Sub-prefectures: Alès, Le Vigan
Area: 5,853 km2
Specialties: four remarkable sites of taste, 9 AOC-AOP and 5 IGP: wines of Costières, Uzège, Cévennes and Côtes du Rhône (Laudun, Lirac, Chusclan, Tavel, Listel ...), pélardon, olive and olive oil of Nîmes sweet onion from the Cevennes, strawberry from Nîmes, chicken and capon from the Cevennes, rice and bull from Camargue, black truffle from Uzès, chestnut and honey from the Cevennes. Crafts: Anduze pottery, basketry, stone quarries, gardianne boots.
Sports Clubs: Nîmes Olympique (football), USAM (handball), ASPTT (Table Tennis), RCN (rugby). Support for young talents, objective 2024 Olympics: Lucie Gauthier (table tennis), Enzo Giorgi (handisport fencing), Jean-Marc Pontvianne (athletics), Tom Poyet (Handball) and Lorenzo Serres (MTB).
Major competitions: Etoile de Bessèges (cycling), Critérium des Cévennes (rally), Marathon des Côtes-du-Rhône.
Festivals: Gard hosts many festivals, including Transes Cévenoles (music), Jazz in Junas, Itinerances (cinema), Cratere Surfaces (Street Arts) and Uzès Dance.
Economy: tourism (Romanesque, 1st marina of Europe in Port-Camargue, seaside resorts, hydrotherapy), wine tourism, agriculture, wood industry, competitiveness cluster Areva, Textile Well, Perrier, CEA Marcoule.
Heritage: three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Pont du Gard, Abbatial Church of Saint-Gilles and agro-pastoralism in Causses and Cévennes. Four major sites in France: Pont du Gard (also a UNESCO biosphere reserve), tCirque de Navacelles, Camargue and Gorges du Gardon. Four "Most beautiful villages of France". Three cities of art and history: Beaucaire, Nîmes and Uzès. And also, the ramparts of Aigues-Mortes, the duchy of Uzès, the abbey of Saint Roman, the Charterhouse and Fort Saint-André of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.
Websites and social networks: www.gard.fr / www.tourismegard.com / www.climattitude.gard.fr / fr-fr.facebook.com/legard30/ / @GardTourisme
The Gard has what it takes to please and stand out
From Cévennes to Camargue via Uzès and Pont du Gard, Nîmes and Costières, the Cèze Valley and Côtes du Rhône, vineyards, mountains and caves, forests, garrigue and plains, sea and coastline follow each other at the whim of 9 000 km of hikes. From the Rhone to the Mediterranean, the department takes you on a trip into history with nearly 500 listed monuments altogether. Strongly marked by Romanity, Gard also boasts a very rich medieval heritage linked to its strategic location, especially for trade on the right bank of the Rhone.
And then in Gard you will also find the almost untouched lands of Cevennes, so well preserved that a famous TV show taking celebrities to unknown territories stopped in France only once. In Cevennes! A land of freedom and asylum, it was a safe haven for Protestant martyrs, Resistants to Nazism, beatniks and hippies of the 1960s and 1970s. And it is also today a dynamic territory, ready to tackle the most demanding sporting challenges.
As a whole, the department protects and preserves more than 4,200 hectares of fragile natural areas like the marshes of Camargue while always keeping in mind the necessity to keep them accessible to all.
Lédenon (Pop: 1,530)
Crossed by the Nîmes to Uzès aqueduct, Lédenon retains an interesting heritage, such as the ruins of its castle (12th to 17th century) and a revolutionary solar villa built in 1976 by architect and ecology pioneer Armand Pellier. The village is also known for its racing circuit, created in 1973, and which hosted GT or Superbike French championships. It is the most sinuous of the French circuits and the only one to turn anti-clockwise.
Remoulins (Pop: 2,300)
A place of passage between Languedoc and the Rhone Valley, the ancient fortified village of Remoulins lies at the crossroads of the Gardon valley and the Nîmes to Avignon main road. The city was fortified (ramparts, watchtower) in the 12th century. The terrible wars of religion between Protestants and Catholics in the 16th and 17th centuries left the city in a state of ruins. It is in the 19th century that village live developed around the current main street. A former capital of the cherry, the city saw its orchards ravaged by a flood in 2002. Pont du Gard is partly located on the territory of the commune.
Sights: Remains of the Roman aqueduct, St Martin chapel, Notre-Dame de Bethlehem (12th century and its belfry), 12th century keep and fortified gate, Tower of Escaravat, Chateau Rabasse (17th century), old castle, remains of the suspension bridge, orchards of the Vigière plain.
Vers-Pont-du-Gard (Pop: 1,880)
The village of Vers-Pont-du-Gard has existed since prehistoric times and was inhabited by the Romans. The construction of the current village started with a monastery and some houses around the church. The village has important stone quarries exploited for a long time, which the Romans used to build Pont du Gard and became the main economic activity of the village. Of note in the village, the pretty castle of Saint-Privat, with its medieval appearance, remarkable for its gardens.
Castillon-du-Gard (Pop: 1,660)
A medieval village built on a rocky hill lined with woods, Castillon-du-Gard is admirable for its medieval houses, its windmill and the remains of the fortified Romanesque chapel dedicated to St. Christopher. At the foot of the village, the Romanesque St. Caprais chapel has been turned into a venue for concerts and art exhibitions. Around the charming square planted with ancient olive trees, the hilltop village of Castillon-du-Gard is a maze of refreshing cobblestone streets. The finesse of the Renaissance window sculptures, the gargoyles, the elegance of the arches and the hanging passages, as well as the quality of the restoration of the 13th century facades are remarkable.
Valliguières (Pop: 580)
This charming village of the 12th century offers a shaded square with a fountain of fresh water. The name of Valliguières (Valle Aqua: Valley of the waters) appears for the first time in 896. It was during the Hundred Years' War (1392) that the small community installed on the hill was surrounded by walls. The remains of the ancient fortifications of the village and the Romanesque chapel are an invitation to rest. The economic activity is essentially based on wine.
Sights: the old centre with its wash-house, its fortified lanes, its church), the Grand Font, a 12th century fountain, the fortified castle (outside) and the Romanesque St. Pierre chapel, built on an ancient oppidum (Celtic fortress) the remains of which are still visible.
Gaujac (Pop: 1,110)
Above the village stood an important oppidum (Celtic fortress), the St. Vincent oppidum, occupied since the 5th century BC and later seized by the Romans, who built thermal baths and temples. In the heart of the village, in place of the old medieval castle, the chateau was saved from destruction and turned into a venue for exhibitions, concerts and workshops.
Lussan (Pop: 490)
Perched on a rocky hill, the village of Lussans, labelled a “Village of character” has the charms of a medieval little town surrounded by rampart on a plateau overlooking the plain. It belongs to the “Most Beautiful Villages of France” association. Silk made the wealth of the village in the 19th century and it is still picturesque with its narrow little streets and its robust stone houses recalling its prosperous past. A walk around the rampart offers a magnificent panorama over the Cevennes and Ventoux. Lussan keeps two important sites linked to his prehistoric history – the menhir know as la Pierre Plantée (the Planted Stone) and the gorges of the Concluses testify of the ancient human presence in this preserved environment.
The 15th century Château de Lussan has been on the Historical Monument list since 1985. It houses the town hall. Château de Fan, with its park and its sacred spring, was the home of the Gide family and was also listed in 1972. It is not open to visitors.
Alès (Pop: 40,000)
The history of Ales evolves around two highlights: the Wars of Religion, which led Ling Louis XIII to besiege and submit the city in 1629 (Peace of Alès); and the coal mines, exploited since the 13th century and which made the wealth of the area in the 19th and 20th centuries. The massive industrialisation led the municipality to destroy the old town entirely after WWII, demolishing once and for all its picturesque monuments. Remain from the pre-war period the citadel built by Vauban in 1688 to watch over the vastly Protestant population and the St. John the Baptist cathedral, built in the 18th century. The Ermitage hill provides a grandiose view over the Cevennes. The town hall, built in 1752, is also a listed monument.
Ales retained vestiges of its mining past in the shape of the replica of a pit and a mineralogical museum set in the town’s Mining School.
Among the many home celebrities, former French football captain Laurent Blanc and singer Julien Doré are the most popular.
Ales hosted two Tour de France stages, both won by an italian ride: Nino Defillipis in 1957 and Moreno Argentin in 1991. The sub-prefecture of Gard also received Etoile de Bessèges and Grand Prix du Midi Libre several times. Born in Ales, Jean-Luc Garnier rode the 1984 Tour de France.
Generargues (Pop: 700)
Bamboo plantation of Prafrance
By the gigantism of the plants, by the feeling of well-being emanating from the place, the Bamboo plantation in the Cevennes seems to have been there forever. Yet it was created in 1856 by one man: Eugène Mazel, who left his name to the greenhouses of the plantation. Passionate about horticulture and natural sciences, he began his first plantations on the site in 1856, by acclimatising exotic species from China, Japan, North America and the Himalaya ... Since 1902, the Negre family took the reins and constantly increased the number of species, opened the park to the public and developed the plantations.
Anduze (Pop: 3,500)
By its strategic position, Anduze has been occupied since the highest antiquity. The rock of St. Julien, on which the city was built, keeps on its summit the traces of a Gallic oppidum and a Roman castrum. As the city grew, it moved closer to the banks of the Gardon. In the 16th century, the population reached 7,000 inhabitants. Hence the network of narrow streets lined with high-rise buildings to gain space in the small enclosed surface of the town. Many vestiges survived such as the Clock Tower, begun in 1320, and whose construction lasted fifty years. Its three floors and terrace served as a watchtower against the bandits who scoured the area during the Hundred Years War.
The market hall was built in 1453 for the market of grains and chestnuts held there according to the season. The square is surrounded by fairly large buildings with many sandstone porches that were the residences of the bourgeoisie and nobility. On the square can be sen the Pagoda fountain. Dated to 1649, it was offered to the city by two of its consuls: Lafarele and Latour. The latter, who traded with the East, had been seduced by oriental architecture.
The temple of the Reformed Church was built between 1820 and 1823 on the site of the barracks yard. Its façade has a peristyle of four Ionic-style columns supporting a classical pediment. Two stones from the Old Temple of 1600 were sealed in one of the interior walls. The temple has been listed as a historical monument since June 18, 1979 and remains one of the largest in France.
Arpaillargues-et-Aureillac (Pop: 1,000)
At the edge of the village, the castle of Arpaillargues is a beautiful house of the 18th century, now the Hotel d'Agoult. Protected by thick walls, the Château d'Arpaillargues hides the charm and sweetness of a seigniorial dwelling in Provence (17th and 18th centuries). A historic castle, Arpaillargues has always been linked to the itterature. There lived Marie de Flavigny, Countess of Agoult, the muse of Franz Listz, whose daughter Cosima, the fruit of their love, was the second wife of Richard Wagner. Today, restored and rejuvenated, Arpaillargues Castle is not only a place of memory, but an elegant and discreet residence in the heart of the Uzège countryside.
Uzès (Pop: 8,400)
Located in the Ales-Nîmes-Avignon triangle, Uzès is the capital of a country, Uzège, where garrigue, vineyards and fields alternate. Its preserved beauty, the quality of its architecture and the many cultural events it hosts throughout the year have made it a lively and bustling city despite its modest size. The starting point of a Roman aqueduct to Nimes, Uzes was the seat of a bishopric until the Revolution. The dukes of Uzès were among the moist powerful Dukes in the kingdom of France. Marked by the Wars of religion, it has almost not been affected by the industrial revolution. It preserves a prestigious heritage, which earned it the label of City of art and history in 2008.
Le Duché (The Duchy)
The ducal chateau, known as Le Duché, has belonged to the House of Uzes and Crussol for almost a thousand years. Located in the heart of the city, it dates back to the 11th century. It is a vast fortified quadrilateral building topped by three towers. Visits of the lounges and rooms with their ancient furniture are organised daily. This historical monument is still a private place in which the ducal family still lives.
Attached to the St. Theodrit cathedral of Uzes, the Fenestrell tower is a 42-metres high campanile of Lombard style. It is remarkable by its harmonious proportions and the finesse of its décor. Demolished several times, the cathedral was rebuilt in the 17th century and its Neo-Romanesque façade dates from 1873.
Sainte-Anastasie (Pop: 1,670)
Famous for the St. Nicolas bridge, built between 1245 and 1260 over the Gardon and linking Nimes to Uzes. Renovated during the Second Empire, it was damaged by floods in 2002.
Gorges of Gardon
A major geological and historical site in the South of France, the massif of the Gardon Gorges is part of the Grand Sites of France network. A label that Pont du Gard also obtained in 2004. The House of the Gorges du Gardon is in St. Anastasie.
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