On the road

GARD (30)

Population: 736,029

Prefecture: Nîmes

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/ / fr-fr.facebook.com/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.

Km 13

Tavel (Pop: 1,960)

Tavel is internationally renowned for its wines, the local rosé being the most famous rosé in France. Tavel is the only Rhône appellation to produce rosés only. The main grapes used in its making are Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. Tavel has produced wines since Antiquity and they were served at the table of the pope in the 14th century. Tavel also produces AOC olive oil.

Km 21

Roquemaure (Pop: 5,470)

Stretching at the foot of the ruins of its 13th century royal castle, Roquemaure is a winemaking little town and the place where the Cotes du Rhone appellation was created. Thanks to its location on the Rhone and the support of the Avignon popes, Roquemaure was the main port from which local wines were exported to the rest of the country. The town put a CdR (Cotes du Rhone) seal on its casks to attest their quality. It is also in Roquemaure that started the phylloxera epidemic which destroyed most of the vines in the south of Europe in the late 19th century. In 1868, a rich local merchant, Maximilien Richard, brought back to town relics of St. Valentine, hoping to protect the vines against the plague. The relics are still visible in the St. John-the-Baptist church. Wine production resumed after the plague under the Lirac appellation.

VAUCLUSE (84)

Population: 562,254

Prefecture: Avignon

Sub-prefectures: Carpentras, Apt

Surface: 3,567 km2

Specialties: natural sweet wines (Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Rasteau, Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Ventoux, Côtes du Luberon), olive oil, goat cheeses (Banon, Picodon), lavender from Sault, pork from Ventoux , Cavaillon melon, Sault lamb, Montas de Venasque cherry, Comtat cherry, candied cherry, honey.

Sports clubs: 81 bike clubs (cycling, cycling, mountain biking, BMX)

Competitions: Tour de France, Critérium du Dauphiné, International Women's Cycling Tour of Ardèche

Festivals: Avignon In and Off Festivals (since 1947), Chorégies d'Orange (oldest French festival created in 1869), Vaison Danses, Choralies de Vaison, Enclave Night Festival in Grillon, Richerenches, Valréas and Visan (theater, painting, sculpture), Summer Evenings festival in Gordes, Tremplin Jazz Avignon, Lacoste Festival (theatre and opera), Les Musicales du Luberon (classical music).

Economy: agro-food sector "Vaucluse, the garden of France", tourism, building and public works, crafts, trade

Websites: www.vaucluse.fr / www.provenceguide.com / www.provence-a-velo.fr

Km 32

Orange (Pop: 29,200)

Its location in the heart of Côtes-du-Rhône and on the Via Agrippa Roman road, has made Orang, a strategic place. In the Middle Ages, the city became the capital of the principality of Orange until its annexation by France, officialised in the treaties of Utrecht in 1713.

The Roman theatre owes its notoriety to the exceptional preservation of its stage wall. It was the essential place in the life of the city where the Roman language and culture were spread. It now hosts Les Chorégies, a world-renowned opera festival and Roman shows.

The Arch of Triumph is also an exceptional witness of Roman art in Provence.

Besides these two exceptional monuments, the city of Orange has other places of interest like its museum of art and history, housed in a mansion of the 17th century with its Gallo-Roman section and a section devoted to the history of Orange, from prehistory to the present day.

Finally, thanks to its sunny climate, the city is surrounded by prestigious wines such as Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-pape.

Orange hosted a stage of the Tour de France, won by Joseph Spruyt in 1974, but the Criterium du Dauphiné and Paris-Nice came to town more often. It was also in Orange that René Vietto died in 1988. King René had settled in nearby Bollène at the end of his life.

Roman theatre
Built during the reign of Augustus, the ancient theatre of Orange is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the western world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The northern facade of its stage wall (37 m high and 107 m long), which King Louis XIV considered the most beautiful wall of his kingdom, became from the 19th century a haven for the greatest opera performances. Designed to welcome the Gallo-Roman public, this is where the culture and the Roman language were spread. Nearly 8,000 spectators could watch tragedies, comedies, but also dances, acrobatics and juggling.

Km 49

Cairanne (Pop: 1,060)

Known for the quality of its wine, Cairanne is one of 18 municipalities to have the right to attach its name to the AOC Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages appellation. It is lesser known that another resource of the city is its spring water, exploited under the brand Cristaline. The old village of Cairanne, with its ramparts, its old dungeon turned into a wedding hall, is also worth a visit.

Km 52.5

Rasteau (Pop: 870)

Rasteau is a village of vine growers of High Vaucluse perched at 200 metres on a mound between plains and forests. Its houses are spread out at the foot of a beautiful 12th century Romanesque church and the ruins of a 12th century castle overlook the village.

From the huge shaded square in the heart of the village, cobbled little streets lead to the fortified enclosure dating from the Middle Ages. From this high, the houses look like a miniature village of Provence with its small doors and windows painted in shimmering colours. For the more adventurous the ascent can extend to the 12th century episcopal residence next to the church at the top of the village. It is impossible to leave Rasteau without stopping at the cooperative wine cellar showcasing the wines produced here. You can also visit the museum of winemaking gathering tools, instruments, photographs and documents to explain this traditional passion for vine and good wine

Rasteau hosted three Paris-Nice stages won by Alexandre Vinokourov (2004), Tom Boonen (2006) and Davide Cimolai (2015).

Km 62

Vaison-la-Romaine (Pop: 6,500)

Capital of the Celtic-Ligurian people of the Vocondes, Vaison was occupied by the Romans and reached its golden age in the second century BC where they built the theatre, the baths, the bridge and the aqueduct that still exist today. Seat of a bishopric from the fourth century, it hosted two councils in 442 and 529. From the 12th century, power was disputed between the Bishop and the Count of Provence until the city became papal property in the 13th century. The stage follows part of the route of the Princes of Orange, a former transhumance path connecting the city to Orpierre and crosses Vaison. The city, now prosperous thanks to tourism and wine, hosted the starts of two Tour de France stages, in 2002 (victory of Santiago Botero in Les Deux-Alpes) and in 2013 (Rui Costa in Gap).

Theatre
The ancient theatre has been protected as a historical monument since 1862. A vestige of the prosperity of the Roman city of Vasio, it is one of the few remaining public buildings which made up the monumental complex of the city and. Its construction dates probably from the first century AD, under the reign of Emperor Claudius.

Km 70

Faucon (Pop: 450)

A small village perched on a hill with a magnificent panorama of the Prealps and Mont Ventoux. An old fortified city, the houses are built of local stone, and this architectural unity gives a lot of character to the village. Do not miss the Pont du Gourmier stroll, at the end of the village for true nature lovers. In the forest, in the district of La Montagne, some beautiful bories (stone cabins). Pretty country chapels are to be seen as well.

Fief of the counts of Toulouse in the 12th and 13th centuries, Faucon was attached to the Papal States in 1274. Today, this small village lives mainly from vine and wine. In this area of ​​Côtes du Rhône, two particular cellars practice organic farming and other crops go to cooperatives. The village is the homeland of the "Orangé de Provence" apricot. It was a Faucon agronomist, Charles Cornu, who brought back the first specimen from the Balkans, under the name of "Polish" that he spread throughout Provence.

DROME (26)

Population: 508,000

Prefecture: Valence

Sub-prefectures: Die and Nyons

Surface: 6,530 km²

Specialties: stone fruits, aromatic and medicinal plants, lavender and lavandin, garlic. 19 AOC / AOP including 10 wines, 3 cheeses and 6 other products: walnuts, black olives from Nyons, olive oil from Nyons, olive oil from Provence, essential oils of lavender from Haute-Provence, chestnut from Ardeche. The Drôme products also benefit from 9 red labels and 13 IGPs.

Sports clubs: Drôme HandBall Bourg-de-Péage, HandBall Valence, Drôme BMX Team, Saint Vallier Basket Drôme. Competitions: Critérium du Dauphiné, Drôme Classic (UCI Europe Tour), Corima Drôme Provençale (gran fondo), Drômoise (gran fondo), Raid MTB the paths of the sun (Marathon X Country International)

Festivals: Night Festivities of Grignan, Crest Jazz Vocal, Saoû sings Mozart

Economy: 4,4300 establishments and 13,000 companies. Leather and luxury, food, transport-logistics, etc.

Places of interest: Crocodile Farm (Pierrelatte), Grignan Castle, Ideal Palace of postman Cheval (Hauterives)

Websites and social networks: www.ladrome.fr / www.ladrometourisme.com / www.facebook.com/ladromeledepartement

Km 74.5

Mollans-sur-Ouvèze (Pop: 1,050)

Of very old origin, Mollans was part of the barony of Mévouillon. Baron Raymond V surrendered the lordship in 1293 to Albert de Medici, whose family was later to play a considerable role in France. Later the lordship was divided into two parts; hence the upper fort and the lower fort, whose ruins, still imposing, dominate the town. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the abbey of Saint-André de Villeneuve-lès-Avignon had a priory and three churches, including the parish church, and collected all the income attached to these institutions.

In 1560, Montbrun was beaten by the Comte de Suze after fighting in Mollans and had to flee to Geneva. Occupied alternately by Catholics and Huguenots, Mollans was taken by Lesdiguieres on February 18, 1589.

Mollans, was, under the Old Regime, the seat of the officiality of the bishop of Vaison in the Dauphiné.

Km 83.5

Buis-les-Baronnies (Pop: 2,300)

Surrounded by fields of lavender, sheltered from the strong winds of the Rhone corridor, Buis-les-Baronnies is a large picturesque village which enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate. With its almost triangular design, its slightly quirky facades painted in the colours of the South, its low arcaded walkways from the 15th century and the beautiful fountain standing in the middle, the market square is not listed as a historical monument without reason. On market days, it becomes rich in smells and colours.

It is also pleasant to stroll through the streets to admire isolated fragments of medieval walls, including a ruined tower that served as a prison or beautiful Renaissance architectural details, such as a remarkable door, which belonged to the former convent of the Dominicans, built in 1594. The locals are proud of the Romanesque Bridge, which actually dates from the late seventeenth century and spans the Ouvèze.

Buis-les-Baronnies also has the international reputation of being a hot spot for climbing in France. Very close to the village, the Ubrieux Gorge or the rock of Saint-Julien have cliffs equipped for the practice of climbing, from starters to pros.

Km 96

Sainte-Euphémie-sur-Ouvèze (Pop: 100 )

Founded by the Templars, this fortified village of the 14th century was ceded to the Grimaldis of Monaco by Louis XIII in compensation for the loss of the Kingdom of Naples. Without the Revolution, Saint Euphemia would still be a Monaco property ... Peaceful and picturesque, the village is at the heart of the "apricot country".

HAUTES-ALPES (05)

Prefecture: Gap

Sub-prefecture: Briancon

Population: 140,916

Surface: 5,549 km2

Specialties: Tourtons du Champsaur (donuts), donkey ears (cream gratin, lasagna and spinach), honey (mountain, lavender, all flowers ...), wines (Tallard and Avance valley), fruits (apples) and Pears of the Val de Durance), Génépi (liqueur), cheeses ...

Economy: tourism (over 20 million nights), pastoralism, wood industry, crafts, development of the air sector.

Sport: Second department of France in terms of sports licenses per capita, in nearly 500 clubs and fifty disciplines ranging from alpine skiing to ice-hockey (Red Devils Briançon and Rapaces de Gap) through cycling (gran fondos, Mountain biking), team sports (football, rugby, handball, basketball), athletics, swimming. Competitions: Embrunman (Triathlon, August), Enduro Mountain Bike World Cup (Les Orres), Gapen'cimes (Trail, October), Briançon World Climbing Championships (July), Freestyle French Kayak Cup (June, Embrun), Alps Epic (Mountain bike marathon, June)

Culture and heritage: Ecrins National Park, Queyras Regional Nature Park, Natural Park of the Baronnies Provençales. Two fortified sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Briançon and Montdauphin.

Festivals: Outdoormix Festival (June, Embrun), Trad'in Festival (July, Embrun), Chaillol Festival, Messiaen Festival (La Grave, July-August)

Websites: www.hautes-alpes.fr / www.hautes-alpes.net / www.phenomenalpes.com

The Department of Hautes-Alpes is the "highest in France" with a third of its surface above 2,000 m in altitude. Summer and winter tourism is the main economic activity of the territory with 387,585 tourist beds and more than 20 million overnight stays. The winter activity is organised around 27 stations and 25 Nordic sites. In summer, the activity is divided between hiking and mountaineering, white water spots, air activities including the site of Gap-Tallard and Lake Serre-Ponçon, real sea amidst the mountains where all nautical activities are available between wild creeks and turquoise water. Its natural heritage is exceptional with the Ecrins National Park and the Regional Natural Parks of Queyras and Baronnies Provençales. Its cultural heritage is also impressive with two fortified sites inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list: Briançon and Montdauphin.

Km 142

Châteauneuf-de-Chabre (Pop: 300)

The southern village of Châteauneuf-de-Chabre is located at the confluence of the Buëch and Méouge, among orchards, lavender fields and sunflowers. The village is the gateway into the famous Gorges de la Méouge, a beautiful valley which is a delight for bathers and hikers of all kinds: on foot, by bike, by mountain bike or on horseback ... Below the road to Méouge lies a magnificent Romanesque bridge with three arches, listed as a historical monument, it led to an old mill which is now ruined: it was washed away during a flood of the Méouge in 1901.

Km 148.5

Laragne-Montéglin (3,500 inhabitants)

Laragne-Montéglin is one of the southernmost communes of the Hautes-Alpes, halfway between Grenoble and Marseille. Born in 1949 from the merger of Laragne and Montéglin, it is a small alpine town with a very Provençal flavour. Located in the perimetre of the future regional park of Baronnies provençales, Laragne is a capital town of an active and dynamic canton.

Laragne already existed in the Middle Ages, but only by a few houses grouped around a mill fed by the waters of the Buëch, and an inn with a post office. The city really grew in the 17th century when Gaspard de Perrinet, lord of Arzeliers, built in a magnificent castle still visible in the heart of the city, but unfortunately degraded and hidden by a modern  building. The cradle of the town, the hamlet of Arzeliers, has been inhabited since the 12th century; it was part of the possessions of the Mevouillon family. In 1230 Arzeliers had nearl 1,000 inhabitants, scattered in farms, or grouped around the fortified castle destroyed at the end of the 16th century during the wars of religion.

Km 179.5

Tallard (Pop: 2,170)

Built in the 1930s, the Gap-Tallard aerodrome hosted an air link between Gap and Paris until 1977 before becoming one of France's foremost aerial sports venues. All activities related to the air are represented: first flight in glider, paragliding, ULM or autogire, balloon ride, tandem jump in free fall, helicopter overflight or flying course. The aerodrome has hosted renowned events such as the Mondial de l'Air in 1998 and 1999 or several parachuting world championships. In this specialty, Tallard set a record in 2004 with more than 75,000 jumps and most French champions work on the airfield. Gliding is also a popular discipline in Tallard, and a world champion in the discipline, Nathalie Hurlin, is a math teacher at the city's college.

In 2007, Cédric Vasseur, now manager of the Cofidis team, won in Marseille in a stage from Tallard. In 2014, another stage from Tallard led to Nîmes, where Alexander Kristoff won the sprint under heavy rian. Each year took place in town until 2012 the Tallard Grand Prix, organized by the neighbouring club of La Pédale Gapençaise and which claims among its former winners Rémi Pauriol or Vincent Lavenu, native of the Hautes-Alpes department.

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