Exquisite countryside in Uzes, one of my favouite French villages.

Uzès, Discover One of My Absolute Favourite French Villages

I was first introduced to the idea of visiting Uzès by Jean-Marie of Our French Impressions.

He was born in the area and lived much of his life in the local region, and his family continue to live there. At the time, I remember that I struggled to even pronounce the name ‘Uzès’, or to find out much about the village online.

I wasn’t really sure about booking some time there in my itinerary. The accommodation was reasonably priced. Was this a good sign? Or, did it mean no-one wanted to go there? And frankly, the images on Google weren’t terribly awe-inspiring.

Nonetheless, I took the tip from a real local and booked a week in the village.

And I am sooo glad that I did! Uzès is undoubtably one of my all-time favourite destinations in France.

It has everything that I could want in a French destination. Character-filled streets, beautiful shops and galleries, wonderful restaurants, and marvellous historic buildings. Plus, it is still relatively unknown to the wider tourist community.

Keep reading to discover more about why you should visit and discover some of my tips for the best things to see and do in the region.

Come on a journey with me a discover the best of what Uzès has to offer.

Follow the links to whichever interests you, and let me know in the comments what you think.

  1. What to see and do in Uzes. A wonderful place to explore.
  2. Place aux Herbes: Where History Meets Lively Markets.
  3. Uzes Markets: Discover more about the local markets.
  4. Beyond Uzes: Exploring the enchanting surroundings and nearby villages.
  5. Provencal Delights: A culinary journey in Uzes and beyond.
  6. Retreat and relaxation: Unforgettable stays in Uzes and surroundings.
  7. Uzes Unveiled: Some intriguing facts you may not know.
  8. Journey to Uzes: How to get there.
  9. Uzes: A heartfelt recommendation from a fellow traveller

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The first thing you’ll realise about the layout of Uzès is that it is encircled by a one-way ring road fringed by beautiful plane trees.

This is typical of many Provincial towns and they cast a beautiful dappled light over the many cafés and bistros that line the street.

This works really well in diverting the traffic from the village centre. In fact, it’s a no-through zone for traffic, open only to residents and service vehicles.

The pace is surprisingly low-key, the drivers generally courteous, and the crossings into the centre ville infrequent. At the same time (as is typical on French roads), you are required to be confident - even at the crossings - otherwise you will wait all day for someone to stop. Vehicular access is limited to local traffic and delivery vehicles, so you’re free to wander slowly.

As you meander through the cobbled streets, Uzès unfolds like a storybook, with each corner revealing historic treasures, lovely shops, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. It's just soooo pretty!

As soon as you venture into the town centre, the pace slows even more ...

Discovering the enchanting charms of Uzès: A must-visit destination in Provence.

Immerse yourself in timeless beauty and rich history.

Delight in the perfectly -preserved architecture, delightful shops, plentiful galleries, and local restaurants.

The paving of the picturesque rues is the most beautiful I have ever seen, and is still in perfect condition. It is beautifully maintained by the locals + council, and carefully managed, even with the introduction of modern services.

I am a mad keen photographer with a passion for shutters and doors so I’m thrilled by the photo opportunities that this village offers. Most of the facades are in brilliant condition, even the archaic, crusty doorways inspire delight.

Uzès is famed for its well-preserved medieval architecture, and the iconic Place aux Herbes stands as a testament to the village's rich heritage. Surrounded by cafes and vibrant market stalls, this central square becomes a hub of activity where locals and visitors alike gather to soak in the lively ambiance. The towering Duchy Palace, overlooking the square, adds a touch of grandeur to the picturesque scene.

Beyond its architectural wonders, Uzès captivates with its culinary offerings. Indulge your taste buds in the flavors of Provence at the bustling markets, where fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and aromatic herbs create a gastronomic paradise. From charming bistros to hidden gastronomic gems, Uzes promises a culinary journey that celebrates the essence of French cuisine.

Whether you're exploring historical landmarks, savoring local delicacies, or simply relishing the laid-back atmosphere, Uzès invites you to step into the heart of Provence and experience the magic of authentic French living.

What to see and do in Uzes. A wonderful place to explore.

Duchy Palace: A stately icon of Uzes.

Uzes Cathedral: A spiritual and architectural marvel.

The Uzes Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Theodorit, stands as a testament to the village's religious heritage and architectural splendor. Marvel at the intricate details of its Gothic facade and step inside to admire the beautiful stained glass windows and serene ambiance. The church was listed as a French Historical Monument in 1862. You can visit for free outside of services and organise a guided tour through the tourist office if you prefer.

Haribo Museum: A sweet adventure for all ages.

For a delightful and family-friendly experience, the Haribo Museum in Uzes is a must-visit. Dive into the world of sweets and candies at this interactive museum, where you can learn about the history of Haribo confections and even indulge in some tasty treats. Perfect for those with a sweet tooth or families looking for a fun activity.

The Museum 1900 is definitely a must-see. This is a playful, informative, unusual, and surprising museum for the whole family, founded by one man, Gaston Baron. This private museum is the work of his life. Open daily from February to December except Monday, 1 November and 25 December. Find out more at Musée 1900.

The Mediterranean Pottery Museum: Housed inside an old oil mill.

Take a tour and learn more about the day-to-day life of Mediterranean civilizations, through the pottery they left behind. See a collection of traditional glazed earthenware from Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie, and a collection of pipes and 'terraillettes' from the Job Clerc factory. Plus, a collection of hundreds of glazed utilitarian pottery pieces from around the Mediterranean. Find out more here.

Place aux Herbes: Where history meets lively markets.

One of the most captivating features of Uzes is the iconic Place aux Herbes, an historic square that encapsulates the essence of the village. This charming square, surrounded by elegant medieval buildings, stands as a testament to Uzes' rich history. The architecture of Place aux Herbes is a picturesque blend of Renaissance and medieval styles, creating a perfect backdrop for the lively markets that unfold here.

Every Wednesday and Saturday, the square transforms into a vibrant hub, hosting a bustling market where locals and visitors converge to indulge in the finest Provencal produce. From fresh fruits and vegetables to local cheeses, olives, and artisanal crafts, the market at Place aux Herbes offers a sensory feast that truly embodies the spirit of Uzes.

The appeal of Place aux Herbes extends beyond the market days. Cafés and restaurants line the square, providing perfect spots to soak in the atmosphere while sipping on a café au lait or enjoying a leisurely meal. Whether you're exploring the historic architecture, shopping for local treasures, or simply people-watching from a charming terrace, Place aux Herbes encapsulates the timeless allure that makes Uzes a must-visit destination in Provence.

As many of you know by now, I’m not much of a shopper, but even I was delighted by the variety of quality shops and galleries in this relatively small town. With a population of around 9000, clearly tourism has revived an economy which only a few short years ago was under threat. Beautiful homewares, gorgeous clothing, desirable arts and crafts, and gastronomic delights await the shoppers in this wonderful community.

Not to mention the markets! Every Saturday, the town square and surrounding ring road is covered with marketeers selling everything from the classic foodie treats, fruits, vegetables, cheeses crafted in the region, saucisson locale, fish, nougat, and endless other treats, but also a vast array of clothing, accessories, and homewares.

The market extends from the town square, out around the main streets and onto the ring road, so be prepared for a lengthy shopping experience if markets are your thing. There is also a Wednesday market which offers divine local foods without the robust clothing and homewares elements.

Place aux Herbes. Delicious produce and brocante markets.

  • Every Wednesday and Saturday
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, local cheeses, olives, herbs, spices, flowers, handmade crafts, and more.
  • The Place aux Herbes market is a vibrant showcase of Provencal delights, where the air is filled with the aromas of fresh produce and the lively chatter of vendors and visitors. It's the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local culture and indulge in the finest flavors of the region.

Uzes Night Market: Twilight magic under the plane trees.

  • Every Tuesday evening from mid-June to mid-September
  • Gourmet food, local wines, handmade crafts, clothing, and more.
  • As the sun sets, the Uzes Night Market transforms the streets with a magical ambiance. Under the shade of plane trees, stalls light up, offering a delightful array of culinary delights and artisanal treasures. It's a unique opportunity to experience Uzes in the enchanting glow of twilight.

Annual Events.

Uzes Truffle Market.

Uzes Dance Festival.

Pont du Gard: A Roman marvel across the Gardon River

La Roque-sur-Cèze: A picturesque place above cascading waterfalls.

For a day trip filled with natural beauty, head to La Roque-sur-Cèze. This medieval village perched above the cascading waterfalls of the Cèze River is a postcard-worthy destination. Wander through narrow streets, visit the charming chapel, and take in the stunning views of the waterfalls and surrounding countryside. It's a hidden gem that promises tranquility and breathtaking scenery. Find out more.

Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie: A pottery haven with artistic flair.

Art enthusiasts and pottery lovers should not miss Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie, a nearby village renowned for its pottery workshops and artistic heritage. Stroll through the charming streets lined with ateliers, where local artisans create beautiful ceramic pieces. Visitors can even try their hand at pottery during workshops offered by skilled craftsmen. It's a hands-on and creative experience that adds a unique touch to the exploration of the region. Discover more.

Savouring the flavours of the region.

Dining in the Uzes region is a delectable journey through the rich culinary tapestry of Provence. From charming bistros tucked away in narrow alleys to sun-drenched terraces overlooking picturesque landscapes, the local eateries celebrate the region's fresh produce, aromatic herbs, and traditional recipes. Expect to indulge in dishes like Ratatouille, Bouillabaisse, and Tarte Tatin, each a testament to the vibrant and flavourful Provencal cuisine.

Now, let's explore the some beautiful places to dine in Uzes and nearby areas:

Just a few of the beautiful dining establishments which showcase the diversity and excellence of Provencal cuisine, promising a culinary adventure for those exploring Uzes and its surroundings. Please let me know in the comments of any gems that you have discovered and I will update my list.

Immerse yourself in Provencal hospitality.

Staying in the Uzes region is a delightful blend of history, charm, and warm hospitality. From boutique hotels in the heart of the village to serene retreats nestled in the countryside, the accommodation options cater to various preferences. Whether you prefer the historic ambiance of a renovated chateau, a cozy guesthouse in a nearby village, or a luxurious retreat surrounded by vineyards, the region offers a range of choices for an unforgettable stay.

Now, let's explore the top places to stay in Uzes and nearby areas:

  • Chateau d'Arpaillargues

    • Besides being a dining destination, Chateau d'Arpaillargues offers elegant accommodation in a historic castle. The spacious rooms, serene surroundings, and proximity to vineyards make it a unique and luxurious choice for a memorable stay.
    • Phone: +33 4 66 37 61 61
  • Le Vieux Castillon

    • Set in the nearby village of Castillon-du-Gard, Le Vieux Castillon offers a unique stay within a 13th-century castle. The stylish rooms, stunning views, and a serene atmosphere make it a perfect retreat for those seeking a historic and romantic ambiance.
    • Phone: +33 4 66 37 61 61

These accommodations provide not only a place to rest but also an immersive experience in the beauty and hospitality of the Uzes region. Whether you choose a historic hotel, a cozy guesthouse, or a countryside retreat, each option promises a memorable stay.

Discovering the history behind Uzes.

Duke's Residence:

  • Uzes is home to the oldest ducal residence in France. The Duchy Palace, dating back to the 12th century, has been occupied by the Duke of Uzes for over a millennium, making it the oldest noble house in France still in use.

First Duchy of France:

  • The Duke of Uzes holds a unique distinction as being the First Duke of France. This prestigious title was bestowed upon the family in the 17th century by King Louis XIII, recognizing their longstanding noble lineage.

Haribo Connection:

  • Uzes has a sweet connection to the famous Haribo brand. The founder of Haribo, Hans Riegel, chose Uzes as the location for his first factory outside of Germany. The factory produced licorice and other sweets, adding a touch of sweetness to the village.

Renaissance Roots:

  • The Place aux Herbes, the vibrant central square of Uzes, has been the bustling heart of the village since the Renaissance era. Its arcaded market stalls and picturesque charm have hosted markets for centuries, creating a timeless atmosphere.

Bishops and Towers:

  • Uzes boasts a unique skyline adorned with towers, remnants of medieval fortifications. Interestingly, each tower was associated with a bishop, creating a visual representation of the ecclesiastical influence that shaped the village's history.

Uzes hides within its charming streets not only architectural treasures but also a tapestry of fascinating facts and quirky tales, adding layers of intrigue to this Provencal gem.

By Car: A scenic drive through the French countryside.

Uzes is easily accessible by car, providing the flexibility to explore the picturesque French countryside at your own pace. The village is well-connected to major cities like Avignon, Nimes, and Montpellier via well-maintained highways. Rental cars are available at airports and city centers.

By Bus: Convenient intercity connections.

Intercity buses offer an affordable and comfortable option to reach Uzes from nearby cities. Major bus companies operate services to Nimes, Avignon, and other regional hubs, with Uzes served by the Gare Routière (bus station) conveniently located in the village center.

By Train: Scenic rail journeys to the heart of Provence.

While Uzes doesn't have its own train station, visitors can take a train to Nimes or Avignon, and then transfer to a bus for the final leg to Uzes. Both Nimes and Avignon have well-connected train stations with services from major cities like Paris and Marseille.

By Plane: Flying into the area.

The nearest airports to Uzes are Nimes-Alès-Camargue-Cévennes Airport (FNI) and Avignon-Provence Airport (AVN). From these airports, visitors can either rent a car, take a taxi, or use public transportation to reach Uzes.

This place has won my heart for evermore.

As someone deeply enamoured by the charm of Uzes, I couldn't wait to share the magic of this Provencal village with fellow travel enthusiasts. My time in Uzes felt like stepping into a living postcard, where every cobblestone street, historic building, and bustling market seemed to whisper tales of a bygone era. The warmth of the locals, the rich history embedded in the architecture, and the delightful surprises hidden in every corner left an indelible mark on my travel memories.

What drew me in was the timeless allure of Uzes, a place where the medieval meets the modern seamlessly. The vibrant energy of the Place aux Herbes market, where locals and visitors alike gather to celebrate the finest Provencal flavours, was a highlight. The intimate connection with history, especially at the Duchy Palace, where centuries of noble heritage unfolded before my eyes, added depth to my stay.

The culinary journey was a feast for the senses, with each bite revealing the passion and dedication of local chefs. From hidden bistros serving up traditional delights to al fresco dining with panoramic views, Uzes tantalized my taste buds with the authentic essence of Provencal cuisine.

Beyond Uzes, the surrounding region offered captivating day trips, from the ancient marvel of the Pont du Gard to the quaint streets of nearby villages like La Roque-sur-Cèze and Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie. Each excursion promised new discoveries, whether immersed in the natural beauty or exploring the artistic heritage of the area.

My recommendation to visit Uzes isn't just about exploring a destination; it's an invitation to experience the warmth of Provencal hospitality, indulge in culinary delights, and uncover the unique stories that make this village a treasure in the heart of France. Uzes has a way of captivating the soul, and I wholeheartedly encourage my readers to embark on their own journey to discover the enchantment that awaits in this Provencal gem.

Uzès is also ideally located for day trips to visit places like Arles, St Remy de Provence, Arles, Gordes, Avignon and a host of other Provincial villages.

If you’ve been to Uzès and have some tips to share, restaurants to recommend, or places to visit, let us all know in the comments.

I hesitated in publishing this post because I don’t really want to tell anyone … #secret

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Comments 12

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      Author
  1. A wonderful overview of our beloved Uzes, and yes, it’s almost like we want to keep it a secret to keep it just the way it is. I particular enjoy the parklands too. It’s like escaping into a magical valley. Can’t wait to visit again.

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      Author

      How lovely that you have had the opportunity to visit our wonderful Uzes. It is indeed so special. I hope to make my way there later this year and to see, firsthand, the upgrages to the town centre that I have been hearing so much about. Thank you for taking the time to get in touch. XX

  2. Chère Louise, I too found you in the video of your tiny home in NSW—I think. I have been a Francophile nearly all my life and love to listen to the language. I have been to France once for 16 days in 1985 and was so excited when I began speaking without as much translating in my brain—but it was just two days before I had to leave. Now I must go back!! I want to spend some time painting plein aire—the lavender, the poppies, the Roman ruins or any ruins, the architecture, the vignettes as in your beautiful photographs, the cottages with blue shutters . . .

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      Author

      Bonjour Victoria, ca va? Yes, isn’t it wonderful to truly absorb the language until it feels almost like second nature. Oh, you will truly enjoy a return to France…it has been far too long, oui? Do let me know when you finally return XXX

  3. Hello Louise,
    I found your site after viewing the video of your tiny house. Lovely home.
    I am delighted to see you’ve visited my birth place. I was born and raised in Uzès.
    A spectacular little town built on a limestone rock. People have inhabited the area since prehistorical times. Over centuries layers of architecture have given it its glow and character.
    What you may not know is that after WW2, the town was chosen by the newly created ministry of culture and patrimoine to be cleaned and restaured. It was the first such rehabilitation project, many followed and Uzès saw France’s most skilled trade people come and stay while doing their master work In the medieval tradition of the Compagnons du devoir. From Stone cutters to stainglass makers to carpenters, masters and apprentices lovingly beautified Uzes.
    The very same artists – artisans currently at work on Notre Dame de Paris.
    I thought you would appreciate this bit of French history. Take care. Francoise.

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      Author

      Bonjour Francoise! I am so THRILLED that you have told me this story! I absolutley LOVE Uzès (as you know) and I’ve always wondered why it was soooo beautiful. I can’t wait to add this information to my Uzès blog and tell my friends on social media. Are you able to tell me any of the other rehabilitation towns which I could look up, or even visit? I would LOVE that. Merci beaucoup!

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      Author

      Chère Anne Margaret, it really is a lovely area. My friend and I went from Uzès to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue for 8 days. Best decision ever. We hired a car. Plenty of parking, abundant restaurants. joyous views of rivers and waterwheels.

      Although I am no longer a collector of things, the brocante is delicious. Outward-bound driving is easy, and spectacular villages abound. Lourmarin, Roussillion, Gordes, and Menerbes (and more), must not be missed.

      Of course, St Remy and Carrières de Lumières. Incroyable!

      Thanks for stopping by and especially for writing in.

      Louise. XX

      1. Love Isle sur la Sorgue. Great market. Love Provence but it’s expensive. Just bought a place of my own in SW France. Wonderful that you do trips for women. Can’t wait to use my shopping trolley in my new town and to hit the trails surrounding it.

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          Author

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