The town of Uzès is located just northwest of Avignon, about a 40-minute drive. If you haven't made plans to visit this town, change them right now and go.
Listed as an 'art and history town', Uzès is not just another medieval town – it’s a gorgeous one with a lot of character. Spending an afternoon wandering around the narrow maze of streets was an absolute treat and I would go back in a heartbeat.
Market days are Wednesday and Saturday mornings and they take place in the beautiful Place aux Herbes, in the heart of the old city. With a fountain in the middle and big shady trees, it is really quite magical. It's always nice to see a town on market day, everything is lively and there delicious products to purchase. But unless your vacation is made up of Wednesday's and Saturday mornings, it's going to be tough to catch every town on market day. Don't wait for a certain day to visit, there is plenty to see on it's own.
I love market days, believe me, but it was incredibly peaceful and fulfilling just walking through the quiet un-crowded streets. The main road encircling the town is lined with big shady trees, always welcome when it's 35 degrees outside. As you make your way through the town, take time to admire the white stone buildings with pale blue and green shutters, flowers streaming down from balconies and old wooden doors with gargoyle door-knockers. Just appreciating the details of this town is an activity on its own.
Artist’s studios and shops abound in Uzès. Amazing pottery, paintings, sculpture, you name it. When I visited, there was an artists market in Place aux Herbes featuring the works of various jewellers – a change of pace from the typical food and tourist specific markets.
When you arrive, go to the Tourist Office and pick up a free map of the town. There is a walking tour of the historic town you can follow and the map has good descriptions for each landmark noted on the map. Along with the beautiful houses and streets, Uzès is home to some pretty amazing 'must see' monuments.
One of the best-preserved buildings in town is Le Duché D’Uzès, the duke's medieval castle that was built on the site of a Roman fortress. Because of this, the ancient building was strongly fortified and incredibly well preserved. Uzès became the first duchy in France in 1632 when Antoine de Crussol was given the title of duke; the family still holds the title. The Medieval Gardens and the Bishop's Tower and King's Tower are also worth visiting. To access the gardens you walk up the narrow street and through an archway, as they are set within the ramparts of the fortress. Art installations can be seen hanging from trees and the surrounding walls, the gardens are used for shows and exhibitions during the year.
Overall, the town is very well put together and in my opinion, quite attractive. It seems like everything is quietly in its place, and there is a little more soul than the average Provençal tourist town. The streets are lined with lovely shops selling amazing clothes, beautiful jewellery and it even has a teddy bear-specific shop.
If you are leaving from Avignon and are looking for scenic drive, head north to Châteauneuf du Pape (stop at a winery if you’re up to it) then head west to Uzès. You will pass more amazing vineyards and travel roads lined with big shady oak trees on either side – very picturesque and beautiful. Another option is to drive towards Remoulins and make a pit stop to swim in the Gard River at either the Pont Du Gard or in Collias. The river is pretty calm in this area, so swimming and canoe rentals are quite popular here. A quick dip is always nice after exploring a new town!