Uzes Tourist Attractions
Pont du GardThe little town of Uzès is actually situated beyond the boundaries of Provence, some 40km/25mi west of Avignon. It has a picturesque situation above the wooded valley of the Alzon. The town center with its narrow streets and alleys is surrounded by a ring of boulevards shaded by plane trees.The best facilities for parking are on the broad Esplanade on the western edge of the Old Town.
Place aux Herbes
In Uzès, a short way east of the Esplanade is the Place aux Herbes, the beautiful main square of the town, shaded by plane trees and adorned by its fountain, which is mainly overgrown. All round the square are medieval houses with arcades. On Saturdays the market takes place here.
Uzès Château Ducal
The former castle of the Dukes of Uzès was built in various stages from the 11th to the 17th C., but was again altered in the 19th C. In the inner courtyard the Renaissance facade between the keep and the chapel tower deserves particular attention; it is divided by pillars and decorated with relief medaillons. There is a good panorama from the Tour Bermonde (the tower was certainly built in the 11th C. but did not receive its balustrade until 1839).
Hôtel de Ville
In Uzès, the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) was erected in 1773 under Louis XVI. The facade facing the castle still shows the elegance of time when it was built, while the north front, where the main entrance is situated, was renewed about 1900. The facades of the courtyard are broken up by pillars. The view of the ducal castle through the wrought-iron grille is delightful.
In Uzès, opposite the northeast corner of the Château Ducal is the entrance to the so-called "crypt", an Early Christian cult chamber hacked out of the rock. On the walls in half-relief are the figures of John the Baptist and an Orans (a figure praying with outstretched arms).
The Palais Episcopal is the former Bishop's Palace (Place de l'Evêché). Today the lawcourts and the library are situated here and in the second story is the Musée d'Art et de Tradition de l'Uzège (Museum of Art and History of the region of Uzès) with exhibits of art, ethnology, prehistory and natural history, as well as mementos of the writer André Gide, whose family originated from Uzès.
In Uzès, by the bishop's palace stands the Cathedral of St-Théodorit dating from the 17th and 19th centuries; the previous building was destroyed during the Wars of Religion. The present facade was not added until the 19th century.
Cathedral Tour Fenestrelle
The most interesting part of the medieval cathedral in Uzés is the round Tour Fenestrelle ("Window Tower"), a 42m/138ft high belfry, erected in the 12th C. on a Lombardian model. Its six stories, which seem to become lighter as they ascend, are divided up by varyingly shaped arches, which from the second floor upwards have windows. Since it served at that time as a watch tower, the building escaped destruction by the Albigenses.
Hôtel du Baron de Castille
In Uzès, opposite the bishop's palace stands the Hôtel du Baron de Castille, a classical building with an elegant pillared facade (18th C.).
Address: 2 place de l'Evêché, F-30700 Uzès, France
On the southern edge of the Uzès Old Town, in the Boulevard Victor-Hugo, is the Church of St-Etienne, a large Baroque building (1765-78). The tower standing alongside, with a square design, dates from the 13th C.
In Uzès, Musée 1900 at Arpaillargues displays an attractive collection of old cars, motor-bikes, carriages, agricultural tools and machines, as well as cameras and toys.
Haras (stud-farm) founded in 1972, the Haras d'Uzès is one of 23 French national stud farms and has in excess of 70 horses of different breeds, including Arab and English. It is also used by long-distance horse riders.
Address: Frédéric, F-56400 Brech, France
Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard, an outstandingly well-preserved Roman aqueduct, bestrides the River Gard near the village of Remoulins about 25km/16mi west of Avignon. In summer access from Remoulins is only possible along the left bank of the Gard (one-way street).The Pont du Gard is a 49m/160ft high and 275m/300yd long aqueduct, spanning the deeply incised Valley of the Gard or Gardon. Probably built about 19 B.C. by Agrippa, the son-in-law and co-regent of the Emperor Augustus, the three-tiered construction is one of the greatest and best-preserved Roman monuments. With the exception of the topmost row, the arches are of varying widths (getting narrower from the middle outwards) and the whole structure is asymmetrical, because of the differing gradients of the two banks. In this way any kind of dull monotony is avoided. It is possible and well worth while to walk along the covered channel on the topmost row of arches, though this is only advisable for those with a head for heights. Through this channel ran the pipeline (some 50km/30mi long) taking water to Nîmes. A height difference of only 17m/56ft was possible between the water source and the distribution pipes. It is estimated that 20,000cu.m/700,000cu.ft of water flowed across the aqueduct each day. The road bridge at the same height as the first story was added in 1743.The plan to build a "theme park" around the aqueduct has been halted, thanks to campaigns in the press and from public pressure groups. Hotels, restaurants, reconstructions of Roman buildings and parking lots were to have been built at great expense. Instead plans have been restricted to creating the necessary minimum infrastructure for the two million visitors, who come each year (a cultural-historical trail, parking lots at wide intervals), in order to counteract uncontrolled parking and a profileration of souvenir stalls and snack stands.Vast areas of land around the Pont du Gard are covered with garrigue. Garrigue, also "garigue", in Provençal "garoulia", is mainly to be found on rocky chalk soil. This thorny scrub does not grow much over 50cm/20in. high and consists of box, thistles, oak, gorse and aromatic herbs such as thyme, lavender, sage and rosemary; hyacinths, irises, tulips and orchids also grow alongside.
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