Welcome to Gard
If you would like to discover a territory that is privileged just by its geographical location on Earth, Gard is ideal for you. It is located in the Occitania geographical region, between the Massif Central, the Mediterranean, the Rhone valley and Languedoc-Roussillon.
This department was created during the French Revolution and rivers such as the Gardon, the Hérault and the Ardèche pass by it. It also has the highest peak, Mont Aigoual, which can be reached by car.
It is, nonetheless, also true that this region has been severely flooded and due to its geographical location, it has experienced some of the highest temperatures ever recorded in French history in recent years.
Explore the region
In the 19th century Gard was a commercial territory, especially the prefecture, for the textile industry. It was one of the first regions that benefitted from the development of the railway, becoming an important railway junction.
The department is the origin of a significant number of activities related to the soil and subsoil, so the agricultural areas are used for the cultivation of vines, cereals and the growing of fruit (including chestnuts) and vegetables, but mineral resources such as gold, silver or coal and mineral resources such as cement, marble or sea salt are also used.
It is important to highlight the district of Port-Camargue in the bay of Aigues-Mortes, the first marina in Europe today and the second in the world. There is a lot of information and recommendations available on how to get there, since the only way to access it is through a canal.
About the region
The department is full of tourist attractions and incredible views because it is located in a predominantly natural enclave in the south of France. It has several cities that are worth visiting at least once in your life.
This is the case of the most important one here, Nîmes, famous for the large number of well-preserved Roman remains such as the amphitheatre La Arena de Nîmes or the Maison Carrée, a Roman temple dedicated to the imperial worship of ancient Rome.
Aiguèze, one of the most beautiful villages in France, is a medieval site with sights and views to the Ardèche Gorges. This little corner fascinates all those who come nearby with its streets and stone-built houses, as well as its square full of trees.
And Alès, the second most populated town in Gard after Nîmes and one of the winners of the "Concours des Villes et Villages Fleuris" thanks to the constant care of its fields and flowers. There are public buildings of interest here such as the Sommet de l'Ermite, the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the Musée de la Mine Témoin, where you will be able to learn about the history of coalmining.
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Where to sleep
As per usual, there are several options to complete your stay in France and the best way to start looking for accommodation is usually to start doing so from the best known or most important city. In this case, we’re talking about Nîmes.
There is no lack of accommodation offer here to satisfy for all preferences and kinds of people. Because it is such a touristic place, different types of residences have had to be expanded to accommodate the needs of visitors who come looking with something specific in mind.
However, cities like Grau-du-Roi, or Uzès are also good options to look for accommodation and enjoy a pleasant stay. Not only in the infinity of hotels you will find here, but also in campings, tourist residences or country houses available.
What to do
A good place to visit is La Camargue, also in the south, where you can do and see what you want. It is famous for its protected natural areas, its horse and bull farms and all the sports that can be practiced here such as hiking or horseback riding.
The Cévennes National Park is located in the area of the same name and is based in Florac. Here you will find the Aven Armand, a stone cave known for its stalagmite which is over 30 metres high.
Then in Uzès, at the source of the Alzon, a Roman aqueduct was built to supply the city of Nîmes with water. The most famous part of this aqueduct is the Pont du Gard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which carried fresh water through magnificent arches on the river Gardon and is a must see of this area.
What to eat
The first speciality of Gardese cuisine that stands out is the porc à la cévenole, a pork dish made with local products such as onions, chestnuts and mushrooms, as well as other vegetable products like olives or carrots.
The second speciality is the cod brandade, known mainly in Nîmes and Alès, where this comfort warm dish is created. It is a dish made with cod and olive oil but, the funny thing about this dish is that it always needs a salt adjustment at the end.
In the past, access to the market was not as easy as it is nowadays. That is why, after this improvement, professions such as wine growing were improved. Although in the 19th century many winegrowers were ruined by phylloxera, this region is now one of the best known for its wine production. The most famous of them is the Cévennes.
Gard is most definitely not a place where one cannot find any local festivities to spend an unforgettable stay, but quite the contrary. The best known of them in this region is the Fête Votive. Traditional to the south of France, it takes place every year in summer to pay tribute to the patron saint of towns and cities.
In addition, a day dedicated to local products is held on the 20th of October on the Place du Colombier in Genolhac. It is a knowledge tour around local products such as wines, cheeses, onions and others produce that you will not regret learning more about.
To finish, you have the Fête Medievale, organised by the association Au Siècle d'En Temps which lasts two days and is held in Brignon. What you will find here are elements and exhibitions related to the French medieval world from the 11th to the 15th century. That is to say, knights, brotherhoods and craft activities.