Gard (30530) Population: 368 Altitude: 550 m
The tiny village of Portes is just a wide spot on the D906 road at the eastern edge of the Cevennes, in the mountains north of Alès, just past the Col de Portes with its Medieval Chateau.
The village is on the small D906 road through the hills north of La Grand-Combe, and it's at a good distance for a café stop when traveling north from Alès.
It's also the nearest place we found with a café after visiting the Chateau.
For a couple of centuries (at least), up until 1933, the village of Portes was located at the base of the imposing Chateau de Portes, as depicted in this early photo.
The chateau and village are located in the Basin of the Grand-Combe, that's been a rich source of coal since the 19th century. The chateau hill marked the geographic spot dividing several coal-mining properties, and many of the mines dug galleries that converged to that point. This destabilized the ground so severely that the ground subsided in many places. Major cracks occurred in even the massively thick walls of the fortress, and of course the village suffered badly.
By 1933 it was decided the village of Portes couldn't be salvaged where it stood. The entire village was razed and recreated in its present form at its current location, 500 m to the northwest.
The village population peaked in the middle of the 19th century at nearly 3000, and slowly declined through the 20th century, dropping to 310 in 1999, when coal mining was stopped in the region. Since then the population has grown slowly but steadily to its current level (368 in 2013).
• GPS: 44.270222, 4.020579
The GR700 hiking trail (Chemin de Regordane) between St Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire) and Saint Gilles (Gard) on the edge of the Camargue crosses the Col de Portes at the foot of the Chateau de Portes and continues north through Portes village.
North of Portes the GR700 goes via Génolhac (Gard) and continues north through the Lozère department.
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).