval remparts. The festival has been held annually since 1994 during the first two weeks of August.
Tel: 04 90 35 52 74

* The village library :
7, rue Raymond V des Baux
  Located in the Gardette Quarter, behind the Post Office, it is open to the public :
Wednesdays 11 am - 1 pm
Friday 11 am - 1 pm
(Closed during the school holidays).
Certain books are available in French, English, German and Dutch and are renewed regularly with the help of the Departmental Library and the mobile library.

Tel: 04 90 35 52 74

Espace culturel

Since its inauguration in 2011, this beautiful cultural space 2 Place des Vignerons in the heart of the village of Gigondas, hosts exhibitions throughout the year.
From May to October, it is dedicated to all forms of art, both classic and contemporary.
From November to April, it is especially devoted to heritage exhibitions.

cultural program (website of the Municipality of Gigondas)

espace culturel
The Tourist Office

Guided Tours :

   The tourist office organises guided tours all year round. They are usually centered around the history and the urbanism of the village from the prehistoric period to present day. The tour takes you through the picturesque streets towards the ancient hospices from where there is a panoramic view of the Rhône Valley.

   These visits are proposed by a trained tour guide (Agreed by the Ministry of Culture). Tours are possible in French, English, German, and Dutch.

For groups (paying visits) :
By appointment in the above listed languages.
For all conditions and prices, please contact us :
Tel : 04 90 65 85 46 or .


Some history…


Since the Prehistoric Age
Human occupation is attested from the middle of the neolithic period. It's the Romans that actually give the village its name having introduced the cultivation of vines and olive trees.
« Jucunditas » or « Jucundus » « Joy and happiness », is a Latin term which has become « Gigondas » over the ages.
Several remains of Roman agricultural implantations (villae) as well as burial grounds can be found in the area of Grames.
After the invasion of the Saracens in the 8th Century, the inhabitants of the area decided to group together in a community and build a ‘strong' village, on the hills and surrounded by remparts to be better protected from any invaders.
What better place, than a village with its back to the « Dentelles de Montmirail » ! Such a location meant that in the event of any imminent danger the villagers could quickly flee and hide in the nearby woods and craggy rocks of the Massif. Thus the perched village of Gigondas was born and a county was created

The Principality of Orange (1150 – 1731)

According to the legend, which seems to have become part of history today, Charlemagne hunted down the Saracens, helped by his cousin Guillaume au Court Nez (William Short Nose) which later became transformed over time to Guillaume « Court Nez » and then Cornet. It's the Cornet symbol which we still find today on the Communal Coat of Arms which once belonged to the Principality of Orange.
Without contest, it's the Nassau family who during the 16th Century inherited this Principality. The present Dutch Royal family still carry their name (Oranje Nassau).
By order of Louis XV in 1731, the Principality became officially an annex of the Kingdom of France .
From this prestigious past, the imposing reparts of Gigondas still remain and surround the village of Gigondas . The remparts were built during the Middle Ages by order of the the Orange Princes, to protect from any attacks coming from either the Comtat Venaissin (territory belonging to the Pope) or from the Dauphiné (region near Grenoble ).

Famous Gigondas personalities from more recent times :
Two « Gigondassiens » went on to become well known missionnaries  :

Monseigneur Faraud (Bishop Faraud) :
Born in 1823, he was part of the Religious Order « Oblats de Marie Immaculée ». He died in 1890 having spent most of his life in Northern Canada .

Le Père Signoret (Father Signoret) :
He dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel and helping lepers in the Chinese Province of Yun- Nan . He was murdered in 1950 by a group of bandits.

Eugène Raspail :
He was born in Gigondas in 1812. He had a brief political carreer (Deputy from 1848-1849) like his famous uncle Jean-François Raspail. However his politics and conflicting opinions with the Government in power led to a prison sentence and then exile in Italy for several years.
On his return to France , he edited a book on his geological and palentological studies of the Saurien fossil Nestosaurus Gigondarum (a 3 meter long reptile fossil discovered in the Massif de Dentelles de Montmirail) as well as geological notes concerning the Gigondas mountains. He inherited from his father the domaine « Le Colombier », which was transformed a few years later into the « Château Raspail » inspired by the Italian styles which he had discovered during his years of exile. He died in Gigondas in 1888.