Departments: Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Gard, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Hérault, Lot, Lozère, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientales, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne.

Population: 5.9 million

Prefecture: Toulouse

Surface area: 72,724 km2

Specialities: foie gras, cassoulet, aligot, tielle of Sète, cod brandade, Tarbes beans, garbure, sweet onions, Céret cherries, wines (Pic Saint-Loup, Corbières, Cahors, Costières de Nîmes, blanquette de Limoux, Minervois, Tavel, Madiran). Perrier spring water.

Sports clubs: Stade Toulousain, Castres Olympique, Montpellier HR, USAP Perpignan (rugby union), Montpellier HSC, Nîmes Olympique, Toulouse FC (football), Dragons Catalans (rugby league), Montpellier Handball, Fenix Toulouse, USAM Nîmes-Gard (handball).

Competitions: Tour de France, Open Sud de France (tennis), Route d'Occitanie (cycling).

Economy: aerospace (Airbus, Ariane, Toulouse), defence, IT, nuclear, agri-food, agriculture (wine, cereals), tourism, pharmaceuticals. Universities (Montpellier, Toulouse).  

Festivals: férias in Nîmes and Béziers, Rio Loco (Toulouse), Radio France Festival in Montpellier (classical), Comédie du Livre book fair (Montpellier), Electro Beach (Port Barcarès), Jazz in Marciac, Cinémed (Montpellier), Circa Auch, Noir Novel Festival in Frontignan.

Sights: Cité of Carcassonne, Lourdes Basilica, Toulouse (Capitole, Saint-Sernin, etc.), Montpellier (Place de la Comédie, Écusson), Pont du Gard, Nîmes Arena, Cathar castles, Canal du Midi, cathedrals of Albi, Castres and Rodez. Millau Viaduct, Niaux and Maz d'Azil caves. Valentré Bridge in Cahors. Character villages. Beaches in Aude, Gard and Hérault. Ski resorts in the Pyrenees and Ariège.

Website: www.laregionoccitanie.fr


AUDE (11)

Region: Occitanie

Population: 376,028

Prefecture : Carcassonne

Sub-prefectures: Narbonne, Limoux

Number of communes: 436

Surface area: 6,139 km2

Specialities : cassoulet from Castelnaudary, bourride of eels, lucques (green olives), limos (brioche), fricassee from Limoux, oysters from Leucate (shellfish), truffles, rice and apples from Marseillette, écu du Pays Cathare (goat's cheese), nougat de Limoux (confectionery), Aude wines (7 AOP), blanquette de Limoux (wine), micheline (liqueur), cartagène (liqueur), marble from Caunes-Minervois, boudegue (Occitan bagpipes)

Sports clubs: rugby union RCNM Narbonne and USC (Carcassonne), rugby league (Lézignan-Corbières, Limoux, Carcassonne), volleyball (Narbonne, Gruissan), women's handball (Narbonne).

Competitions: Mondial du vent (Leucate), Défi Wind & Défi Kite (Gruissan), Junior Kitesurf World Cup (Saint-Pierre-la-mer), Grand Raid des Cathares, Cross de la Cité (Carcassonne), l'Audoise gran fondo (Villeneuve Minervois), VTT Cap Nore / Déval' Nore (Aragon), Critérium de Quillan (Cycling)

Culture & heritage: Citadelles du vertige (Vertigo Citadels = Cathar castles), Canal du Midi, Lagrasse and Fontfroide Abbeys, Limoux Carnival, Montolieu book village, Scènes d'enfance (whole department), Artistes à suivre, Fête du Cassoulet, Limoux brass Festival, Jazz in Conilhac, Summer Festival (Lézignan-Corbières), Barques en Scènes  Festival (Narbonne), Festival de la Cité (Carcassonne), Temps de cirque (whole department), Sortie de case (whole department).

Economy: winegrowing, fishing, agriculture, livestock farming, maritime trade, seaside tourism, mid-mountain tourism, spa tourism, cultural tourism, wine tourism and truffle tourism

Websites and social networks: www.aude.fr / www.audetourisme.comwww.payscathare.comwww.payscathare.org / citadellesduvertige.aude.fr www.facebook.com/departementdelaudewww.instagram.com/citadellesduvertige / www.aude.fr  

Km 7.2

FLEURY (POP: 3,900)

Also known as Fleury d'Aude, this seaside commune covers more than 5,000 hectares and comprises three entities: the winegrowing village of Fleury, the seaside resort of Saint Pierre la Mer, frequented by Toulouse-Lautrec, and the fishing and yachting port of Les Cabanes de Fleury. The commune offers a wide variety of landscapes: 3,000 hectares of garrigue, 6 kilometres of sandy beaches and the River Aude, which crosses the area for 9 km before flowing into the Mediterranean, 1,000 hectares of vineyards, 1,000 hectares of marshes, ponds and wetlands. The open-air market in Saint Pierre la Mer is the largest in the region and is open every day from May to September. The town's architectural heritage includes three buildings listed as historical monuments: the Fount de Rome, listed in 1970, the Tour de Balayard, listed in 1981, and the Chapelle des Pénitents, listed in 1982.  

Fount of Rome

Construction: 2nd century.

Style: Early Roman.

History and features: the villa was discovered in 1904 and excavated between 1966 and 1968, when its walls were found to be full of shells. It consists of six rooms to the east, with well-preserved walls up to 60cm thick, and four others with walls that are wide open to the west.

Listed as: historical monument since 1970.


Population: 1.165 million.

Prefecture: Montpellier

Sub-prefectures: Beziers, Lodeve

Surface area: 6101 km²

Specialities: AOP Languedoc and IGP Pays d'Hérault wines, Pélardon (goat's cheese), la Lucque (olive), Tielle de Sète (small pie filled with octopus), Ecusson de Montpellier (chocolate), Grisette de Montpellier, Berlingot de Pézenas (sweets), Montpellier butter, Muscats and sweet wines (Mireval, Frontignan, Lunel, St Jean du Minervois), Cebe de Lézignan (sweet onion), Pardailhan Turnip, Small Pâté of Pézenas, Zezette de Sète (shortbread), Bouzigues oyster.

Sports clubs: Montpellier Hérault Sport Club (football), Montpellier Hérault Rugby, Basket Lattes Montpellier, AS Béziers Hérault (rugby union), Montpellier Métropole HB, Montpellier Volley UC, Arago de Sète, Béziers VB (volleyball), Montpellier WP (water polo), Entente Sétoise de Natation, Montpellier Athlétisme Méditerranée, Montpellier Gymnastique Rythmique, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole Taekwondo. Tambourine (Hérault sport).

Competitions: European Club Cups in Basket Fem, HB, FB Fem, Rugby, Volley, French Elite Championships in GRS, Ultra Trail 6666 in Roquebrun, L'Héraultaise (Roger Pingeon gran fondo),

Festivals: Printemps des Comédiens, Saperlipopette, Folies d'O, Nuits d'O, Sortie Ouest, Chapiteau du livre, Lire à la mer, Tournée d'été Hérault port, Festival Radio France LR Montpellier-Pyrénées, Internationales de la Guitare...

Economy: Agronomic and medical research, spa treatments, tourism, agriculture and high environmental value, viticulture / wine tourism, etc.

Places of interest: Montpellier (Place de la Comédie, l'Écusson, Musée Fabre), the beaches of Palavas and Carnon, the Cathar city of Minerve, the Hérault gorge, the Navacelles cirque, towns of art and history (Lodève and Pézenas, Saint-Guilhem le Désert, Olargues), thermal baths (Balaruc, Lamalou-les-Bains, etc.). 

Websites / FB / Twitter: www.herault.fr www.herault-tourisme.com / facebook.com/departementdelherault facebook.com/plaisirsdherault

Km 13.3


Lespignan has been inhabited for over 4,000 years and began to develop in Gallo-Roman times with the creation of numerous villae. Initially known for its quarries, the town became famous for its wine production in the 19th century. During this period, the town's mansions were built, and can still be seen today. The Gothic church of Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens (13th and 14th centuries) houses a statue of the Virgin Mary, Notre-Dame du Caylar, which is listed as a Historical Monument. Outside the village, the first church of Saint-Pierre, now known as the chapel of the cemetery, dates from the 9th century. In the village, you can also see the remains of the old feudal castle in the form of two towers overlooking the surrounding houses. Listed as a Historical Monument in 1971, the Gallo-Roman villa of Vivios is also well worth a visit.

Km 21

BÉZIERS (POP: 80,340)

A rugby union stronghold, whose club outclassed the French championship in the 1970s (eleven titles between 1961 and 1984), Béziers has only hosted the Tour de France six times between 1938 and 2006 (for one start). The last winner of a stage in town was David Millar, who outsprinted a strong breakaway group including Michael Boogerd and Laurent Brochard in 2002. It was the second of four stage victories for the Scot, the first holder of the Yellow Jersey in the 21st century after winning the prologue of the 2000 edition. The birthplace of Pierre-Paul Riquet, founder of the Canal du Midi, and of Jean Moulin, Béziers combines its architecture with the beauty of the Orb, whose waters are overlooked by a majestic monument, the cathedral of Saint-Nazaire, a Gothic fortress built in the 13th century. It represented the strength of Catholicism against the Cathar heresy. Other treasures lurk in its narrow streets, including the statue of Pépézuc, a mythical figure who is said to have saved the town during the Hundred Years' War, and the ancient Roman amphitheatre, which is still inhabited.  No visit to Béziers would be complete without a visit to the Allées Paul-Riquet, a pleasant promenade lined with plane trees and cafés. The Halles covered market is also well worth a visit. Among the many famous people born in Béziers are tennis player Richard Gasquet and former French Prime Minister Edgar Faure. Among the town's cyclists are Victor Koretkzy (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Adrien Plautin, who competed in three Tours de France as an independent between 1928 and 1930.  

Cathedral of Saint-Nazaire and Saint-Celse

Construction: 13th to 15th centuries.

Style: Gothic

History: a Romanesque church and an ancient cemetery once stood on the site of the present-day cathedral. It was built on the site of an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Augustus and his wife Livia. A document mentions the existence of a building as early as the 8th century. During the sack of Béziers on 22 July 1209, a fire destroyed the entire building. Work to rebuild the cathedral began in the mid-13th century.

Characteristics: the cathedral is dominated by a square tower 48-m high, topped by a turret housing an iron campanile with a bell dating from the late 18th century. The upper part (from the 15th century) is decorated with columns whose bases represent a human face. The bell tower houses a 4-tonne drone. The façade is topped by two towers and a set of battlements. A round tower is set back, acting as a watchtower. The façade is adorned with a rose window measuring 10 m in diameter. The sculptures on the façade have almost all been destroyed. Only two statues remain, representing the synagogue and the Church of Christ. On the north façade of the transept is the entrance door (17th century), surmounted by a wooden lintel depicting the martyrdom of Saints Nazarius and Celsus.

Listed as: historical monument since 1840.  

Henry IV High School Founded: 1598

Construction: the current buildings date from 1904.

History: in September 1594, a letter of patent from King Henry IV (preserved in the municipal archives) allowed the creation of a large Royal College in Béziers. This establishment can be considered one of the oldest colleges (later lycées) in the country. Quickly snapped up by members of the local bourgeoisie, this renowned college played a dual role in the 17th century: educating the sons of the elite and providing a seminary. In the heart of the old town of Béziers, the current Haussmann-style ashlar buildings date from 1904. The former Collège Royal, which was becoming increasingly cramped within its original walls, was demolished and rebuilt along the lines of the large Parisian lycées.

Special feature: a monument, representing a Lorraine cross, dedicated to Jean Moulin, a former pupil of the school, was inaugurated on 6 October 1946 in the courtyard of the lycée.  

Km 36.2


Church of Notre-Dame-des-Pins

Construction: 12th century.

Style: Languedoc Romanesque.

History: it was built on the site of the Roman villa Ad Pinis, from which it takes its name. The central nave was built around 1120, while the two aisles and their apsidioles were rebuilt a second time. During the Hundred Years' War, the church was fortified with a defensive parapet. In 1852, the bell tower was razed to the ground, the bell chamber was replaced by a bell tower and an oculus was added to the west facade. In 1971, a campaign of works destroyed the bell tower. The church was closed in 2007 for safety reasons but reopened in 2017.

Listed as: historical monument since 1840, then declassified and reclassified in 1907.  

Km 50.3

PÉZENAS (POP: 8,250)

Pézenas, a Grand Site of Occitanie, boasts an historic centre listed as a "protected sector", which has retained the charm of its private mansions, with staircases opening onto courtyards, and its cobbled streets. The governors of Languedoc made it their capital. From this prestigious past, Pézenas has preserved a fine collection of buildings constructed between the 15th and 18th centuries, earning it the nickname of the "Little Versailles of Languedoc", with no fewer than forty listed buildings. Many illustrious figures have marked its history, including Jean-François Venel, inventor of seltzer, Paul Vidal de la Blache, inventor of human geography, and Bobby Lapointe, an atypical singer and actor born in Pézenas. Molière arrived in Pézenas with his troupe L'Illustre Théâtre in 1650. Between 1646 and 1658, he toured the south of France for twelve years before returning to Paris to achieve fame. To pay tribute to Molière, the town of Pézenas is hosting a unique venue, Scenovision Molière, a five-screen 3D theatre tour. It takes visitors on an original journey through the exciting life of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known as Molière, in specially created sets. Over the centuries, Pézenas has preserved its carnival tradition, which revolves around its totemic animal, the Foal. Popular tradition dates it back to 1226, when King Louis VIII visited the town. The wooden and canvas animal is accompanied by a procession of fifes and drums, and the people dance around the foal in a farandole. In Pézenas, the carnival retains all its original significance and rituals: the dance of the bellows, "le feu aux fesses" (fire to the arse) and the "Machous" show. The Foal has been listed a World Heritage by UNESCO.  

Protected area of Pézenas Created on 21 June 1965, the Pézenas protected area was the 14th in France after the Marais district in Paris and the 2nd in the Occitanie region after Uzès. In 1965, 25 buildings or parts of buildings had already been listed as historic monuments within the perimeter that became the protected area: the Consular House, the Vedel fountain, the Collegiate Church of Saint Jean, private mansions and wealthy residences. The restoration of private mansions did not really take off until 1987, when 38 buildings containing 212 homes were renovated under the Malraux law. Today, around fifty craftspeople and numerous artists are based here all year round. The Maison des Métiers d'Art (House of Art Trades), which now serves as a showcase for the Espaces Ateliers d'Art de France (Art Workshops of France) in the heart of the conservation area, offers exceptional exhibitions and sales throughout the year, and showcases the skills of the region's creative craftspeople under its vaulted roof.

Km 56.6


The existence of Montagnac is attested as early as 938 and in the Middle Ages, the town was equipped with ramparts, a moat and a fortified church. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the town was divided between the bishops of Agde and the consuls. A royal privilege authorised the holding of a market on Wednesdays, which is still held today. The fairs enriched and embellished the town, which welcomed many foreign traders. In the mid-16th century, Montagnac became a Protestant stronghold, bitterly fought by the Catholic priest Léonard Delsol. The Protestants went into exile after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Vines replaced other crops in the early 19th century, until the crisis of 1907.

Km 78

GIGNAC (POP: 6,350)

Commune in the middle valley of the Hérault. Every year on Ascension Day, the town celebrates the Gignac donkey, the town's totemic animal. The 13th-century Tour Sarrazine (Saracen Tower), the only vestige of the local castrum, was reused as a water tower in the 19th century. In 2019, Gignac was the starting point for a stage of the Route d'Occitanie won in Saint-Geniez by Alejandro Valverde. Every year, a gran fondo, L’Héraultaise, pays tribute to Roger Pingeon, the winner of the 1967 Tour de France, and sets off from Gignac. Gignac is also the capital of tambourine ball, a national sport in Hérault.  

Church of Notre-Dame de GrâceBuilt: 1648

History: on an ancient site believed to date back to the Roman goddess Vesta (goddess of the hearth). The current building dates from the 17th century. Its Florentine-style façade was completed in 1648 by order of Louis XIII.

Special feature: a shrine to miracles, the first cure is recorded on 8 September 1360.

Listed as: Historical Monument in 1989

Km 81.5

ANIANE (POP: 2,920)

A historic town with an abbey, at the foot of the Cévennes and at the end of the Hérault gorges.

Aniane Abbey and Saint-Sauveur Abbey Church

Founded: 8th century by Saint Benoît d'Aniane

History: devastated and ruined in 1562 after the Wars of Religion, it was restored as a penitentiary in the 19th century and was used as an educational centre until 1998. Archaeological digs carried out in 2011 by the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) uncovered Carolingian (750-900) and medieval features.

Special feature: the 2,000 m² courtyard of honour, bordered by a former chapel, was used as a theatre between 1990 and 2000.

Current use: the abbey church of Saint-Sauveur is still dedicated to Catholic worship.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 2004.  

4 km away:  

Devil's bridge

Construction: 1030 by the Gellone monks of Aniane.

Style: medieval bridge, one of the oldest in France.

Characteristics: made up of arches spanning the Hérault over a length of 65 m, at a height of 18 m.

Listed as: Historical Monument in 1935 / listed as a World Heritage Site in 1998 as part of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela  

Km 88


Saint-Sylvestre des Brousses church

Construction: 12th century.

Style: Romanesque.

History: it was occupied for almost 600 years by the Benedictines, who finally left in 1658. Confiscated as national property during the French Revolution, it has been owned by the commune of Puéchabon since 1812.

Characteristics: Romanesque church mentioned in the cartulary of Aniane Abbey in the early years of the 12th century. The nave was covered by a visible roof frame consisting of two purlins and a ridge beam, supported by double arches with spaced rafters. The small Romanesque bell tower has disappeared. Inside, against the west wall of the nave, there are five rows of steps, and two to the north. The apse retains a remnant of geometric painted decoration.

Listed as: historical monument since 1918.

Km 96.8


Viols-le-Fort retains part of its ramparts and a gateway in the form of a 15th-century fortified tower, the Fanabregol tower, which was listed as a Historical Monument in 2023.

Km 96.8


Viols-le-Fort retains part of its ramparts and a gateway in the form of a 15th-century fortified tower, the Fanabregol tower, which was listed as a Historical Monument in 2023.

Km 102.7


This medieval village, typical of the region, takes visitors back several centuries. In the heart of the walled town, you can stroll through the narrow streets lined with houses with flower-filled balconies or under the picturesque arcades. The Romanesque church, founded by the monks of the Abbey of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, is the jewel in the crown. Linked to the priory, the Byzantine-influenced building is an architectural gem that combines sobriety and harmony. On Place de la Fontaine, you'll find the Horloge tower, a vestige of an ancient rampart built during the Hundred Years' War, which was used as a prison during the Revolution.  

St Martin chruch

Construction: 12th century.

Style: Romanesque.

History: the church made history on 1 May 1088 when Adhémar-Guilhem de Montarnaud, the local lord, bequeathed the church of Saint-Martin-de-Londres and its outbuildings to the abbey of Gellone. It was originally built on a central plan with a cupola. On the outside, on its slate roof, a lantern has been built to house a small bell. Another one-bay bell tower was added in the 18th century, and the bell, made by Jean Poutingon, a master foundryman from Montpellier, is also a listed historical monument. The church underwent major alterations in the 19th century (destruction of the bell tower, addition of a chapel to the north and extension of the nave by one bay to the west) and was restored in 1932.

Characteristics: the building has a rare arrangement of rounded transepts. At the crossing rises a cupola on pendentives, accentuated on the outside and surmounted by a lantern. The exterior features the saw-toothed arcatures and frieze common at the time in Languedoc, as well as flat vertical bands reminiscent of Lombard architecture.

Listed as: historical monument since 1900.

Km 118.2


Nestling at the foot of Château Montferrand, sheltered by the Hortus mountain and protected by the tutelary Pic Saint-Loup, the commune is made up of a mosaic of landscapes: garrigue, oak and pine forests, limestone plateaux, massifs, agricultural plains... It is also a wine-growing town with the Coteaux du Languedoc and Pic Saint-Loup appellations.  

Château de Montferrand

Construction: 12th century.

Style: medieval.

History: the site was once a Roman stronghold. It is first mentioned in the early 12th century. In the early 13th century, the castle was confiscated from Count Raymond VI of Toulouse during the Albigensian Crusade and entrusted by the Pope to the Bishop of Maguelone. The Protestants seized the castle in 1574. Antoine de Cambous took it over in 1584 and restored it in the Renaissance style. In 1623, after conquering Montpellier on behalf of the Catholics, Jacques Valat was appointed lord for life of Montferrand castle by Bishop Pierre de Fenouillet. In the 17th century, Louis XIV authorised Colbert de Croissy to have the buildings demolished. The château was dismantled in 1709. In 2017, the Grand Pic Saint-Loup community of communes announced a programme to save the site from ruin.

Current use: for safety reasons, the site is no longer accessible to the public and has been fenced off since 2018. The Community of communes of Grand Pic Saint-Loup is working to restore the site. 

Listed as: historical monument since 2022.

GARD (30)

Population: 756,543

Prefecture: Nimes

Sub-prefectures: Alès, Le Vigan

Surface area: 5,853 km2

Specialities: four outstanding taste sites, 9 AOC-AOP and 5 IGP: Costières, Uzège, Cevennes and Côtes du Rhône wines (Laudun, Lirac, Chusclan, Tavel, Listel...), pélardon (cheese), Nimes olives and olive oil, Cevennes sweet onions, Nimes strawberries, Cévennes chicken and capon, Camargue rice and bull, Uzès black truffles and soon Cevennes chestnuts and honey. Crafts: Anduze pottery, basketry, stone quarries, gardianne boots.

Sports clubs: Nimes Olympique (football), USAM (handball), ASPTT (table tennis), RCN (rugby union). Support for young talent, with the Olympic Games 2024 as a target: Lucie Gauthier (table tennis), Enzo Giorgi (handisport fencing), Jean-Marc Pontvianne (athletics), Tom Poyet (handball) and Lorenzo Serres (mountain biking).

Events: Etoile de Bessèges (cycling), Critérium des Cévennes (rally), Marathon des Côtes-du-Rhône.

Festivals: Transes Cévenoles (contemporary music), Jazz in Junas, Itinérances (cinema), Cratère Surfaces (street arts) and Uzès Danse.

Economy: tourism (Romanesque architecture, Europe's leading marina at Port-Camargue, seaside resorts, spa treatments), wine tourism, agriculture, timber industry, Areva competitiveness cluster, Textile Well, Perrier, CEA Marcoule.

Heritage: three UNESCO World Heritage sites: Pont du Gard, Abbey Church of Saint-Gilles and pastoralism in the Causses and Cevennes. Four Grands Sites de France: Pont du Gard (also a UNESCO biosphere reserve), Cirque of Navacelles, Camargue and Gorges of the Gardon. Four of France's most beautiful villages. Three towns of art and history: Beaucaire, Nîmes and Uzès. Plus the ramparts of Aigues-Mortes, the Duchy of Uzès, the Abbey of Saint Roman, the Chartreuse and the Fort Saint-André in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon.

Websites and social networks: www.gard.fr www.tourismegard.comwww.climattitude.gard.fr / https://fr-fr.facebook.com/legard30/ / https://fr-fr.facebook.com/GardTourisme/

Km 136.9


The first town in Gard to be awarded the "small town of character"  label. A medieval town on the banks of the Vidourle river. An economic crossroads for more than 2,000 years, it is ideally situated equidistant from Nîmes, Montpellier, the beaches and the Cevennes. Of particular note is its Roman bridge, which probably dates back to the 1st century and is one of the few buildings from this period in this state of preservation (189-m long, and originally 21 arches). Best-selling British writer Lawrence Durrell, best known for his Alexandria Quartet, settled in Sommières towards the end of his life, where he died in 1990.  

Sommières Castle

Construction: 13th century

Style: Medieval fortress

Characteristics: the Bermond Tower, which was the castle's keep, was built directly on the rock, 25-m high. It remains a great reminder of the past, as the Montlaur tower was largely destroyed during the siege of the town in 1573.

History: it survived the Wars of Religion and the Camisard War, was used as a prison, particularly for Protestants, and then declined from the 18th century onwards. Dismembered in the 19th century, the castral site was gradually abandoned in the following century.

Current destination: a place to visit, open to the public throughout the summer. Activities linked to the medieval world are organised for children (archery, treasure hunts, etc.).

Listed as: historical monument since 2010

Km 139.7


Château de Villevieille

Construction: 11th to 18th centuries

Style: medieval fortress, converted in the Renaissance period.

History: At the end of the Cathar War, Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, and his Bermond nephews rebelled against the French king, Saint Louis. The castle became part of the royal domain for a century.

Characteristics: the medieval part is made up of four rectangular towers. A courtyard of honour precedes the inner courtyard, which is enclosed by the buildings and an enclosing wall crowned with balusters into which a neoclassical portal opens. Around 1530, François de Pavée renovated the former feudal dwelling, making the interior façade one of the earliest examples of Renaissance architecture in the Languedoc region. A new wing was added under Louis XIV.

Current use: privately-owned property hosting a classical music festival since 1970. Also open to visitors during the summer.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 1971

Km 149.5


Historic capital of the Vaunage region, of which Calvisson was the administrative centre. The village flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries thanks to vine-growing and wine trading. Above the village is the Roc de Gachone (167 m). At the summit are four mills dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The first, the old Farinière, was destroyed by a storm in 1838, leaving only the base. The second, repaired in 1928, bears the orientation table. The third, the Moulin pointu, is known as the "Cassini signal". The fourth, known as the Moulin de l'Ouest, was built in 1774 and has recently been consolidated.  

Saint-Saturnin Church

Construction: 10th century.

Styles: Romanesque, modified Gothic.

History: severely damaged during the Wars of Religion, the church was almost entirely rebuilt between the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Once again damaged during the French Revolution, the church underwent a major restoration and enhancement campaign in 2009.

Characteristics: striking contrast between the austere north facade, supported by buttresses, and the west facade with its ogival portal.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 1949

Km 154.3

VERGÈZE (POP: 5,620)

Vergèze's prosperity stems from the presence of the Perrier spring, for many years the official drink of the Tour de France. Vergèze was often a stage town for Paris-Nice and had become a favourite venue for time trials, where a collection of champions won: Louison Bobet (1952 and 1956), Fausto Coppi (1954, 1955), Jacques Anquetil (1959, 1960, 1962), André Darrigade (1961), among others. Vérgèze has other sporting assets to boast about. The municipal stadium, where Stéphane Diagana regularly trained before his major events in the 400 m hurdles, is named after him. Maurice Trintignant, the first Frenchman to win an F1 Grand Prix in Monaco in 1955, became mayor of Vergèze between 1958 and 1964. He retired there to take up winegrowing.  

Km 159



The Bouillens spring was formed 120 million years ago when volcanic gas mixed with underground water. Legend has it that Hannibal quenched his thirst here during his great march towards Rome in 218 BC. The Romans themselves built thermal baths here. The population of the surrounding villages would go to Les Bouillens to drink the sparkling water, reputed to cure skin diseases and rheumatism. The spring's modern adventure began in June 1863, when Napoleon III recognised the spring as a natural mineral water and authorised its exploitation. In 1898, Gard doctor Louis Eugène Perrier bought the spring, set up a spa there and invented techniques for capturing water and gas separately and then mixing them again. Lacking the money to develop the business, he went into business in 1903 with a young, wealthy Englishman, Sir John Harmsworth, who created the Compagnie de la Source Perrier in 1906 and at the same time invented the shape of the famous bottle, inspired by the Indian clubs he used for rehabilitation. It was the English market and its colonies that first ensured the development of the spring. Every year, 7 million bottles were shipped via a direct rail link to Vergèze station. In the 1910s, the company even built a glassworks in Aigues-Mortes to manufacture the famous bottles. A major change came in 1948 when Perrier left the British fold and became entirely French, thanks to Gustave Leven and a group of shareholders who took control and managed to boost production to 150 million bottles in the early 1950s. Nestlé took over the company in 1992. Today Perrier employs 1,000 people and produces 1.5 billion bottles a year. Worldwide, 2.4 million bottles are drunk every day. 


As beautiful as it is historic, the seaside village of Gruissan offers a stunningly picturesque spot on the Mediterranean coast.

Centred around the Barberousse Tower, the village has been designed in a distinctive circular fashion. Originally for defensive purposes, the winding streets now make Gruissan a fascinating place to explore.

In the surrounding area you'll find striking sights like the pink lakes of Gruissan's saltworks, as well as a number of vineyards. The village's markets are filled with fresh local produce, and while visiting, you should make sure to try some of the region's exceptional seafood, as well as specialties like pine nut tart.

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Embrace the allure of Nîmes, a city where history unfolds amidst sun-drenched landscapes. You are invited to wander through historic streets, where Roman remnants stand side by side with contemporary cafes. The Arena of Nîmes, an ancient amphitheater, echoes with tales of gladiator duels, transporting you to a bygone era.

Bustling markets offer a sensory extravaganza, with local produce and artisanal crafts creating a vibrant tapestry. Ascend the Tour Magne for panoramic views that extend from the city's Roman past to its modern vitality. And be sure to step into the Maison Carrée to experience a marvel of Roman architecture, encapsulating Nîmes' cultural heritage.

Whether exploring the Jardins de la Fontaine or sipping on local wines in the Place aux Herbes, Nîmes is a celebration of the South of France's rich tapestry. As day turns to dusk, its ancient monuments are bathed in a warm glow, creating an enchanting ambiance. Nîmes, where the past meets the present, promises an immersive journey through Provence's sun-kissed landscapes.

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