The Vallée de l’Eure lies at the feet of the medieval town of Uzès in the Gard department. And it’s the ideal spot for a walk combined with a picnic, a favourite Sunday outing for many ‘uzétiens’. Therefore, when my family and I were on holiday in the area, we decided to explore this beautiful natural sight to enjoy some glorious autumn colours. You can do several hikes, from a couple of kilometres to well over ten. Or just spread your picnic blanket and play a game of petanque.
The Eure Valley is a place drenched in history. It’s at this exact spot that a 50 kilometre long roman aqueduct started, built in the first century AD. Via the Fontaine d’Eures, situated on the banks of the Alzon river, the water ran through numerous tunnels and bridges, like the well-known Pont du Gard. The Eure spring mostly supplied Nîmes’ fountains and baths for a couple of centuries. At the Visorando website, I had found a round trail. It mentioned being 14.5 kilometres in 5 hours, starting at the Vallée de l’Eure parking just outside Uzès. The first part brought us along the Alzon river with reflections of the abundant fall foliage. I had told the kids that we would walk to the viewpoint at the ‘table d’orientation’. On the way, we had a great view of Uzès and all its lined towers.
However, while having a short break at the viewpoint, I discovered that the map on the Visorando app was interactive. It showed us exactly where we were and which way to go! Our children hate it when we get lost (which happens occasionally) and therefore are reluctant to go on a hike with us. But with this interactive map, we couldn’t go wrong. Although it took some time to convince the brood to walk the complete trail, we finally continued the path. Along the way, we found many signs indicating the next destination, but our hike didn’t have a specific name. Therefore, we checked the Visorando map regularly, keeping us on the right track. From the ‘table d’orientation’, we followed the signs to ‘les Planes – le bas’. It led us through the municipal forest of Uzès, including a path along several ‘capitelles’, small huts made out of stones without using mortar.
After the capitelles, we followed the signs to Saint-Maximin. Looking at the Visorando map, we soon discovered this wasn’t the way for our trail, so we went back and followed a signless path. Soon enough, we were back on the yellow-marked trail, with the kids slightly cross because we were lost- once again… Following Uzès brought us in the right direction, with a detour via the Chemin du Mazet. Long stone walls and another capitelle marked this pleasant path. Finally, we arrived in Uzès via the Chemin André Gide, right at the Saint-Théodorit d’Uzès cathedral and its remarkable Fenestrelle tower.
Instead of going into town, we took a shortcut to the Parc du Duché with a nice playground. Fallen leaves covered the earth, and the majestic trees along the Alzon river were reflected in the water. Luckily, the children’s highlight of the walk was at the end, namely a wobbly monkey bridge to cross the river. To me, the Vallée de l’Eure had more points of interest. I loved the variation of landscapes- from riverside to forest and garrigue- as well as the surprises along the way, like the capitelles and the walled path. The Visorando app sure helped us to complete the hike, as the signs weren’t always obvious. In the end, we had walked about 13 kilometres in 4.5 hours (including some detours). With another wonderful hike in our legs, the kids- and Chéri and I- definitely had earned our apéro!