Gard (30290) Population: 5,723 Altitude: 75 m
The old village of Laudun-l'Ardoise sits on the flanc of a wooded hill overlooking the Rhône to the east. Located across the river from [Orange], Laudun was a strategic site since the time of the Gauls and then the Romans.
The village streets circle a low hill, and the main street has the typical village shops, including a couple of cafés. The imposing 14th-century Notre-Dame-la-Neuve church, with its buttressed walls, sits in the center of the village. Market day Sun.
Laudun-l'Ardoise has quite a sizeable market on market-day Monday, all along the Rue de la République in the center of the village.
The small hill abutting the village effectively a large, wooded park. Walks up to the top, where there's an "orientation table" and view out across the countryside to the east, is a popular pastime with the local people. There are a lot of steps on the path up from the village center, but you can also follow the roads circling around to the back of the hill if you need to go easier on your legs.
Cafés. The Bar des Sports, and the west end of Rue de la République, has a terrace with an open view to the south. The Bar du Midi in on the same street, closer to the center, and has a street-side terrace; the toilet is clean, but of the "Turkish" variety.
The Balouvière Aqueduc (the "Petit Pont-du-Gard) is a small but beautiful three-level aqueduct only 400m north of Laudun-l'Ardoise village center. It's set in a lush, green valley, but the remaining section doesn't go anywhere anymore. Although it's relatively recent (19th century), it carried on the techniques of the Gallo-Romans, and does look amazing similar to the style of the Pont-du-Gard. ( Read More )
History of Laudun-l'Ardoise
First record, Laudunum was a fortified Gaulois site, eventually taken over by the Romans.
Prehistoric: Iron Age items from the Fonthouisse Culture were excavated at the site called Fosse de Cascavel.
Gallo-Roman: The high (270 m) wooded Plateau de Lacau sitting at the north edge of the village (separating Laudun-l'Ardoise from Bagnols-sur-Cèze, was a strategic site in the Rhône valley since the time of the Gauls. The Romans took over the site a couple of thousand years ago, and the ruins at the top are today called the Camp de César (Cesar's Camp). Roman, pre-Roman and prehistoric artifacts, including amphorae, have been discovered here.
Market day: Sun. Large Provencal market.
• GPS: 44.105091, 4.657803
IGN (1/25,000) #2940 OT "Bagnols-sur-Cèze, Pont-St-Exprit, Forets de Valbonne et"
There's good hiking from Laudun-l'Ardoise, but no loop hikes. The GR42 goes through the center of the village and up to top of the Plateau de Lacau.
Past the Camp de César at the top, the GR42A goes through Bagnols-sur-Cèze and further north, eventually joining the GR4 to the Gorges de l'Ardèche. Also from the Camp de César, the GR42 branches off and goes north up the valley but closer to the Rhône, passing near Pont-St-Esprite, before it too joins with the GR4 hiking trail to the Gorges de l'Ardèche.
South and Southeast, the GR42 crosses the vineyards to pass through Roquemaure, on the banks of the Rhône, and on south to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, just across from the town of Avignon.
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).