•Gard (30760) • Population: 223 • Altitude: 88 m
This fortified Medieval village is perched on the cliffs overlooking the river just below the Gorges de l'Ardèche. Classified as one of the Most Beautiful Villages (Plus Beaux Villages) of France, Aiguèze is walled, nicely restored, and sits in an imposing position high over the river.
This is a good village to visit in the Summer time, when there's lots of visitors and lots of activities. Terrace cafés abound, and plenty of good restaurants for lunchtime dining.
The old streets are good for exploring, with ancient houses, a vaulted passage or two, and the old fortified walls and towers. Some of these sites are along the outer edge of the village, with great views out over the Ardèche. During the normal, good weather, there will be canoes and kayaks on the river below.
The Grotte Chabot is also known as the Grotte des Mammouths and the Grotte Jean-Louis. The Chabot Grotto was the second cave with Paleolithic drawings discovered in the world, following the Altamira cave in Spain.
The cave is not open for visits, and is not easily accessible. It's located on a meander of the Ardèche river, about 4.5 km north of Aiguèze village.
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History of Aiguèze
First record, 1196
Prehistoric: There were many prehistoric caves in the Gorges d'Ardeche. One of these, the Chabot Grotto, in the commune of Aiguèze, 4.5 km northwest of the village, has palaeolithic cave drawings.
Celto-Ligurian: An ancient dolmen, the "Piè de Mounié" sits in the woods about 6 km northwest of the village (see Hiking, below).
Gallo-Roman: The fortress chateau of Aiguèze dates to the 11th century. The site was disputed between the Barons of Aiguèze and the Bishops-Counts of Viviers. In 1196 the chateau was ceded to the Church of Uzès.
Tel (Apr-Sept): 0466 392 689
Open only July-August. 7 days, 10h-13h, 14h30-19h.
Market day: Thur.
• GPS: 44.302632, 4.55637
IGN (1/25,000) #2939 OT "Gorges de l'Ardèche"
"Entre Cèze et Ardèche", map+info (1:30'000)
The GR4 hiking trail goes through the village of Aiguèze.
Westerly, the GR4 goes through the forest, south of the Ardèche Gorges (), to Labastide-de-Virac. The trail continues northwest to Salvas, just across the bridge from Vallon-Pont-d'Arc and the top of the Gorges de l Ardèche.
Southeast, the GR4 goes through the little town of Pont-St-Esprit and across the Rhône to Mondragon and east across the Vaucluse.
Alternat GR4 routes, GR42 and GR42A go either north or south from Aiguèze. South on the GR42A goes pass the Chartreuse de Valbonne to the town of Bagnols-sur-Cèze.
Dolmen Pie de Mounie. A nice day-hike from Aiguèze is to take the GR4 northwest through the woods to see the dolmen. It's map coordinates are 44.319586, 4.497702, 6.5 km (1h30) from the village. For less walking, drive 5 km west of Aiguèze to the village of Laval-Saint-Roman; the dolmen is a 3 km (45 min) hike north from there.
A shorter hike is the PR-24 (petite randonnée) described in the Topo-Guide "Le Gard à Pied". It also goes out the GR4 northwest of the village; mainly an out-and-back, its 8.3 km, 2h30.
Department 30, Gard Buses
- See Beyond's Gard Department Bus Schedules for Gard bus-lines maps and bus-line schedules (Horaires).
Maps (Plans) for the Gard bus lines are on the www.edgard.fr website, with a flash webpage for each of five zones around Nîmes (www.edgard-transport.fr/plan/?rub_code=5).
Schedules for the Gard bus lines are available via the www.edgard.fr website horaires page (www.edgard-transport.fr/horaires/?rub_code=23).