The Gard Provençal web site has information on the towns and villages in the Gard. The site includes leisure activities, listings of places to stay, places to eat and museums. In addition there is an interactive map.

Comité Départemental du Tourisme du Gard has information on outdoor activities including hiking, biking and so on in the Gard. Their office in Nimes is located at 3 place des Arenes, where you can pick up brochures. If you are walking down the rue de la Cite Foulc towards the Musee des Beaux-Arts you will pass the office. The web site also has information about the Gard and is a good source for finding out what the area has to offer. 

Fancy the Gard - another web site that has information on the area including hiking and festivals.

Alès

Is not exactly what you would call picturesque, yet billed as the “Gateway to Cevennes” they do a lot to spruce up the town including planting loads of flowers in the summer and the many fountains make it quite pleasant. There are a couple of museums including Musee Pierre Andre Benoit (contemporary art including Picasso and Miro) and the  Musée du colombier (European painting from the 16th to 18th century along with archaeological section). There is a fabulous garden, Les Camellias de la Prarie (open September, closed in the summer months and on Tuesdays) with around 200 varieties of camellia along with flowing trees such as magnolias and Japanese maples. Best time to visit is in March and the first half of April. One of my favorite restaurants is in Alès.

Le Cog Hardi, 7 rue Mandajors Tele: 04 66 52 15  75. Traditional cuisine with a creative touch. Great value for your money. Casual and extremely friendly service. Quite popular so it is a good idea to reserve a table. Closed on Monday. For directions including a map go to Mapquest, click on International and France. Enter the complete address for the restaurant including the zip code, 30100. For the starting point (debut) just enter Deaux. If coming from Deaux, I find the easiest place to park is along the Ave Carnot (after the large fountain in the middle of a roundabout). Rue Mandajors and the other streets in this area are narrow and one way streets. And if you park along the Ave Carnot you will find it is much easier to leave and find your way out of Ales. On the map you will see what I mean. Close to the restaurant is a place where you can access the Internet. New Informatique, 28 rue Florian Tele: 04 66 52 78 33. When you walk out the door of the restaurant make a left and start walking west along rue Mandajors In a few minutes you will run into rue Florian (runs north to south), make a right and look for the number 28. Call to confirm opening  hours. 

Au Bureau, 8 Place G Péri (right around the corner from Le Cog Hardi) Tele: 33 4 66 91 01 39. Open daily from 9:00am to 1:00am. Pub-Pizza-Brasserie. Great place to go for a burger, salad or something more substantial. Casual and informal with outdoor tables with a view of the square with a fountain. Nothing more enjoyable than having a burger and a couple of draft beers on a fine evening watching the world go by.

AnduzeCevennes

Famous for their pottery (not the céramique type, but the pots for plants some of which are highly decorative). Its narrow streets are filled with medieval houses and quaint squares where you will find shops and restaurants. The clock tower dates back to the 1320 and the grain hall from the 15th century. 2 km outside of Anduze is the beautiful and exotic La Bambouseraie de Prafrance. Another attraction nearby is the underground caverns, Grotte de Trabuc.

For more information the Office of Tourism for Anduze and Cevennes has a website. West of Anduze there is a center for hiking, kayaking and other outdoor activities, Maison de la Randonnée et des Activités de Pleine Nature de Thoiras. To get there head west out of Anduze on the D907 towards  Thoiras. For more information go to their website. They offer guided walks conducted in English and you will also find IGN maps. You will find other useful information on walking/hiking around the area.

There are number of restaurants along plan de brie (the main street that runs through the village. I've eaten at several restaurants. One in particular I thought was nice. Good food, reasonable prices and friendly service. Le Cabanon, 16 plan de brie Tele: 04 66 61 64 62. Restaurant, Pizzeria and Glacier so you can get pretty much anything you like from light (a salad) to a heavier lunch or dinner including a starter, a main course and dessert.

I like coming to Anduze for the day. Walk around the town, have lunch and perhaps in the afternoon explore the surrounding area.

 

Goudargues

Northwest of La Roque-sur-Ceze is the village of Goudargues dubbed Venice of the Gard due to the canals that run through the center of the village. There are restaurants and cafes along the tree shaded canals. Perfect place to stop for lunch.

La Roque-sur-CezeLa Roque-sur-Ceze

Picturesque village (no cars allowed, the streets are too narrow) perched on a hill overlooking the Ceze river and the spectacular Cascade du Sautadet - a beautiful natural wonder. If you were planning on visiting Pont-St-Espirit and coming from the west via the D6 passing through Bagnols then it’s definitely worth a little side trip. Before you get into Bagnols you will turn off and head north on the D166 towards La Roque-sur-Ceze. Only a short drive and doesn’t really take you that far out of your way.  After your visit you can continue on the D23 passing through Chartreuse de Valbonne and continuing on to Pont-St-Espirit. Or you can head east a bit to Goundargues (the Venice of the Gard) and Cornillon (a 17th century village with a great view from the ruined chateau). There are tons of interesting sights to see. If are going to Pont-St-Espirit for the market and don’t have time in the morning, you can always stop by on your way back. There are so many fascinating sights, it would be a shame not to explore the area.        

 

Lussan

Is a picturesque medieval hilltop village northwest of St-Quentin-la-Poterie. The views of the countryside are breathtaking. If you are going to Pont-St-Espirit from the direction of the Ales, the village is only a little out of the way, but worth the slight detour. I took this photo of the chateau. 

There is a pottery place in the village called Les Ceramiques de Lussan. For more information click on the link to their website.

Nimes

NimesFounded by the Romans, reaching its zenith in the 1st and 2nd century BC. Today there are several reminders of the Romans including Les Arènes and the Maison Carrée (one the world’s best preserved Roman temples). A collection of Roman artifacts are housed in the Musées d'Archéologie de Nîmes.

The area around Place aux Herbes called “old town” has been zoned for pedestrians. You will find shops, restaurants and cafes. It’s a lively and pleasant area to walk around in. Below is a photos the the Cathedral Notre-Dame-et-St-Castor. Consecrated in 1096 only to be almost destroyed by the Huguenots in 1597 and 1622. The only part of the church that was not destroy was the bell tower, which was used as a watchtower. In front and to the right there is a restaurant where you can stop for a bit to eat or for a coffee.     

Tourist Office of Nimes (in French and English). You will find information on restaurants, accommodations etc. To find out what’ going on click on  “This weekend in Nimes” or  “What’s on”. The tourist office for Nimes is located at 6 rue Auguste (catty corner from the Place de la Maison Carree). The tourist office for the Gard is located at 3 rue de la Cite Foulc (up the street from the Musee des Beaux-Arts).

Chateau de la Tuilerie - You can sample and purchase a variety of Costieres de Nimes wines.

If you are planning on going to a few of the museums or monuments you might consider getting a combined 3 day pass that allows access to participating museums and monuments for one price. You can find out more about the pass by stopping by the Nimes Office of Tourism.

I like to park in the underground parking garage located under the Esplanade de Gaulle (near the Roman Arena). It’s right on the outskirts, but within easy walking distance to the attractions and  makes getting in and out of the city a snap. You can start off exploring the Les Arenes (Roman Arena), continue on through the pedestrian friendly old town with shops, cafes and the Cathedrale de Notre-Dame et St-Castors and continue on to the Carre d’Art, the modern art museum designed by the British architect, Norman Foster and the Maison Carree (Roman temple). Once you finished visiting the new and the old you can make you way along the beautiful tree lined Quai de la Fontaine to the Jardin de la Fontaine, where you can sit and relax and perhaps watch a game of Boules. Or have a picnic lunch in this calm oasis. One time I must have spent an hour simply watching a group of old men play boules. Yes - there is a boules court. What would a park be in France without one and I yes do confess I do enjoy watching and playing boules.

The Carré d'Art is a work of art in itself - modern architecture that is. The museum has a small permanent collection of modern art and hosts exhibitions from time to time. For more information including current exhibitions click on the link.

The Musee des Beaux-Arts is a charming little museum. Granted it’s not the Lourve, but the collection does have some good paintings along with a preserved Roman mosaic floor. A pleasant way to spend an hour or two.

NimesFor a great view of city visit the Tour Magne, one of the original (and only one to survive more or less) octagonal watch towers built by the Romans to keep watch over the city. At one time a wall surrounded the entire city, these watch towers placed strategically around he city. Head to the Jardin de la Fontaine, along the back wall you will see stone steps. Climb the steps and follow the signs to the Tour (Tower). Now it is a trek and you will be walking uphill, the tower is on a hill (the Romans were clever). However, the view from the top of the tower is superb especially on a clear day and well worth the effort. And if it is any consolation the walk back is much easier -   you will be walking down hill. Below are a couple photos I took of the Jardin de la Fontaine - a formal  garden laid out in the 18th century with all the usual statues. What is interesting is it was built as a reservoir to collect rainwater. By the 18th century the spring the city got its water from no longer provided enough water for the inhabitants of Nimes. However, in the summer on a bright sunny day you might need sunglasses due to the glare reflected off the stonework. Still the park is quite lovely and there is a Roman ruin - The Temple of Diana for those out who are into all things archeological. 

During the summer months concerts are held in Les Arènes. For more information including a schedule of events go to the tourist office located at 6 rue Auguste. Another venue for concerts, dance and opera is the Théâtre de Nîmes, 1 place de la Calade. For more information including a schedule of events clink on the link.

The Festival de Nimes takes place in July at the Arènes and features contemporary and popular musicians. 

Restaurants:

Le Jardin d’Hadrien, 11 rue Enclos-Rey Tele: 04 66 21 86 65. Southeastern regional cuisine. Moderate-Expensive. Lovely outdoor garden. A good place to go for dinner, but lunch with wine might be a little pricey. The menu is posted outside, so you can check what types of dishes they offer along with prices before going in.

Cote Bleu, 12 Rue Grand Couvent Tele: 06 66 67 36 12. A great place to go for lunch. The prices are reasonable, and the food is good. The tables are setup in front on a quiet square. Popular with the locales. Located on the corner of Rue Grand Couvent and Rue Littre.    

NimesLe Bouchon et l’Assiette, 5bis rue de Sauve (near the Jardin de la Fontaine) Tele: 04 66 62 02 93. Seasonal dishes. Pleasant decor, elegant without being over the top. Closed all day Tuesday and Wednesday. Closed from mid July to mid August. Reasonably priced. They offer a lunch special - 17 Euros gets you an appetizer, main course and desert. With wine and bottle water you are probably looking at 25 to 30 Euros per person, which is still pretty good deal given the how good the food is and excellent service. For their dinner menu click on the link.

Aux Plaisirs des Halles, 4 rue Littre Tele: 04 66 36 01 02. Upscale bistro. The decor is contemporary and there is a dnning area set up in a wonderfully quaint courtyard. Innovative regional cuisine. Great food and a nice selection of wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Le Menu de Region for 27 Euros is good value. You get a preselected appetizer, main course and desert. For more food and a choice of dishes you can opt for La Ballade des Halles for 44 Euros. You get four courses. You can also order individual dishes, but I have found you get a better deal with the formulas. Usually I am able to find something I like. Only once or twice have I ordered à la carte. You can check out their menu on their website. 

Festivals:

Féria des Pentecote (held in May) and Féria des Vendanges (held in September) - bullfights

St. Gilles-du-Gard

St. Gilles-du-GardAbout 20 kilometers south of Nimes. Definitely worth a trip if you have the time. It would be a shame not to visit since the Abbey it so close to Nimes. The Abbey of St-Gilles has an exquisite facade which dates back to the 12th century, a prime example of Provencal school. Even though the facade has been damaged over the centuries the carvings are still beautiful. In the 1870’s the architect Stanford White toured the South of France and was so impressed with the facade that later on in his career he based his design of the facade of St. Bartholomews in New York City on the facade of St-Gilles. In addition, the crypt and the ruins of the apse and choir of the much larger original church are also worth a look. Situated in the town’s center (narrow streets). Keep a lookout for a sign that says “Monuments from the 12th century”. For some reason the sign does not say Abbey of St-Giles. Try to park along the main street and walk the rest of the way.  

Pont St-Esprit

Pleasant little town overlooking the mighty Rhone river with a fabulous market. Most of the bridge that the town gets its name from was erected between 1265 and 1309. I believe 19 out of the 25 arches are original. On Saturdays there is a huge market that should not be missed. The stalls line the main streets and the selection of goods will make any die hard shopper’s mouth water. Don’t forget to bring a large basket. There is also a 15th century church to explore along with several museums and an incredible view of the Rhone. After spending the morning doing your shopping, you can sit down at one of the outdoor cafes for a leisurely lunch. For an excursion in the area see La Roque-sur-Ceze on this page. 

The Pont-du-Gard and the surrounding area

Pont Du GardThe area around the Roman aqueduct is popular for swimming and kayaking. The web site (in English) for the Office of Tourism for the Pont du Gard includes a listing of leisure activities, festivals and news and information on the Gordes of the Gardon River. For those interested there is a museum with a multimedia exhibition on the Pont-du-Gard.

For information on renting canoes and kayaks go to Canoe France. Once on the site click on the Gardon.   

Collias is located down from the Pont-du-Gard along the river. There is a beach, places to rent kayaks and walking and biking trails that go along the Gardon river from the Pont-du-Gard to the Pont-St-Nicolas offering some incredible views.

Near the Pont-du-Gard is the park and gardens (English and French) of Château de Saint-Privat, renaissance castle still a private residence. Several of the rooms decorated in the Louis XIII style are included on the the tour. There is a 18th century chapel that was redecorated at the beginning of the 20th century to commemorate those killed in the First World War. For 2013 opening times and for the telephone number to make a reservation click on the link.

Castillon-du-Gard

Is a quaint hilltop village with a beautiful Romanesque chapel, St-Caprais. In the summer concerts are performed in the church. A hop,skip and a jump from the Pont-du-Gard. 

Sommieres

Is a lovely village located off the road (N110) that links Montpellier with  Ales. You will cross a bridge built by Tiberius between AD 19 and 31. The 12thLanguedoc century square, Marche-Bas, is the perfect place to have lunch. The view on a clear sunny day from the partly destroyed Chateau de Sommieres of the valley is quite beautiful. The British writer Lawrence Durrell spent his last years living in Sommieres and there is a exhibition spaced name after him called Espace Lawrence Durrell that hosts temporary exhibitions. On Saturday there is a large market. For information including events, restaurants and so fourth the Office of Tourism (English version). 

If you have the time the Chateau de Villevieille is nearby (about a mile away). The chateau is still owned by the family that bought it in 1527. Unique in that the chateau was not destroyed nor the furniture sold off during the revolution due to the family’s friendship with Voltaire and Mirabeau.

The area also produced an excellent olive oil, Moulin du Vieilleville.    

St-Quentin-la-Poterie 

The village has become well known for their exquisite pottery. Be sure to stop by the Maison de la Terre, 14 rue de la Fontaine Tele: 04 66 22 74 48, to view the work of some of the local ateliers and to pick up a guide that includes a map of the village with the locations of the different ateliers. You will also find this information on their website under Les Ateliers de Cermanique along with calendar of events. The site is only in French.

At the foot of the village there is a large parking lot (place au marché) where you can park your car and walk up to the village. If you are coming from Uzes, the parking lot is off of the rue d’Uzes (D23). The main part of village will be in front of you elevated on a hill. You will turn left on Avenue du 14 Juillet and the parking lot will be on the right side. Of course there are other parking lots dotted around the village. I find this one the most convenient and it is the largest. Map of the village that shows all the parking areas. The site is only in French, but the map is easy to understand and you might find other useful information about St-Quetin-la-Poterie on the website.

Shops

The Musee de la Poterie Mediterranean, 14, rue de la Fontaine Maison de la Terre Tele: 04 66 03 65 86. h\Has an eclectic collection of pottery from  over he Mediterranean and definitely worth a peek.

 The Galerie Terra Viva, 14 rue de la Fontaine Tele; tel: 04 66 22 48 78. Sells contemporary pottery, artwork and jewelry.

Nathalie Hubert, 73 Grand'Rue Tele: 04 66 22 07 59. I liked the colors and quality of the pottery so much I ended with an entire set of dishes (dinner plates, soup bowls and salad bowls). Originally I started out with one small serving bowl for fruit such a figs. Buying pottery can be addictive.

Lilou Milcent, Place de la Mairie Tele: 04 66 03 26 54. I started out buying two just dessert bowls. They are blue and white, with an iris at the bottom and look like porcelain. They are exquisite. This small purchase has grown to six dessert bowls, a tea pot, a sugar bowl, milk and water jug; not to mention a cutest wine coaster with a face of cat.

There are so many other talented potters in the village it is difficult to decide what to buy. Each one is unique and have their own colors they like to use. I am rather partial to blue which is why I like Lilou Milcent's work so much.

Restaurants:

La Table de l’Horloge, Place de l’Horlogue Tele: 04 66 22 07 01. Intimate with lots of charm. Moderately to expensive. The menu changes daily. The food and ambiance are worth the money. For more information including the menu click on the link. Reservations strongly  recommended.

Uzes

UzesOne of the loveliest towns in France. In 1962 it was designated a vill d’art. The big market day is Saturday. In addition there are several other markets held during the week. There are also festivals held throughout the year. I like to arrive early on Saturday for the market because the market and Uzes in general have become quite popular in recent years making finding a parking space sometimes difficult. By arriving early I find I have less difficulty. Below is a photo I took the Spring of 08 when there was an art fair being held in the Place aux Herbes. Uzes

The tourist office is located at Chapelle des Capucins, Place Albert 1er. From June 1st to September 30th the hours of operation are 9 am - 6 pm Monday through Friday. Saturday, Sunday and Public holidays 10 am - 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm. Open until 7 pm during the months of July and August. From October 1st to May 31st. The hours of operation are 9 am - 12:30 pm and 2 pm - 6 pm Monday through Friday. On Saturday 10 am - 1 pm. Closed Sundays, November 1st and 11th, December 25th, January 1st, May 1st and 8th. You can pick up a complimentary copy of The Uzes and Uzege Tourist Office Guide, which has information on restaurants, shopping, local attractions, markets and so fourth. You can also pickup a walking tour with map of the town that and gives background information on all the major attractions. Available in English.

UzesA good book for those who are interested in walking and hiking routes in the Gard is the TopoGuides Le Gard...a pied. It features 53 walks and excursions. Another guide that also includes driving tours and walks for older people and children is Dans le Gard - Des balades (rambles) pour petits et grands. Both books are available at the newsstand down from the Office de Tourisme on the Blvd Gambetta. I checked Amazon.fr and at this time the books are not available. As I mention on the main page of GoingEuro - Southern France Stanfords Bookshop in London also sells TopoGuides. When I was in the Gard Tourist office in Nimes, 3 place des Arenes in Nimes I picked up a fold out map, Gard the hikers destination that lists the GR trails along with suggested routes. It gave me an overview of the different hikes/walks around the Gard. 

There are several shops where for a small fee you can access the internet. Check with the tourist office for an up-to-date list.

You can visit the castle of the Duke of Uzes, which you cannot help to notice since it sits practically in the middle of town and towers over nearby buildings. Fun for both kids and adults. For more information including opening times go to  http://www.duche-uzes.fr/en/chateau/histoire.php

Nearby there is a golf course Le Golf Club d’Uzes and a water park La Bouscarasse

Festivals and Events:

January -  Uzes Truffle Day takes place the 3rd Sunday in the place aux Herbes.

June - Festival de la Nouvelle Danse (modern dance festival) and Festival of Garlic. For more information click on the link (French only).

July - Les Nuits Musicales d’Uzes (Renaissance and Baroque music festival). For more information click on the link (French only).

The Uzes Office of Tourism has a website where you can find information on restaurants, a more complete list of festivals/events and so on, go to www.uzes-tourisme.com. There is an English version of the site.

Restaurants:

Le Renaissance, 6 place aux herbes, Tele: 04 66 03 11 82. Right on the main square this quaint restaurant oozes atmosphere. Great place to go for lunch after the market. The salads and pizzas are excellent!  

Le Vieux Café d'Aniathazze, 1 Boulevard Gambetta, Tele: 04 66 03 36 80. Brasserie/bar/cafe. Wonderful pizzas and large salads. For a somewhat light meal two people you can split a salad and pizza. Right across the street the Tourist Office in the Place Albert 1st. Outdoor seating. Casual and a nice place to stop in just for a drink or Café Crème and just hang out.

La Taverne, Rue Sigalon Tele: 04 6 22 47 08. Moderately priced. There is a lovely back garden for dinning during warm weather. The vaulted ceiling and soft colors make for a delightful evening. All the dishes are made with fresh ingredients.

Listing of restaurants in Uzes .

Between Ales and Uzes on the D981 (a few miles before you get to Uzes) is a restaurant, l’Olivier in the village of Serviers. Definitely upscale, but worth every penny. Excellent service and food is a gastronomic delight. Check out the menu on the website. If you were planning on having at least one fancy meal this is the place to go.   

Shops

L'Escale des Gourmets, 18 r Jacques d'Uzès Tele: 04 66 37 36 99. Gourmet food items including a selection of teas from Mariage Frères in Paris.

Sud étoffe La maison de Provence, 15 place aux herbes. Linens including napkins and tableclothes in traditional Provencal designs and colors. This is where I bought my first tableclothe, set of matching napkins and these cute little napkin rings with a cicada from southern France. Since then I have bought several more sets of napkins from this shop. Wonderful linens and friendly service.

Atzana Sarl, 5 Place Albert 1er, Tele: 33 4 66 22 50 42. Modern/Contemporary houseware including soft furnishings such as glasses.

Vezenobres 

FranceIs a beautifully preserved medieval hilltop village (the highest point is 219 meters) overlooking the gardons of Ales and Anduze. Several hiking paths runo through the village. You will find information about these trails at the tourist office in the village. For more on this village go to www.cdt-gard.fr/ot/vezenobres/. Across from the marie (major’s office) there is  a bar/cafe where you can pop in for a coffee or drink, purchase postcards and pickup a free walking tour (in English) that points out some of the more interesting architectural aspects of the buildings in the village and provides a brief history of Vezenobre. At the ofVezenobres October there is Fig Festival.

 

Restaurants:

Au Grenier d’Aladin, Place de la Mairie Tele: 04 66 83 50 24. Moderately priced. Seasonal regional cuisine. Lunch/Dinner. Great food and exceptional service. Closed Mondays. During warmer months you can eat al fresco on the beautiful little square with a fountain. When there is a nip in the air you will find a warm fire waiting for you inside. Reservations definitely advisable. Below is a photo of the restaurant.

Le Relais Sarrasin, on the D936 (below the medieval village) Tele: 04 66 83 55 55. Moderately priced. Regional cuisine. Located in the local Logis (hotel). Excellent food and service.

Auberge le saint Just, route de Vacquieres Tele: 04 66 83 72 02. Incredible food, really friendly service and moderately priced. The owner Alain Antoine (originally from Belgium) greets and waits on the customers while his wife, Martine is the chef. One of the great things about France is these true and authentic “mom and pop” establishments. For two people including wine it cost about 92 Euros and worth every penny. Of special note is the Filet de bœuf aux cèpes de Lozère (the mushrooms used in the delicious dish come from the Cevennes). Directions from the Mas: going towards Uzes on the D981 from Ales, turn left when you get to the D7 and go north towards St-Just-et-Vacquieres. Before you get to the village make a right on the D339.