Gard Activities and Things To Do On Holiday

Pont du Gard, Languedoc Roussillon, France

Gorges du Gardon

A hike of about 4 hours through the Gorges of the Gardon is set out in France’s Walking Association topo-guide under the heading of La Gard a pied.

There are 2 routes; the easiest passes through vineyards and a village and the other stays closer to the river with wonderful views of the landscape to the bridge of St Nicholas.

The Gardon’s crystalline waters are quietest in summer - an ideal time to take a canoe or kayak downstream from Collias near Pont du Gard, or upstream between high cliffs to twelfth century Pont-St-Nicholas, passing the ruined village of Baume.

Find swim holes, places to picnic at the water’s edge and pre-historic caverns amidst wildly beautiful scenery. Hire canoes and kayaks in Collias from Canoe le Tourbillon. Tel: (00 33) 4 66 22 85. April - Sept or Kayak Vert which also offers instruction March - Oct. Tel: (00 33) 4 66 22 80 76.

La Bouscarasse Waterpark

This family waterpark, only 5 minutes from Uzes, has swimming pools, fun cascades, fountains and paddling streams in the heart of a forest. There’re a restaurant, shop and plenty of areas to relax or picnic. Open every day from end May to end Aug. From end Aug to mid Sept, open days are Wed and weekends dependant on the weather. Tel: (00 33) 4 66 22 50 25.

Cevennes Steam Train between St-Jean-du-Gard and Anduze

Take the 13km journey by local steam train from St-Jean-du-Gard to Anduze and travel in old-fashioned coaches (some open) across the heart of the Cevennes over viaducts and through tunnels viewing panoramas of the Gardon Valley.

Leaves every day from 1 April to 1 Nov, except Mondays after 15 Sept. There is a stop at Prafrance Generargues in either direction for those wanting to visit the Bamboo Gardens. For information and prices see www.citev.com

Haribo Sweet Museum, Uzes

This delicious experience tells the story of a century of confectionary. (Uzes was once a centre for licorice making). Designed with children in mind, each visitor first receives a bag of gold bear sweets.

See all sorts of interactive and passive displays and visit www.haribo.com for some sweet facts. Be sure to take money to buy samples from the factory shop. Open every day except Mon and first 3 weeks of Jan. Tel: (00 33) 4 66 22 74 39.

Jardin de la Fontaine, Nimes

This beautiful spot on the edge of Nimes includes the remains of a Roman sanctuary built around a sacred spring. Jardin de la Fontaine, is thought to be one of the first public gardens in Europe, laid out in the eighteenth century.

Set on several levels with fountains, streams, grottos and life-size baroque statues, the gardens are a delightful place to wander and explore. From the formal gardens around the Temple to Diana, climb to the 32m Tour Magne - open daily - for magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. Tel: (00 33) 4 66 58 38 00.

Bamboo Collection, Generargues

Begun by spice millionaire Eugene Mazel in 1855, La Bambouseraie at Domaine de Prafrance, Generargues, is one of the oldest collections of bamboo in Europe.

This little corner of the Orient in the Cevennes is often used as a film location. The site of almost 100 acres is filled with a forest of over 150 species of bamboo along with giant sequoias, Asian village of bamboo huts, exotic park with greenhouses full of flowers and a water garden.

Be tempted to start your own collection with plants from the site shop. Open beginning of March to Nov and audio guides in English available. Tel: (00 33) 4 66 61 70 47.

A good wet weather alternative is the Santon Museum in Generargues, housing an exhibition of traditional Provencal figurines showing Cevennes life with sound and light.

Hiking on the GR61, 63, 66 and 67

France’s national trails - sentiers de grande randonne or GRs - are well marked routes mentioned in many guide books and notably France’s Walking Association topo-guides. Several of these long trails, signed in red and white, offer some serious and spectacular hiking in Gard.

Follow the GR63 from Pont du Gard to Saint-Jean-du-Gard. The GR67 is a 130km trail known as ‘Tour des Cevennes’ through the Cevennes National Park, whilst the spectacular GR66, also in the Park, covers Mont Aigoul along its 78.5km route.

The trail rises to the mountain’s summit along with the GR6 and GR7 and views are said to stretch across from the Pyrenees to the Alps and down to the Mediterranean from Marseilles to Sete.

The observatory on the summit is also worth a visit. Weather information for Gard can be obtained by tel: (00 33) 8m36 68 02 48, and the main Tourist Information Office in Florac, in neighbouring Lozere, can provide details of guided treks around Cevennes National Park.

For the less energetic, local paths for shorter walks to beauty spots are known as PRs and usually have a yellow sign.

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