The Pays d’Uzes and Pont du Gard area is a slightly lesser known (but nonetheless beautiful) part of Provence. Situated in the department of the Gard, the area boasts several wonderful villages and small towns, is steeped in history and would be the perfect place to buy a holiday home.
Provence can be expensive, yes, but the department of the Gard offers better value for money and has as much to offer as the more expensive departments, such as the Var and Bouches du Rhone. Uzes itself is an utterly charming small town, full of life, buzzy restaurants, cafes and small boutique stores.
The region is also dominated by the sensational Pont du Gard. Built by the Romans way back in the first century and at some 50 metres high over 3 levels, this is the tallest aqueduct bridge in the world.
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Let us look at 5 places, all of them in the department of the Gard and many of which you may not have heard of. All have magical qualities and are at least worth a long visit, if not somewhere to buy property!
Uzes is an incredibly pretty small town with a whole lot going on. It was once a thriving trading centre in linen and silk, but of course, it also known for being close to the Pont du Gard from where water used to be delivered. It lies around 25km from Nimes.
There is plenty to see and do here: there is a beautiful palace, cathedral and some incredible mansion type houses. The town is dominated by its medieval square where you are spoilt for choice in terms of restaurants and cafes. Uzes is known for its excellent choice of different world foods, which is fairly rare for a small town in France. There is also a superb farmer’s market each Wednesday and Saturday.
Property prices are higher than average here but still less than other parts of Provence. A budget of around €300,000 will afford you a 2-3 bedroom property with some outside space, a small distance outside the town.
Aramon is another small, very pretty village located along the west bank of the river Rhone near Avignon. It consists of a series of little cobbled streets and medieval and Roman remains. This is a popular village with the French and despite its small size, it hosts a lovely market on Wednesdays and Sundays.
At the centre of the village is a fountain and cafe and there are a few basic shops. Its charm lies in the fact that it is quiet and steeped in history.
You can find some lovely rural properties outside of Aramon at around €250,000.
Provence can be expensive, yes, but the department of the Gard offers better value for money and has as much to offer as the more expensive departments.
Collias is a little village of around 1,000 inhabitants situated near Uzes, Avignon and Nimes. It lies on the bank of the river Gardon and is very popular with outdoors enthusiasts for its hiking, swimming, rock climbing and kayaking.
There are some stunning stone houses, tiny squares and of course an ancient church. The whole place is utterly enchanting.
Again, property prices tend to be on the higher side but there is a variety of house styles to be found in the surrounding area, starting from around €300,000.
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Lussan is a rather spectacular medieval village with a 15th century castle, well worth a visit. It is on the official “most beautiful villages in France” list and is situated about 19kms north of Uzes. It is a small village, largely pedestrianised, but you can park just outside and wander in through the ancient village walls. This is a wonderful place to explore on foot. The centre of the village consists of tiny cobbled streets and ancient stone houses. Walking around the ramparts of the village, you will find some spectacular views across the countryside.
There are a few charming little bistro restaurants here serving traditional food and local wines.
Property in the actual village is hard to come by but there are some lovely properties located nearby, from modern villas to old houses. Again, expect to pay a minimum of €300,000 for a 2-3 bedroom house.
Vers-Pont-du-Gard is a medieval village situated close to Uzes and the Pont du Gard. It is striking to look at since it is built from orange limestone, which since Roman times has been quarried in this area.
Another charming village with 3 ancient “lavoirs” (wash houses), this is a slightly busier place with a weekly market. Some of the little shops are even open on Sundays, which is very rare in France. The Pont du Gard dominates the village and thus it gets quite busy during the summer months with tourists from around the world.
There is plenty of property to choose from on the outskirts of the village from around €250,000.
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The climate in the department of the Gard, like the rest of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, is Mediterranean. This means very hot summers when the temperature reaches around 40 centigrade in July and August, golden warm autumns, cold (but not freezing) winters and fresh, warm weather in springtime. The area is known for its year round sunshine.
Access from the UK
There are regular flights from various airports in the UK to Nimes, Montpellier, Perpignan and a little further east to Marseille and Nice.
The Pays d’Uzes is a superb area to visit or in which to buy property, with something to offer everyone from ancient history to sporting activities, great food and wines and real French village life.
The Pont du Gard itself is an incredible feat of engineering and it would be easy to plan a trip to all of the above villages, making the bridge a central point.
The area has all of the charm of Provence but not so much of the glitz and glamour, thus is an ideal location for a holiday or in which to search for an authentic French home!