Gard (30210) Population: 2,381 Altitude: 27 m
Remoulins is a small town on the Gardon river, just downstream from the Pont du Gard. It has a popular river-side beach during the summer, and a very intersting Medieval old village with remnants of fortified walls, towers and a 12th century church,. Market day Fri.
Remoulins old town is located at the western end of rest of the town, north of the bridge and beside the river. The Place du Portail faces the north-south D19 road, across from the Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Martin church, just north of the main traffic-light junction.
The 11th-century fortified entry through the old walls, Porte des Escaravats, is located on the Place du Portail. The crenelated Escaravats Tower rising above the entry is also from the 11th century. There are some lovely old wrought-iron balconies and blue shutters on the place, just outside the portail.
The old town streets are interesting for a walking tour, including ancient, but refurbished houses, stone doorways and sites such as the impressive Notre-Dame de Bethlehem church. Along the western side you walk along the top of the wall with a view of the river (through the trees).
The commune of Remoulins includes the wooded and hilly area west of the Gardon river, almost to the Pont du Gard. The Roman's Uzès-to-Nîmes aqueduct passed through here, and there's at least one remnant of an aqueduct bridge remaining, the Pont de le Saranette, accessible by foot.
Notre-Dame de Bethlehem Church
The 12th-century Eglise Notre-Dame de Bethlehem in located in the northern part of Remoulins old town, on the Rue de la Mairie. The street isn't marked with any name signs, and the mairie is actually located on Rue d'Avignon, further east. The massive church housed the town school in the 19th century, and the town hall up until 1980 (hence the out-dated street name).
Notre-Dame de Bethlehem is pretty run-down, but it's still impressive. It has a large Romanesque doorway, and is topped by a very high, three-tier bell tower of a peigne design (sort of 2 dimensional).
Saint Martin Chapel
The Chapelle Saint Martin is a 12th-century stone chapel with a simple 18th-century bellfry. An original chapel on this site was built in the 8th century, by Charles Martel to celebrate his victory over the Sarasins.
The St Martin chapel is located toward the eastern end of the main road through town, just past the wine cooperative in a small residential area south of the road. The location is name, appropriately enough Place de la Chapelle.
Bridges of Remoulins
Remoulins is on a route that joins the Languedoc region to the Rhône valley, and has been a crossing point of the Gardon river for many centuries. (The Roman Pont du Gard, just up-river, was used as a foot brideg from the Middle Ages until the 18th century and then as a road bridge, but is off the main route.)
The Remoulins river crossing was first by ferry or a cable-guided ferry. A local inhabitant, who's family has been here since the beginning of the 18th century, told us that the Gardon river used to loop around the north and east sides of the village, instead of its current path around the west and south.
The first suspension bridge here was built in 1830, one of the first suspension bridges to be built in France. The two Doric style pylons on the town side of the river can still be seen, about 100 m south of the present bridge. This first suspension bridge was used for 108 years, demolished in 1938.
In 1935 a second, more modern suspension bridge was built. This was located immediately adjacent to the site of the current bridge. Several parts of the old bridge mechanism are on display at the bridge site, including the original suspension anchor points. The second bridge was torn down in 1995.
The third, and current, bridge of Remoulins is steel girder bridge with reinforced concrete deck slabs, completed in 1995.
Ancient Railway Line
Remoulin has an active railway depot, a stop on the old Lyon to Nîme line (Ligne de Givors-Canal à Grezan) built in 1880. The line is now used for freight only, but the SNCF has a boutique in the old waiting room. The line was 254 km long, mostly along the right (western) bank of the Rhône, from Givors-Canal beside Lyons to the Grezan railway station at the east side of Nîmes.
There was at least one silk farm (magnanerie) in Remoulins. The winery Domaine La Clos du Bailly on Rue d'Avignon has been in business since 1770. A long building inside their courtyard housed the stables on the ground floor, and the second floor was the magnanerie, a place where the silkworms were tended and the silk produced. The silkworm cocoons were brought to Remoulins from the Cévennes.
History of Remoulins
Prehistoric: The Salpêtrière grotto is a cave-like shelter near the southeast end of the Pont du Gard, but in the commune of Remoulins. This site was excavated by archeologists from 1872, and revealed a vast amount of Paleolithic artifacts and information.
The Sartanette grotto is located more towards Remoulins, 600 m southeast of the end of the Pont du Gard, in the middle of the wooded hills, and accessible only by foot. Excavations began in this deep cave in 1967. Artifacts unearthed here have been dated to about 2300 BC.
Celto-Ligurian: A tribe of Celtic people called the Volques Arécomiques (who founded the town of Nîmes) built an oppidum, in the 4th century BC, on the hill of Marduel, 1 km southwest of the river. The site is now in the commune of St Bonnet-du-Gard.
Gallo-Roman: During the 1st century BC, the Romans built the Uzès-Nîmes aqueduct and the famous Pont du Gard. From the southeast end of the Pont du Gard, the aqueduct zig-zagged through the Remoulins Forest to Lafoux, directly across the river from the town of Remoulins. From Lafoux, the aqueduct turned southwest towards Lédenon.
Medieval: The town began in 736 by Charles Martel, who had camped here following his victory over the Saracens. During the 9th and 10th centuries the Saint Martin chapel and the Ferregut mill were built. Remoulins was fortified in the 11th century, with walls and towers. The Notre-Dame de Bethlehem church was built in the 12th century.
Market day: Fri.
• GPS: 43.939518, 4.564296
IGN (1/25,000) #2941 OT "Uzès"
"Entre Rhône et Gardon", map+info (1:30'000)
From the west end of the Remoulins bridge it's just over a 1 km to the Pont du Gard, along the D981 road. This is a dead-end road leading to the (pay) parking area for the Pont du Gard.
There's a loop hike of just over 3 km in the Remoulins Forest, between the bridge of Remoulins and the Pont du Gard, including the straight part along the dead-end D981 road. You can also do an alternate loop hike including the GR6 trail. There are vestiges of the Roman aqueduct that zig-zagged through this area.
The GR6 Hiking Trail crosses the Pont du Gard northwest of Remoulins, passes south through the villages of St Bonnet-du-Gard, Sernhac and Meynes on its way to Beaucaire and Tarascon.
Remoulins is in the Côte du Rhône wine region. The town's wine cooperative, Les Vignerons de Remoulins, is located at the western end of the main road through town. There's a sales office beside the road, in front of the large, stainless steel vats, where you can sample the products.
A more picturesque winery is the Domaine La Clos du Bailly, located on the Rue d'Avignon in the center of the village, in the same stone buildings where it's been since 1770. The owner's family has been in the adjoining house since about 1720. Wine tasting here too, of course, with excellent whites, rosés and reds, including a red aged in oaken casks.
(see Rhone Wines)
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).