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Lussan, a character village
Montclus, one of the most beautiful villages of France
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The Gard has three of the most beautiful villages of France (Plus beaux villages de France) on its territory. Even better, all three are almost next-door neighbours in the northeast corner of the department. On the border with the Ardèche River, the 11th century fortress of Aiguèze overlooks one bank, while on the other lie Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards. The medieval village of Montclus stands out from afar because of its square dungeon, the only remnant of the ancient castle. Located on the Cèze, it’s not far from the rounded arches of the lovely Pont du Moulin. Then, a few kilometres downstream, La Roque-sur-Cèze, garbed in stone from village home to village lane, rises near the vineyards above the river and the unruly but fascinating Sautadet waterfalls.
Three places have been listed as Villages de caractère thanks to their efforts to enrich their heritage, each one as lovely as the next. Barjac is the most southerly, between the rivers Cèze and Ardèche, rimmed by the Cévennes mountains. This Renaissance city, hosting two reputed antique fairs and a number of highly-active associations, is known for its commitment to sustainable development. Just a little further south, the village of Lussan, nestling on a rocky outcropping protected by ramparts, unfurls its wings of lanes and tidy homes around a charming central square. Further southward, Vézénobres is also a high-nested town. Its medieval district has preserved old world charm, in part due to the beautiful Romanesque dwellings that are linked together by steep little streets called “endrounes” here. Its fig canning plant and the fig-themed celebrations taking place in August and October make it even more attractive to visitors.
As to Nîmes, Uzès and Beaucaire, all three have received the Ville d’art et d’histoire label that lauds very significant commitments to enhancement of heritage sites. Nîmes, capital of the Gard area, combines some of the most beautiful vestiges of Roman France (Arènes, Maison Carrée, Temple de Diane, Tour Magne, Achilles and Pentheus mosaics…) with 17th and 18th century marvels (Jardins de la Fontaine, private mansions…) and emblematic contemporary representations (Sir Norman Foster’s Carré d’Art Museum, Jean Nouvel’s Nemausus housing development, Martial Raysse’s sculptures on Place d’Assas, Philippe Starck’s bus shelters, and Jean-Michel Wilmotte’s urban amenities).
Uzès, at one time France’s foremost duchy, seductively attracts us to its preserved district abounding with historical gems: cobblestoned lanes, glorious squares, fountains and rich Renaissance homes. The duke’s palace, the Tour Fenestrelle adjoining Saint Théodorit cathedral and the Tour du Roi are further points of high interest, just like the shops and markets.
Beaucaire, meanwhile, bears its name well: the city of “beautiful stones”. Situated on the banks of the Rhône, in medieval times the city was known worldwide for its fairs; today it charms us with its castle, quaint streets and lively quays.
To discover more, go to our INTERACTIVE MAP
To explore the Gard’s most beautiful villages while lounging in an easy chair, use your tablet or computer now to connect to the tourism agency’s virtual guided tours at: on-visite.com.
The villages of Barjac, Lussan and Vézénobre are the first ones featured on this new platform to assist you in preparing holidays or in stoking fond memories. Soon there will be other cities as well. Designed like another highly-popular app, it has highly visible arrows signposting your journey through different places. The various areas are peppered with videos highlighting local events. But you’re not at all obliged to wander. You can also use the pull-down menu to guide you directly to where you want to go. It’s simple teleporting, in brief !
To delve into the thousand and one beauties of the ducal city listed as Ville d’Art et d’Histoire, you certainly should attend “Tell me the story of Uzès”. This initiative consists of numerous live visits led by a conference guide. Theme-based itineraries, tours for children 6-12, and various conferences and activities help one explore a hundred heritage sites, with a modern point of view.
OR...continue your exploration of Gard County