•Gard (30126) • Population: 884 • Altitude: 83 m
Lirac is a small village northwest of Avignon, well-known for its famous rosé wines. The village is a bit sleepy, with not much for visitors. There is a very nice lavoir at the edge of town.
Lirac is located at the edge of a wide, flat plain along the west side of the Rhône, and area of vineyards for Côte du Rhône and rosé wines. West of the village are the low hills and tree-covered garrigue. This is a small farming village, less developed than neighboring St-Laurent-des-Arbres to the north or Tavel to the South.
Lavoir - Wash House
The covered lavoir of Tavel village is probably 19th century. The covered part is nicely restored and nicely maintained. The best feature of the Tavel lavoir is, for us, the large exterior basin. The lavoir is located where the small Nizon river crosses the road at the south edge of the village, 280 m from the center.
Wine of Lirac
Both Lirac and the next-door village of Tavel are famous for their rosé wines. Here in Lirac there aren't any wineries open for visiting or wine tasting.
One winery does have some faded signs inviting visitors, but after tracking down the alleged location and driving out a rutted dirt road that became more and more narrow, without any indication that it was the correct little road, we gave up and turned around.
Sainte Baume of Lirac
The hermitage-chapel and grotto of Sainte Baume are located on a hillside 2 km southwest of Lirac. The grottos of these rocky hills beside Lirac were used as a refuge during invasions and during the Wars of Religion. The largest grotto, the Grande Baume, is 25-30 meters deep, 15 m high and 15-20 m wide. During a refuge here in 1647 a villager found in a small hole the image of the Sainte Virgin holding a child. This discovery lead eventually to the building of a Chapel, further miracles, and the site being established as a Hermitage.
Lirac's Sainte Baume has a 17th-century oratory, and the pilgrimage site was restored in the 19th century. The Saint Baume can be visited at any time: an easy walk out from the village, or you can drive out the Chemin de l'Eyrolle to a parking area (with picnic benches) and do the last 1 km past the vineyards and up the hill on foot.
The Sainte Baume chapel interior can be visited during the annual Easter Monday pilgrimage or a few other days in early Summer.
Discover more in ProvenceBeyond
History of Lirac
Prehistoric: Chalcolithic tombs were discovered in grottos along the valley of the Sainte Baume, southwest of Lirac village. (Ages of Humankind)
Department 30, Gard Buses
- See Beyond's Gard Department Bus Schedules for Gard bus-lines maps and bus-line schedules (Horaires).
Maps (Plans) for the Gard bus lines are on the www.edgard.fr website, with a flash webpage for each of five zones around Nîmes (www.edgard-transport.fr/plan/?rub_code=5).
Schedules for the Gard bus lines are available via the www.edgard.fr website horaires page (www.edgard-transport.fr/horaires/?rub_code=23).