Provençal’s tough past has long provided the setting for the well-heeled and tasteful. Hill-topping villages. Castles. Ramparts. Rip out the ruffians and they’re ripe for luxury. Thus, the Bastide de Gordes, clamped to the cliff-side of France’s most fashionable perched village. Here, among tight streets and steep stairways, be French media stars, the more discreet billionaires, and visitors for whom Provence needs cushioning into a five-star experience. The Bastide is their place. Last year’s £18-million re-fit transformed a fine hotel into a world beater. It’s old façades unfold down the drop, where once the ramparts were, in a series of stone terraces bearing grey-green Med vegetation, two swimming pools and sunlit hideaways. Views to the Luberon hills mesmerise. Within, 40 rooms and suites recall the sumptuous side of the 18th-century. Corridors and stairs, rich with treasures, rarely arrive at the same place twice. Manorial salons impose elegance. Young staff, dressed as if for a fête c.1912, have the bounce and smiles of a US musical comedy. And down below there is the Sisley spa. Posh eating is in the hands of Michelin-man Pierre Gagnaire; there’s a cheaper brasserie along the same terrace. As you finish the rosé, replete, Provence is at your feet. It’s been there a long time. It will wait.