Gard: Weekend away

Jo le Borgne (October 2007)

If you need a break I recommend the Gard. Those interested in the Romans should go to the beautiful medieval town of Uzès, for the beginning of the famous Roman viaduct that took water to Nîmes. You can, sadly I haven’t done it yet, walk the 6 hour route to the Pont du Gard following the trace of the viaduct. The museum at the Pont du Gard is very interesting and when the weather is nice, why not take a canoe or have a swim in the river?

The gorges du Gardon are splendid and, as it seems that you can only get there on foot or by canoe, very unspoilt. Don’t forget the wonderful medieval villages in the area, though sadly they used some of the stones from the viaduct to help build churches etc! For a change of style, the Haribo sweet museum outside Uzès is really well-done for young and old: you just feel better to have a child with you!

On the way home don’t miss, near the interesting town of Beaucaire, the Abbaye de Saint Roman – it is an amazing abbey cut out of the rock on the top of a hill overlooking the Rhone – or try wine produced the ‘Roman way’ at the Mas Gallo-Romain des Tourelles (ticket for one gives you free entrance to the other). In the area there is also Le Vieux Mas – a farm in early 20th century style with animals to look at and touch, a bit basic but informative!

If you can take 3 days don’t miss Arles (OK, this is back in the Bouches du Rhône) – so much to visit, I suggest you go to the tourist office first, buy the pass for the museums and sites, as it is much cheaper.

There is so much more to see – the waterfalls at Sautadet next to the beautiful village of La Roque-sur-Cèze near Bagnols sur Cèze, good swimming a bit down river. Further away is the Observatoire météo du mont Aigoual, a fascinating working weather station with a free museum, very child friendly!

Not so far from here is the exotic Bambouseraie, created in 1856 near Alès, where there is a mine to be visited. I’ve not mentioned Nîmes or the Perrier source because I haven’t visited them yet – they’ll have to wait for another time.

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