My husband Bill and I were guests of the Gard Tourisme Office for a five day tour of this beautiful, but mainly undiscovered region of France. Although we have
Oh, what a wonderful trip! We stayed at some great hotels and B&Bs and visited some lovely towns. Click on the links to learn more about each spot. We began our visit in Beaucaire, a small town with a longstanding love affair with bulls and French-style bullfighting. We were there during a heritage celebration and enjoyed watching people dressed in the traditional garb of the region reenacting village life of long ago.
We stayed one night in Le Grau du Roi and had our first Thalassotherapy experience. We had no idea that this area, set right in the Petit Camargue, is a major resort area; it reminded me of many of Florida’s beach resorts.
The nearby walled city of Aigues Mortes (dead waters) and its castle held lots of surprises. Built in about 102 BC, and re-built by King Louis IX of France in the 13th century; Aigues Mortes was, at one time, France’s only Mediterranean port. Both the Seventh Crusade (1248) and the Eighth Crusade (1270) embarked from this historic town.
This was also our first visit to the famous Pont du Gard. This well-preserved Roman aqueduct transported great quantities of water from a spring at Uzes to Nimes, a popular retirement community for Roman soldiers. In an upcoming post, we’ll give you a little history of the Pont du Gard and some little-known facts. You’ll definitely want to visit yourself.
Although we had visited Nimes a long time ago, we were taken aback by how well the town preserved its Roman grandeur. We were also treated to wonderful meals and a fantastic lunch of traditional foods of the region; it was our first taste of bull.
We had heard that Uzes would be a real treat, and it certainly was. From our gorgeous and authentic hotel, to the Duc’s palace to the open-air market, we were blown away by the extraordinary architecture and authenticity of Uzes. It is truly a must-see, and I’ll tell you why in a future post.
The varied landscape of the Gard helps to define it. The low marshes of the Camargue are home to Pink Flamingos, Egrets, and migratory bird life of all kinds. It is also where black bulls roam freely before the gardians (cowboys) select certain bulls for bull fights throughout the region. The Camargue’s salt water marshes are also the site of the sea salt industry; special salts are harvested in this area. As you travel further inland, the terrain becomes hilly with distinctive geologic formations caused by the ancient rivers eroding the rocky land. In the northwest part of the Gard, you will find the Cevannes, an area of deep valleys and winding rivers, perfect for hiking and the exploration of the ruins of ancient abbeys and Roman artifacts.
The Gard is a very special place in the South of France.
Written by Terri Fogarty for EuropeUpClose.com