Gard (30610) Population: 1,716 Altitude: 103 m
A picturesque town on the banks of the Vidourle river, set in an area of forested hills, vineyards and orchards.
This little medieval town is in deep countryside, although only 40 km northwest of Nîmes.
Sauve is a large enough town to have a fair selection of shops, restaurants and cafés. Market day Sat.
The stone arched bridge (Le Vieux Pont) is 12th century, viewed here [top photo] from the main bridge into town.
The old town has medieval-narrow streets and step-streets, vaulted passages and interesting old houses. Vestiges remain of the old ramparts and fortified entries. The "old town" had been rather run down, but has been going through a thorough renovation of the historic center (2011-2013).
The nearby Place du Doyen Gachon is a long, narrow square between opposing rows of very medieval-looking houses.
In addition to the squares, Sauve has a maze a very medieval-narrow streets that are great for exploring.
Resurgance Spring of Sauve
A water source, called a Source Vauclusienne or Resurgances Vauclusien is a water sourch that seems to gush forth from the rocks. This photo is the cave at the front of Sauve where the water exits. The actual water source consists of springs higher river sources and rain waters in the surrounding hills filtering down through the porous calcaire rock to come gushing (resurgent) from its hole.
Here the exiting water is flowing in great force and quantity towards the Vidourle river during March of 2013. In the autumn the flow is even greater, but on a recent visit in June, the source was dry.
An even stronger resurgance spring is the source pool of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, which can flow at a rate of up to 600 cubic meters per second.
History of Sauve
Prehistoric: The saltpeter grotto of Coutach, on a hilltop 2 km southeast, was a burial site of the Fontbouisse Culture.
Celto-Ligurian: Sauve was the ancient capital of the Salavès.
Gallo-Roman: In a hilly area called Mus, 3 km northwest, is a Pre-Roman oppidum with Gallo-Roman remains.
Medieval: Sauve was a feudal domain of the Bermonds, princes and satraps of the region. It was the seat of a Benedictine abbey founded in 1029 by Garsinde, second wife of the lord of Anduze and Sauve; attached to the Abbey of Saint-Victor of Marseille in 1366.
In 1293, the Barony of Sauve was traded to the Bishops of Maguelonne in exchange for a part of the town of Montpellier.
Market day: Sat.
• GPS: 43.940876, 3.951772
IGN (1/25,000) #2741 ET "St Hyppollyte-du-Fort, Anduze, St-Jean-du-Gard"
IGN (1/25,000) #2742 ET "Ganges, St-Martin-de-Londres, Pic St-Loup"
The GR63 Grandes Randonnées passes through Sauve. Six km to the north, the GR63 goes through the village of Dufort, then northwest via Monoblet amd Colognac and beyond, joining with the GR67.
In the other direction, the GR63 goes southeast about 5 km to Quissac, then east to Moulézan, Fons, Gajan and la Calmette.
There's an 8-km loop hike (PR - petite randonée) south of Sauve, beginning (and ending) at the Medieval-village end of the arched stone bridge of Sauve. Part of this trail is along the Chemin de Vache Morte (Dead Cow lane).
Sauve is surrounded by thicky forested hills, with unmarked trails and forestry roads, ripe for map-and-compass exploration.
There's a good selection of restaurants in Sauve, many with outdoor terraces.
In 2014 we had lunch at Le Bossens, under lovely shade trees on a square just off Rue Mazan (our photo). In August of 2016 we ate at Le Troquet-Toqué, on Place Jean Germain; a limited menu of excellent food with fresh, home-made ingredients.
Credit Cards. If you're traveling without much cash (which is pretty common) you should check the restaurant entryway doors or windows for credit-card symbols. We found one restaurant with "no credit cards" marked in front. Another, where we ate, did not accept cards, but there had been no notices anywhere. Major credit cards have been accepted in the villages of France for so many years now, that we don't usually check ahead of time.
Pitchfork Conservatory - Le Conservatoire de la Fourche
A museum about making pitchforks from the nettle-tree (micocoulier). The micocoulier has been used for centuries to make pitchforks, by guiding the growth of the branches into the iconing three-pronged shape.
Location: Les Cazernes
Open: Apr-Sept, daily (except Sun), 9h30-12h30, 15-19h; Oct-March: Wed-sun, 14h-17h and School vacation days 14h-17h.
Entry: 4 €
Tel: 0466 805 466