South of France – Uzes

We have enjoyed visiting Uzes for many years now. Like many lovers of France, we headed South in search of rolling fields of lavender, medieval towns and the history that saturates the region. Uzes is a jewel: an absurdly photogenic medieval town dating back to the 5th century with a classic town square, Place aux Herbes, replete with central fountain and surrounded by stone archways dotted with cafes and bistros.

Fab little antique shops are tucked away up little side streets and passageways all begging to be explored. The cherry on the cake is the Saturday farmer’s market which brings together local produce, local artisans, Uzes townsfolk and us seeking that authentic French experience. If you time it right, there is also an enormous brocante in a vacant lot walking distance from Place aux Herbes – just make sure you go with plenty of cash and enough French to haggle.

A pleasant discovery was that scenes of the 1990s film “Cyrano de Bergerac” starring Gérard Depardieu had been filmed in Uzes. I am an avid fan of Gérard: we stayed in Grand Hotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, for one of our Christmas getaways after seeing the film “Last Holiday” in a tent in a field in the Swiss alps. But that’s a story for another time…

During one Uzes summer visit we found ourselves in the stands of the local arena at midnight being entertained by a troupe of Spanish horsemen and women going through their paces. It was a particularly hot summer with late evening temperatures hovering around 30c so the show was a great distraction.

Uzes is well positioned for exploring the surrounding area. You’ll find the Pont du Gard less than 20mins drive away, a world heritage Roman aqueduct built in the 1st century. Take a gentle stroll across the aqueduct or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, rent a kayak in the Alzon river below. The Pont is our favourite spot for a picnic by the river on a balmy summer day – just add some cheese, a baguette and a bottle of Languedoc. Other must-see places are Nimes to the south (25km) and Avignon to the east (38km), towns bursting to the brim with history and antique / vintage finds. If you’re feeling really energetic why not kayak down the Ardeche river? The beautiful Ardeche valley is about an hour to the north (68km) and kayaking under the Pont D’Arc is an unforgettable experience.

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