Between Alès, Nimes and Avignon, the discreet but oh so elegant town of Uzes has preserved in its centre much evidence of its rich past.
Encircled by the Boulevard Gambetta, the Medieval town is a maze of small streets and shaded squares lined with 17th and 18th century private mansions.
Under the arcades of the Place aux Herbes and along the neighbouring streets a market takes places every Saturday whose reputation has for a long time stretched beyond the region. You will find a profusion of regional products, in the warm and colourful atmosphere of Provencal markets.
Just steps from the Place aux Herbes, the medieval garden, a little haven of peace, presents 450 varieties of edible and culinary, ornamental and medicinal plants that illustrate their importance in everyday life in the Middle Ages. There, you can admire works of contemporary art and climb the 100 steps of the King's Tower to enjoy striking views over Uzès.
The Duchy of Uzès designates a whole ensemble of monuments, property of the Crussol family of Uzès. History buffs will want to visit the Castle and isee ts gothic chapel with superb stained-glass windows, the cellar, some of the apartments with their furnishings dating from the reigns of Louis XIII to Louis XVI, the woodwork, chandeliers, tapestries and paintings. And if you have the energy, climb to the top of the Bermonde Tower, a primitive keep from the 11th century that also offers fine views over the town.
The Town Hall dates from the 18th century. Its southern façade is ornamented with pilasters and the inner courtyard is the venue for concerts in summer.
On the square Place de l'Evêché, the neo-Romanesque Saint-Théodorit Cathedral is quite interesting; it was added in 1870 because the previous cathedral was considered too poor. The interior houses the relics of Saint-Firmin and another treasure: the organ case framed by panels of painted wood. One of the oldest in the country, this case dates from 1670.
The Uzès Tower is very pretty and the more discreet Fenestrelle Tower, another symbol of Uzès, is the sole example in France of a cylindrical bell tower. It is the only remaining vestige of the original romanesque cathedral of Saint-Théodorit, destroyed in 1563 by the Protestants. The esplanade offers beautiful views over the surrounding countryside.
Elegant and austere, the former Bishop's Palace today houses the tribunal and the Georges Borias Museum of which the collections retrace the history of Uzès from prehistoric times to the present.
A stone's throw from the town centre, the valley of the Eure provides for a nice and relaxing moment in a verdant setting with picnic areas, a fitness trail, a playground and a soccer field. You will see there the ruins of the draining basin for the Roman aqueduct that supplied water to the city of Nîmes.
Horse lovers might want to visit the National Stud Farm of Uzès and lovers of sweets could head to the HARIBO candy museum.
View over Uzès from the keep of the Bermonde Tower
The entrance to the duke's palace of Uzès and the enamelled roof tiles of the gothic chapel
The duke's palace of Uzès, Renaissance façade of the main building of the castle
Promenade at the top of the Bermonde Tower in Uzès
The market on the Place aux Herbes in Uzès
Doors of private mansions in Uzès: 1 Rue St Etienne and Place aux Herbes
The Saint Théodorit Cathedral and Fenestelle Tower in Uzès
Picturesque shops in the streets of Uzès
Office de Tourisme Pays d'Uzès - Chapelle des Capucins - Place Albert 1er - 30700 Uzès
+33(0)4 66 22 68 88http://www.uzes-tourisme.com/