Today, we wanted to talk to you about a small Languedoc town full of Southern charm, Uzès. Dating back to the Roman times, this hidden gem is located on the less fashionable but much more authentic side of the Rhone, the Gard region.
With its exceptional architectural heritage, enchanting history, numerous shops and elegant shaded squares, Uzès has something to offer for everyone. Tom & I settled down for 2 months in a nearby village, La Bastide d’Engras and had numerous occasions to wander Uzès’ narrow cobblestone streets and soak up its magical atmosphere.
We already had been immersed in beautiful Provence for 6 months when we arrived in Languedoc-Roussillon. We had seen and experienced many things, had crafted countless memories. However, Uzès immediately spoke to our heart and we cannot wait to go back and rediscover the place through new eyes, like an old cherished book.
A little bit of history
The town is home to the “first Duchy of France”. After the execution of the Duke of Montmorency in 1632 for rebellion, the Duke of Uzès inherited the title and prerogatives of the First Duke and Peer of France and the town has proudly held the title ever since. The chateau has remained the residence of the ducal family for over a thousand years and is one of Uzès’ landmarks together with the Fenestrelle Tower, the only remnant of the former Romanesque cathedral Saint-Theodorit (source: Avignon & Provence.com).
Place aux Herbes & Uzès market
Place aux Herbes, the town’s main square, is at its heart. Twice a week, it plays host to a vibrant market, a must see in the region. Locals and tourists alike wander the stalls, stocking up on fresh produce or just sit by the ancient fountain, sipping from their coffee cup, absorbing the market’s bustle.
Wednesday morning is the local producers’ market, a must for foodies, and Saturday morning is the traditional one, much bigger but also much more crowded. This day, coffee places and restaurants get packed and the traffic can get nasty.
We never missed the show, buying whatever looked tempting, picking up freshly baked loaves of buckwheat or cornbread from the baker’s stand, making a beeline for the cheesemonger to get 2 or 3 regional “chèvre” to accompany our Côtes du Rhône. By the time we were done, we had grown an appetite and so with our baskets filled to the brim with goodness and the satisfaction to have bought fresh locally grown produce, we made our way home.
After 2 pm, the square slowly empties out and it’s time for a stroll along Uzès’ pedestrian-only streets. On top of being a gourmet heaven, the town happens to be a paradise for fashion addicts.
For homewares, you can try Terre & Garrigue (home & garden) and Mètre & Carré (fabric & trimmings – obsessed with their deck chair’s canvas) on Place aux Herbes. The side streets leading off from Place aux Herbes feature a multitude of enticing boutiques, selling anything from shoes and clothing to home decor.
Be sure to swing by L’Atelier des Ours rue Jacques d’Uzès (womenswear), check out Les Pots d’Uzès’ collection of earth-tone handmade pottery. Nearby, Cactus stocks desirable kids shoes & accessories and Côté Bohème is a great address for jewelry & accessories. There’s also Atzana (traditional home decor), on the corner of rue Jacques d’Uzès and boulevard Gambetta.
In the opposite direction on boulevard Charles Gide, Kalica has a great collection of Turkish hammam towels and Espace Gide Décoration stocks antique furniture and tasteful home goods.
When you’ll have exhausted yourself and your wallet in shopping, it will be time to stop for a glass of rosé paired with French “tapas” in a pleasant setting. Les Terroirs on Place des Herbes is our favorite spot for a bite. They serve a delicious cuisine made of fresh Languedoc and Provencal produce and their service is really friendly. Not to mention that the restaurant is a perfect place to relax in the shade of plane trees and people-watch.
Now that we settled down on the glamorous French Riviera, Uzès definitely became one of our top favorite destinations for a long weekend getaway. We feel that it is well designed to be visited on a long weekend vacation and we can’t recommend it highly enough. Would love to hear what’s your favorite city for a short city break…