Uzes, a duchy and a former episcopal city
Uzes and the Roman aqueduct
Uzes developed from Ucetia or Eutica, the camp the Romans set up in the 1st century BC at Fontaine d‘Eure, the source of the river Alzon.
They indeed captured its abundant waters and built an aqueduct in order to supply water to Nîmes, 50kms farther south.
The major vestige of this antic aqueduct is the magnificent Pont du Gard that spans the river Gardon.
Uzes expanded significantly during the 5th century AD, as it became the seat of an important bishopric, which by the 17th century regrouped up to 193 parishes.
Such was its importance that the bishops of Uzes retained their right of minting and delivering justice until the French Revolution.
Duchy of Uzes
The County of Uzes was founded in 1088 and was part of Languedoc, a region attached to the kingdom of France in the 13th century.
Three centuries later, the king of France made Count Antoine de Crussol Duke of Uzes in order to secure his support.
The Crussol family still inhabits the Château des Ducs d’Uzes, which boasts a wealth of architectural features.
This includes medieval cellars and ramparts with defense towers - Tour de Bermonde, Tour du Roi and Tour de l'Evêché - and a stunning French Renaissance facade adorned with the three architectural classical orders.
The interior is equally stunning and contains impressive collections of furniture.
A Protestant stronghold
The city became a Protestant stronghold during the Wars of Religions, as its inhabitants took sides with the French Reformation movement.
Saint-Théodorit Cathedral was among the churches they destroyed during this troubled episode of French history.
However, not only was it rebuilt in 1632, but its Romanesque round bell tower was saved.
The 12th century Tour Fenestrelle is today one of Uzes’ major landmarks.
However, all Protestants temples were pulled down after the conflict.
In the 15th century, Uzes specialized in the production of serge and woolen cloths as well as in the work of leather and silk.
However, the disease that disseminated the silkworms during the 19th century led to the decline of this industry, which then employed nearly 200 people.
Many ruined windmills scattered around the city are witnesses to that bygone era.
The appearance of the railway, and thus the construction of the station, resulted in the appearance of two new activities, which still thrive to this day: licorice-based candies production and pottery.
Uzes is indeed home to the Haribo - Zan - Ricqlès factory; don’t miss the visit the Musée du Bonbon Haribo if you have a sweet tooth!
As for pottery, a family-ran factory founded 1802 still promotes ancestral know-how.
Uzes, Ville d’Art et d’Histoire
The historic city center of Uzes was classified 'protected area' in January 1965 and has since been steadily restored to the highest standards.
As a result, Uzes was ranked City of Art and History in 2008.
It indeed enjoys international fame for its picturesque medieval cobbled streets bordered by 16th and 17th centuries buildings and its main square, Place aux Herbes, which accommodates the farmers markets among others.
Finally, you can discover Uzes and region’s rich historical heritage in the Musée Georges-Borias.
Department of Gard
Coordinates: Lat 44.012110 – Long 4.419946
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