The ramparts of Aigues-Mortes were built by Saint Louis. Indeed, from the beginning of his reign, Louis IX wanted to have an outlet into the Mediterranean and it was in this context that he had the port of Aigues-Mortes built.
The remarkable historical town of Aigues-Mortes is a fortified town which has retained all of its medieval defences.
Coal and iron have made Alès one of the country’s leading steelmaking centres. Indissociable from the history of the Cévennes, the memory of the mines is kept alive in the coal mining areas around Alès. Visit Alès to explore the last remains of this past thanks to the town’s carefully preserved industrial heritage. Coal extraction methods, which were for a long time family-based and small-scale, changed rapidly when the king gave Pierre-François Tuboeuf exclusive rights to the mines in the entire Basses-Cévennes region. His new techniques were very effective and made it possible to sink deeper shafts thanks to sophisticated ventilation and drainage systems.
Anduze is located at the gateway to the Cévennes. An authentic little town that will charm everyone. There is something here for all tastes: heritage lovers will find a number of beautiful monuments, sports lovers will head off on the trails and footpaths, the regional products will delight food livers and everyone will be in agreement that the landscapes are simply magnificent.
A backdrop to the Renaissance, Barjac nestles in between the Ardèche and Cèze gorges, on the threshold to the Cévennes. The landscape has certain Tuscan feel to it, having been moulded by farming that is rich in biodiversity and the wild garrigue scrubland to create a sumptuous setting.
Romanesque, medieval and then classical in turn, Beaucaire was the setting for key events in its history before offering itself up in its modern day form.
Founded in the 7th century B.C., Beaucaire is known as a stopping point on the famous Via Domita which linked Italy to Spain (121 B.C.). It was at this stage that the Via Domita split to go off towards Arles, Nîmes, Remouline and Saint-Gilles. At this time, Beaucaire, which means “beautiful stone”, was called Ugernum.
In the heart of the Cèze valley in the Gard, Gourdargues is a small, atypical village with 1,000 inhabitants. Nicknamed “the Gardoise Venice” – an exaggeration is goes without saying – its shady canal banks planted with 100 year old plane trees, its fountains and its cool squares make it undeniably appealing. The town is a delightful place to wander, accompanied by the gentle murmur of ever-present water. Restaurants, cellars offering tasting sessions, craft shops, small stores – everything needed for a pleasant stay is right on hand.
The Camargue Regional National Park is located on the edge of the Mediterranean, within the Rhône delta, and primarily between the two arms of the river. It extends over 3 communes: part of the communes of Arles and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône and all of the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer commune.
Le Grau du Roi Port Camargue born of water and sand. A lake of marine origins formed, into which freshwater from inland also flowed. Over time, a passage formed, connecting the lake with the sea = a Grau, which means a passage in Occitan. The Grau du Roi came into being as a result of this opening, which formed from the 13th century onwards.
Exploring the sloping streets of the old village of La Roque-sur-Cèze is always a treat.
Les Cascades du Sautadet are a spectacular series of waterfalls formed by the Cèze river. The river’s boiling waters thunder down into the cavities it has carved out of the limestone, forming water holes and cauldrons. It’s level drops from 15 metres high over a few dozen metres.
Nîmes, a large town in Occitanie, a region in southern France, was an important outpost during the Roman Empire. Its is known for its well-preserved monuments, such as the Nîmes arena, a 2-storey amphitheatre built in about 70 A.D. which is still used for concerts and bullfights. Maison Carrée, or the Square House, is a white limestone Roman temple.
In the heart of Nîmes city centre, and located opposite the ancient arena, the Musée de la Romanité presents the city’s collections of Roman objects, which are brought to life through the use of 65 multimedia devices (augmented reality, audio-visual technologies). The city’s origins are revealed through the remains of a monumental pediment which adorned the Museum’s central atrium. The double turn stairs lead visitors to the Gallic period; they are then plunged into daily life during the Roman era, getting to know the city and its inhabitants about 2000 years ago. They then travel through the middle ages and right up to the contemporary period to learn about the influence of Roman culture through the ages.
Saint-Ambroix is a town with lots of history, as both the Celts and the Romans left evidence of their presence. A fortified town during the Middle Ages, it became an industrial centre at a later stage (the silk industry in the 19th century). It is full of mystery and surprises, with its Rocher du Dugas, its archaeological digs, its troglodytic houses, its castle ruins, its Guisquet tower, its Vòlo-Biòu legend (a bullock who stole), and its altar for human sacrifices which dates from the Celtic period and makes this town unique.
Uzès is described as the “First Duchy of France”, this title being linked to the duchy only because of the order of precedence in the hierarchy of the nobility, attributed to the Duke of Uzès in 1565 by Charles IX, then King of France. The title was therefore associated with the man, rather than with his lands.
Encircled by Boulevard Gambetta, the medieval centre is a warren of narrow streets and shady squares lines with private residences dating from the17th and 18th centuries.
Just a stone’s throw from Place aux Herbes, the medieval gardens provide a welcome haven of peace and tranquillity with 450 species of vegetable, herbal, ornamental and medicinal plants illustrating the important role that plants played in daily life during the Middle Ages. Works of contemporary art are also on display and it’s possible to climb the 100 steps to the top of the Tower to get a breath-taking view over Uzès. After visiting the town, spare a thought for the children and the young at heart and visit the Haribo sweet factory.
This lack of visitors can no doubt be explained by the presence of its famous neighbour, Avignon, located just the other side of the river. Villeneuve-Lès-Avignon also has lots to offer visitors.