History flows through the picturesque streets of charming Uzès, strategically situated between Nîmes, Avignon and Alès. Wander around the small town nicknamed ‘French Tuscany’ and deliberately get lost in the labyrinth of narrow, medieval streets. You will find many restaurants and two weekly markets for some refined refuelling. Also, being labelled as Art and History town, you will come across a lot of lovely boutiques and galleries.
What better way to visit the dukedom of Uzès than by starting with the Duché d’Uzès? It’s not difficult to find this imposing Ducal castle on the Place du Duché. Uzès became the first duchy of France in 1632. The castle, built on an ancient Roman camp, has military origins. The keep’s tower, the ‘Tour Bermonde’, the ramparts and the corner towers were built to withstand attacks from enemies. However, the Duché was never attacked, and that’s why it is so well preserved. You can visit the exterior and climb the Tour Bermonde on your own (13 euros pp). Or you can go on a guided tour to see part of the furnished apartments (20 euros per adult, 7 to 14 euros per child from 7 to 16 years old).
Place aux Herbes
When in Uzès, you cannot skip the Place aux Herbes. It’s one of the most beautiful squares in the South of France. Some majestic plane trees surround the square, providing some welcome shade in the summer. The historic facades of the medieval houses have arched vaults underneath them that host many restaurant terraces. Twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the square turns into a bustling open-air market. It’s a true feast for foodies like myself. And obviously, I plan most of my visits to Uzès on a market day. My tip is to go early though, especially when you’re visiting in summer. Park your car whenever you see a spot and follow the crowd to get to the market square.
From the Place aux Herbes, I continued my way through the maze of little streets. On my map, I had spotted a medieval garden on the Rue Port Royal. Entering the passageway brought me to a true haven of peace. After paying the entrance fee of 6 euros (free for children under 12 years old), I could explore this surprising site at my own pace. The walled garden is nestled between the Tour du Roi (the King’s Tower) and the Tour de l’Evêque (the Bishop’s Tower). Together with the Tour Bermonde, these three towers tell the story of the three rival powers of Uzès. In 1995, the IN SITU association created the medieval garden. Their aim is to keep the historical heritage alive as a botanical garden and exhibition space. The view from the King’s tower is as amazing as the one from the Bermond tower.
Although Uzès’ history dates back to the Romans, most of the town’s centre is medieval. There still is a remnant of the classical era, though. Following the Rue Saint-Théodorit brought me to what is said to be the origin of Uzès: the fountain of Saint-Théodorit. I have to say the fountain itself somewhat disappointed me, as it’s hidden behind a fence and you can’t get near. However, I still think it is worth going to this place if only to walk through maybe the prettiest street in Uzès.