Gard (30290) Population: 1,893 Altitude: 138 m
Saint Victor-la-Coste is a very interesting village in the Gard, between Avignon and Orange, on the west side of the Rhône.
A Medieval fortress towers over the village, which has an historical church, nearby fountains, lavoirs and chapels, and a unique scientific obelisque honoring Galileo and Newton.
The village is built on the northern flank of a low range of hills, surrounded on the northern side by flat farming lands, which stretch out to the Rhône river about 7 km to the east. The hilltop above the village is dominated by the ruins of a massive medieval fortress, the Castellas.
The village center is rather small, with a few typical village shops, and one café-restaurant with a wooden-floored outdoor terrace beneath large, shady plane trees. In the front of the town hall stands a rather unique fountain and obelisk (see below).
The overall village is quite spread-out and urbanized with individual villas. The area to the northwest and northeast of the townhall center has pretty and narrow streets, but it also is a too residential to be really interesting.
Directly south of the center the streets lead to the ancient medieval defensive walls at the base of the hill, and the large village church. The massive stone tower of the the Saint Victor-la-Coste parish church was the portal tower of the castle outer walls in the 13th century. The church was built on the ruins of the walls from 1665 to 1760.
It's a short, steep climb up to the old castle (about 20 minutes, 100 m altitude difference). The main walls are intact, of course, and an arched passage leads to the interior, with a couple of old rooms to investigate. And, there's a great view from the outside of the castle across the plains to the north.
Fountain of Knowledge
An interesting village centerpiece is the Centenary Revolution Fountain (La fontaine du Centenaire de la Révolution) at the Place de la Mairie. The fountain was restored in 1889 during a restoration of the village. This rare and unique fountain has a tall obelisk dedicated to science and the metric system, and displays the names of Galileo (1564-1642) and Newton (1642-1727).
Etched on different faces of the obelisk are arithmetic (surface and volume measurements) and geographic (distance and altitude) principles. Latitude and longitude measurements are based on the meridian of Paris, and not that of Greenwich.
When it was constructed, the architects, the Degan father and son, stated that the fountain would quench our thirst in two ways: with water and knowledge.
Chapels of Saint Victor-la-Coste
There are two ancient chapels beside the village of Saint Victor-la-Coste. The 11th-12th century St Martin Chapel is 1.7 km north of the village center, in the vineyards beside the D145 road. The chapel and adjacent lavoir (washhouse) was the village market site in the middle ages.
The 11th-century Mayran Chapel is 2.7 km east-northeast of the center, out the country lane called Chemin de Meyran.
Lavoirs of Saint Victor-la-Coste
There are four lavoirs (wash houses) at Saint Victor-la-Coste.
St Martin Lavoir is an open-air, ground-level lavoir, behind the St Martin Chapel, 1.7 km north of the village center.
Location (lat, long): 44.073481, 4.637566
Lavoir de Cannes is a more recent, but old and un-restored, covered wash house. It's located in what's now a vacent-lot type area behind houses on the edge of fields, 1.7 km north-northeast from the center, out the Chemin de Cannes and north across the D145 road.
Location (lat, long): 44.06921, 4.651368
Market day: Mon. Small Monday-morning market
• GPS: 44.067159, 4.653321
IGN (1/25,000) #2941 OT "Uzès"
Transportation Saint Victor-la-Coste
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).