It is not difficult to understand why we and countless people before us, fell in love with Uzès or why we ask people to still connect with us there even after moving away. We are pretty sure you too will fall under its charms. So we are giving you just a taste because honestly, there is so much more to see and learn about this place, to make you want to visit Uzès.
Bienvenue à Uzès!
Uzes is a medieval city located in the south of France. We name this region Occitanie (formerly Languedoc-Roussillon), but the locals name it ”Le Gard Provencal”, as it is really a few minutes from Provence and the Rhone river with the city of Avignon. The Gard is a French department, that is stuck between sea and mountain. 1 hour from the Mediterranean sea, 1 hour from the small mountain of Cévennes. The weather is very similar to the côte d’Azur (Provence).
Uzès was built in the 5th century, based on a Roman model. The Uzès bishops minted coins and dispensed justice, privileges which reflected their great power. In 1229, the Languedoc region, of which Uzès was a part, was incorporated into the Kingdom of France. In 1632, the Duke of Uzès became the 1st duke and French peer. Hence why Uzès is referred to in French as Le premier duché de France.
Uzes was in the 16th century, famous for its great quality silk. Silkworms are fed with mulberry tree leaves, but when the trees were infected with a disease the industry died.
Like many cloth-manufacturing centers, the city and the surrounding countryside were strongly Protestant during the Wars of Religion in the 16th century, a number of the city’s churches were trashed and burned by furious Protestants: only two remain today. One such church that was destroyed and rebuilt is église Saint-Étienne.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗱𝗼, 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗲𝗲
Uzes is a charming city, known for the arcade of stone that allows you to walk around the central square, protected from sun or rain. The city center with small stone streets and the original shops and galleries gives a real and authentic feel of what the south of France.
You will find a fantastic farmer’s market every Wednesday and a larger market with more items like clothes, baskets, tools… on Saturday.
La Place aux Herbes at the heart of the city is where everything happens, markets, book sales, and antique markets … is a busy area, with restaurants, bars, ice cream shops, and a few other souvenir shops dotted throughout the surrounding streets and under the arcade. It is the place to meet friends for a glass of wine in the late afternoon.
Go up to the Fenestrelle Tower, at the side of Cathedral Saint Théodorit (looks a little like the Pisa Tower doesn’t it?)
Stroll out of the center of the city into the cool (in both senses of the word), Vallée de L’Eure Natures gift to Uzès and admire the swans as you picnic along the Eure.
Visit the most visited monument in France outside Paris, the Pont du Gard – A UNESCO world heritage site
This is a mandatory visit, if you are in Uzes you should not miss this. Bring a picnic and sit near the river… take the time to cross the bridge, and check the olive trees that are 1000 years old.
Deleuze et Rochetin winery
Organize a wine tasting with our friends at Deleuze et Rochetin organic winery. Pioneers in Organic wine in the area, Deleuze wines are very good, received many prizes, and are sold at a moderate price if you compare to some Côtes du Rhone, which is only 15 km away. They have even gotten a distributor in the US so you can enjoy their wines being served at the French Laundry for example.
Visit City of Nîmes and Avignon
If you have the time, please visit Nimes and the museum de la Romanitée (everything you need to know about Uzès and the Roman empire and Roman times in this area is here). Don’t overlook the arena next to the museum it is smaller than the one in Rome but very well preserved. A visit is also possible and it is very interesting.
Sur le Pont d’Avignon…. and the more interesting Palais des Papes is only 40 minutes away and definitely worth a day trip. The bridge is broken so be careful to not fall in the water 🙂. Audio guides are available for your visit of the Palais des Papes. You won’t be missing too much if you skip the bridge but you should definitely pay a visit to the former seat of the Catholic popes.
Side note: The song say SUR le Pont d’Avigon on y dance , on y dance…. right? but the original song was SOUS le Pont (meaning under instead of over) which makes more sense as it was where bars and shops were located…
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝗮𝘁
There are many wonderful places to eat in Uzès. On Saturdays and in the high season, you can count on most of them to be almost full if not completely, so reservations are always advised. This list is by no means exhaustive but here are a few of our favorites. We always provide a more thorough list for Uzès and surrounding cities in our Week in Uzès culinary holiday welcome pack:
If you go to Uzes, you have got to have at least one meal, one drink and one cappuccino at TEN. For the Cocktails, for oysters, for the quality of the food, and for ambiance. Reservation is mandatory to get a table, as locals and visitors fight for a spot here. Ask for the courtyard terrace and enjoy, you are on vacation.
The place to see and to be seen in Uzes. For a quick fix with the best products that the region can offer, Pelardon (goat cheese), tapenades (olives spreads), ham and vegetables, and of course the famous brandade de Nîmes (a cold salted cod spread) that is reallllllyyyyy good. Les Terroirs which is owned by our good friends Tom & Corinne is also a perfect place to get gifts for your food-loving friends (or for yourself). The food they offer is simple, fresh, and tasty. They also have a great wine by the glass selection and a FANTASTIC all day on the sunny terrace. Have a look at his shop before you leave the town.
One of the best chefs of the area office here, Monsieur Axel, offers gastronomical cuisine, with an ”around the world flavor ”. Axel traveled the world and his cuisine is full of nice spices and citrus flavors that remind him of his travels. The cuisine is refined and delicious. Visit their site, here.
- Cyrano de Bergerac the French movie with Gerard Depardieu, was partially filmed in Uzès as the arcades are perfectly well preserved (restored really) and authentic.
- The water that was used by the Romans in the city of Nîmes, came from the city of Uzès, for its quality and quantity. The Romans built the famous aqueduct (pont du Gard) to bring water to Nîmes.
- The Silk of Uzès was so good and famous that the Popes themselves got socks made in Uzes for 2 centuries.
Making Uzès that more special
Seeing as how we lived in Uzès for over 5 years and that it was where we started inviting small groups of people to join us for a Week in Uzès cooking vacation in southern France, you can imagine that this post could have gone on and on. Our Let’s Eat The World website is full of posts on things to do and see in and around Uzès and of course, we offer a wonderful guide to our tour participants who are kept so busy during the week, that they just don’t have that much time to do more. But the week is always filled with markets, Nîmes, Uzès, the Pont du Gard, a fabulous picnic, and more. If you want to find out more about the Week in Uzès program, click here. And for more culinary holiday ideas, visit our culinary tours and workshops page.