Gard (30140) Population: 3,054 Altitude: 131 m
Anduze is a picturesque Medieval village with Gallo-Roman roots, sitting in a notch of the hills garding the entrance to the Cevennes. The old town has narrow streets, hidden squares, ancient fountains, the remains of the defensive walls, and a unique clock-bell tower with a beautiful sundial. Market day Thur.
Anduze is a very popular little town, and can be extremely crowded during the summer. In addition to the many interesting things to see here, there's a good selection of cafés, restaurants, hotels, and lots of shops with local products, pottery and souvenirs.
The active town center is the Plan de Brie, the main street where you'll find the tourist office, the mairie (town hall), shops and terrace café-restaurants.
The Clock Tower (Tour de l'Horloge), on the corner of the main street nearest the river, was built in 1320. This tall 14th-century tower has not only a clock, a wonderful sundial, and a bell, but is topped with a realistic looking Gallic Rooster perched at the top.
The narrow Rue Droite, Right Street, leads directly into the heart of the Medieval old town, from the Castle Gate to the Covered Square. The name droite means direct, not straight.
The cobblestone street is lined with small shops, with other shops and an occasional little restaurant hidden on nearby side streets.
The central square is the 500-year-old Place Couverte. The entire square, along with the covered area in the center, is used as a market. It was originally a grain exchange, first for barley and then chestnuts, when they were an important resource in the Cevennes.
This colorful Pagoda Fountain located at the top of the Covered Square was given to the city of Anduze in 1648 by a local citizen; he had fallen in love with the Far East during his travels there in search of silk worm seeds. (Both silk and chestnuts have been important industries in the Cevennes.)
Another pretty square in Anduze is the Place Notre-Dame, a couple of streets further back (north) into the old town. Terrace cafés and ivy-covered buildings line the little square, and at the end is another ancient stone fountain. Behind the fountain is a doorway of a sculpted reddish stone, with a gargoilish face for the cap-stone.
The very lovely Cordeliers Park is located at the south edge of the town. This peaceful setting has shady trees, open lawns and a large pond, complete with ducks, geese and swans. The park was created on the site of an old convent, and you can pass through it on your way to the Anduze railway station
History of Anduze
First record, Gallo-Roman Andusia
The location of Anduze is a strategic site, with tall, steep hills guarding the river route between the Cevennes and the plains to the southeast, and has been inhabited from prehistoric times. The St Julien hilltop, above the current town, was a fortified site through the Gallo-Roman and Medieval periods.
Prehistoric: Megalithic tombs (dolmens), standing stones and petroglyphs have been discovered in the area around Anduze. You can visit a couple of the dolmens at La Grande Pallieres, the hills about 1 km west of the town. Bronze-Age artifacts were discovered in the Grotte Faustina (we haven't located this).
Market day: Thur.
• GPS: 44.053606, 3.98665
IGN (1/25,000) #2741 ET "St Hyppollyte-du-Fort, Anduze, St-Jean-du-Gard"
"Porte des Cévennes", map+info (1:25'000)
Anduze sits on the Gardon river, as the gateway into the Cévennes national forest to the west. The GR6 Hiking Trail crosses the southern part of the Cévennes, from Anduze, across Mont Aigoual to Meyrueis at the Gorges de la Jonte.
There are many GR6 alternate trails through this part of the Cévennes, including the GR62 that goes along the Hérault river valley, via Valleraugue village, avoiding the climb over Mount Aigoual.
There's a good selection of dining possibilities in Anduze. Some of the most popular terrace café-restaurants are along the main street through the center. We had lunch on the shady terrace of Les Terrasses du Gardon, located at the south edge of the center, on Rue de l'Ecluse, by the parking lot and the low river bridge. Decent food, good prices, and much quieter than the town-center restaurants.
Fun - Amusement - Kids
Steam Train of the Cévennes
This 40-minute steam train between Saint Jean-du-Gard and Anduze follows the magnificent forested valleys for 13 km along the Gardon river in the heart of the Cévennes.
• Open: March: selected days; April-early Sept: daily; Sept to beginning Nov: daily except Monday. 3-4 trains a day. Check with their website (below) for details.
• Entry: €9 one-way; €12 round-trip; dogs and bicycles €3.
• Tel: 0466 605 900; Fax: 0466 605 909
• Web: www.trainavapeur.com
• Train schedules allow an easy round-trip voyage, or with stops of a few hours or even all day in either Saint Jean-du-Gard or Anduze.
Special event trains every year: Wine Harvest in Sept; Chestnut day in Oct; Halloween Weekend; Fireworks night train 13 July, etc.
The largest underground cave complex in the Cévennes, with the 100'000 soldats (the thousand soldiers). The Michelin Green Guide gives this 2-stars, "Merits a detour".
• Location: 6 km east of Saint Jean-du-Gard; 8 km northwest of Anduze. On the D50 road, 6 km northwest of Anduze and 2 km southeast of Mialet (by the Mas Soubeyran), a small road goes off to the north; follow the signs.
• Tel: 0466 850 328, or 0468 682 420; Fax: 0468 261 075
• Web: www.grottes-de-france.fr
• 1 hour guided visits, begin about 10:15 Apr-Sept. Afternoons only March, Oct. Constant 14 degrees C (57 deg F).
Another famous grotto, the Grotte de Dargilan, is located near Meyrueis, 40 km west of Saint Jean-du-Gard.
Music Museum - Musée de la Musique
A thousand musical instruments from around the world.
Location: 4 Montée d'Alès
Open: July-Aug: 7-days, 10h30-13h, 15h-18h30; School Vacations 14h30-18h
Sun and holidays all year (except 25 Dec): 14h30-18h
Entry: 4 euros; kids 3 euros (2012)
Tel: 0466 618 660; Fax: 0466 617 951
This large private collection is in the heart of a Medieval village, on a shady site beside the river.
The Bambouseraie is much more than a garden. Called a Jardin botanique, or Parc exotique, it's also more than that. Here you'll find walkways through towering bamboo jungles filtering the sunlight to a cool yellow-green tint.
Some of the bamboo is amazingly high, but there are also sequoias (coast redwoods) towering even higher, along the main walkway. Part of the park includes a Laotien village, with characteristic bamboo houses on stilts, and even some fat old Laotien pigs.
The Cevennes steam railway has a stop at the Bambouseraie, with the tracks crossing over the top of the park on an old stone viaduct, mostly hidden by the tall bamboo.
A walking tour of the park is supposed to take 1h30, but we took considerbly longer. There's also a bamboo forest, a plant maze and Victorian greenhouses. A large stone villa in the center of the park has plaques on the wall marking the heights of the floods of 1958 and 2002; the earlier mark is about 3 m up the wall.
Nursery. A large sales area near the exit has an extensive range of plants for sale, not all of them bamboo. This area is accessable without the entrance payment.
- Location: Bamousseraie de Prafrance, 30140 Générargues. 3 km from Anduze: cross the river (east), turn left on the D129.
- Open: (every day) 1-20 March 9h30-18h; 21 Mar - 30 Sept 9h30-19h, 1 Oct - 1 Nov 9h30-18h; 2 - 15 Nov 9h30-17h.
- Closed: 16 Nov - 28 Feb
- Entry: (2012) Adults €8.60; under 12 €5.10
- Tel: 0466 617 047; Fax: 0466 619 494
- Email: email@example.com
- Web: www.bambouseraie.fr
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).