A tranquil rural region with landscapes dominated by wheat fields, orchards, vineyards and garrigue, a fragrant ground cover that includes plants such as thyme, rosemary, myrtle and lavender, Gard, in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon, is a delightful place in which to putter along country roads lined with plane trees in order to discover its many charming villages.
Most of these hamlets are lively places, since this area has not suffered from the exodus to the cities that has afflicted other parts of France. Here, invariably you’ll see men playing boules, people sitting on café terraces reading the newspaper, locals walking home from the bakery with freshly baked baguettes and schoolchildren happily and noisily at play.
One particularity of the area is that most villages have a Protestant church as well as a Catholic one, as Gard had a large Protestant population before the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which guaranteed religious freedom, in 1685. This is why you’ll often see a Rue du Temple in many villages, since the French refer to Protestant churches as temples.