Our gîtes make an ideal base for exploring all this region offers, and whether museums are your thing or you prefer a more active day out, you will find it all nearby in abundance. Guided tours of all types can be arranged including 2CV tours with an English speaking guide. If you love the outdoors, you will be spoilt for choice; take a look at our suggested 'Menu' for a week's stay!. We are always happy to help with trip planning. At the end of the day, retreat to the Mas, enjoy the gardens and relax.
Your starting point has to be Uzès, famed for its twice weekly market, which on Wednesdays is dedicated to local and organic producers of the most delicious goodies – cheese, focaccias, honey, olives, saucissons . Take one of our wicker picnic baskets and pack a lunch for later or enjoy the bustle of the Place aux Herbes like the locals and sip an aperitif while you watch the hustle of the market.
For those interested in a cooking experience we can arrange a cookery day locally, to include an informative trip to a local market. Vineyard tours are available and we are happy to advise on a good route and some unusual domaines to try out, or organize a tour for you. Our local vigneron, close to Mont Bouquet, was a Parisian sommelier before starting his own vineyard. Frédéric is happy to visit the Mas and hold a degustation for groups of guests.
In January Uzès hosts a large and popular truffle fair, and for enthusiasts the Uzes Wine School organises a Wine and Truffle day for gastronomes!
For real gourmets, Les Halles in Nîmes is paradise. The choice of stalls and foods is too great to even begin to list, but it is a fantastic spot to stock up on local delicacies, whether for a picnic or to take home. A classic French indoor market.
Honey is a regional speciality and there are many delicious varieties available, quite distinct as a result of the different vegetation in the Gard. Most notable is the ‘Miel de Chatagnier’ – from bees feeding on chestnut trees, which has a heavy smoky taste, or ‘Miel de Lavande’ from our local lavender fields. Goat's cheese is another local staple – seen everywhere in Salade au Chèvre, as is tapenade. There are plenty of producers all around and several olive oil mills to visit.
Artists have always been attracted to the area, known for its stunning light. Arles and les Alpilles were famously the stomping ground of the Impressionists, most notably Van Gogh, and today you can visit the Fondation Van Gogh at Arles, just an hour away, or the Musée Fabre in Montpellier which boasts a good collection. Most spectacularly for art lovers is the Carrières de Lumières in Le Baux which stages wonderful light and sound shows in the old quarries, based on the works of great artists.
The Avignon Performing Arts Festival in July is one of the largest in the world. In early June the Feria de Nîmes boasts bullfights, evening markets, flamenco dancing and parades while in the Arena itself there are regular concerts - pop, classical and opera. An unforgettable venue. June too sees the Son et Lumière at the Roman Pont du Gard - tickets go quickly so if you're coming to stay, think about booking online.
Closer to home the little village of St Quentin la Poterie is a focus for potters while Uzès itself has been designated a ‘Ville d’Art’ with many small galleries dotted around the ancient streets. This historic town boasts the home of France’s oldest noble family and their chateau in the centre of town is open to the public. So to is the ‘Tour Fenestrelle’ , France's own leaning tower, and a pretty mediaeval garden, tucked away inside 12th century ruins close to the chateau. The cobbled streets and arcaded market place have a wonderfully laid back, southern French feel.
For antique hunters this is a great region. Most famous is Isle sur la Sorgue about an hour away but throughout the area there are brocantes, trocantes and depot ventes.
Endless fêtes, festivals, night markets, musical nights, vineyard soirées and celebrations take place in the villages across the region throughout the summer.
The region has a rich Roman history, epitomised by the famous Pont du Gard just a 20 minute drive away, while Nîmes also boasts a number of Roman monuments. Avignon, City of the Popes, is under an hour away, while reflecting a more modern era, Montpellier is an architectural gem - a mini Paris just over an hour’s drive from Uzès.
The roots of the Gard go back much further though than the Romans. Just north of us the recently discovered Pont d'Arc cave paintings in the Ardeche are a stunning new attraction. Older than the famous Lascaux caves there has been a great effort to avoid the mistakes of the past and protect these spectacular paintings from human ravages and so a full scale replica of the cave system and the stunning animal artworks opened in 2015.
Right across the Gard there are beautifully preserved villages all with their own history and all fun to stroll through. Lussan itself has been classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France and is a little hidden gem. It is famous as a Huguenot village whose residents were persecuted during the Camisard wars of the 17th century. From the rampart walks you can get magnificent views of Mont Ventoux and the Cevennes – and our Mas - and in the heart of the village the charming Buis de Lussan or Boxwood Garden, is a delight. Close by are Montclus and La Roque sur Cèze – both worth a visit. Uzès itself is one of the best preserved medieval towns .
The Great Outdoors
We are fortunate to be surrounded with stunning countryside creating opportunities for almost every type of outdoor recreation. Click here to see our sample 'menu' for a week's stay at the Mas. And this is just a taster.
All along both the Gardon and the Cèze rivers there are canoe outfitters, or places to launch your own boat, with several operators offering drop off and collection to suit. Pack a picnic and take your swimming costumes – there’s not much to beat a canoe and swim on a hot day. And for spectacular scenery a canoe under the Pont du Gard, while likely to be busy in the summer, cannot be missed. North of us is the famous 32km Ardeche Gorge, a natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Canoe the river down to the much photographed Pont d’Arc; the river is ideal for both the amateur and the more serious enthusiast. At the Cascades de Sautadet on the Cèze marvel at the rock formations, pools and waterfalls then enjoy a swim from the beach.
Quiet open roads and a maze of dirt tracks make this paradise for cyclists. Our immediate area is fairly flat but take your bike just a mile and you're in to serious hills. Borrow our bikes or bring your own. Electric mountain bike excursions can be arranged right from the door giving access to unspoilt areas you might not otherwise reach.
Throughout the area hundreds of well marked ‘Sentiers’ , or footpaths, criss cross the landscape and every village will have a board mapping their local routes. You can start right at the Mas and take a gentle stroll through the fields or, just 5 km from the Mas is ‘Les Concluses’, a natural gorge which cuts deeply through the local hills. Hike from here or cycle part way and then finish on foot, wading along the Aiguillon River bed. In summer months a cooling swim in the deep rock pools is a delight, though in dry years they may be a little short of water.
40 minutes northwest are the Cevennes mountains, an area of outstanding natural beauty where endless trails exist. In spring and summer there are hiking festivals, guided walks and even donkey treks along the GR70 – the route followed by Robert Louis Stevenson and his donkey, Modestine. The Ardêche equally offers spectacular walks.
Paragliding is available at nearby Mont Bouquet for the very adventurous!
River swimming is the perfect activity on a hot Provençal day – no salt, no sand just the cool clear waters of our local rivers. We can advise on the best beaches – some accessible only on foot, others a little closer to car parks. And if you do want to sample the delights of the Mediterranean, the coast is just over an hour’s drive. Try L’Espiguette, south of Montpellier for miles of wide clean sand and gentle waves. There’s a great beach shack there too for a sundowners.