The village of Villevieille is on a hilltop very close to the rather built-up area of Sommières. The sides of the nearby hills, though, have a lot of narrow lanes with ancient and picturesque dry-stone walls. The fairly wealthy estates are discretely hidden behind the walls and high fences.
The old village has retained its old stone buildings enclosed within the ancient protective walls. It's pretty small, so a wandering visit takes under an hour. The view from the "inland" village entrance on the southeast side 3 [Photo-03] is through an arched gateway beneath the clock/bell tower.
The Villevieille village church, outside the walls, was built in the 17th century [Photo-02].
History of Villevieille
Prehistoric: A Chalcolithic (pre-Bronze Age) village was located at Fontbouisse, 2 km northeast. Enough artifacts were discovered here, including the base of cabins, burial sites, tombs, ceramics, tool, and a unique type of Bronze-age habitat, that it gave its name to this era as the "Fontbouisse Culture ".
Celto-Ligurian: Both Celtic oppidum and Gallo-Roman oppidum were found here, and potter and mosaics were discovered at a Gallo-Roman villa.
Medieval: The Château de Villevieille is 11th century, fortified and enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was restored in the 18th century and again recently. The castle belonged to Bermond d'Anduze in the 13th century. He was accused of sympathizing with the Cathars and thrown out in 1243. Villevieille was the general quarters of the Marechal de Damville during the Siege of Sommières in August of 1622
• GPS: 43.788601, 4.095842
IGN (1/25,000) #2842 O "Sommières"
"Vallée du Vidourle, Pays de Sommières", map+info (1:42'000)
The office de tourisme in nearby Sommières has brochures with walks/hikes in the region, including the one we took through the village of Villevieille.
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).