•Gard (30126) • Population: 1,834 • Altitude: 86 m
Tavel is a small village in the Côte-du-Rhône wine region northwest of Avigion, on the right bank of the Rhône. The village has an old center and an old church, a beautiful fountain, an interesting lavoir, and café-restaurants for visitors.
Tavel has been known for its wines for the last 700 years. It's still a wine farming community, but now also a residential town for people working in and around Avignon and Bagnols-sur-Cèze.
Tavel, like many towns and villages in France, has an area of small market gardens grouped together, where the owners raise vegetables and fruit. And, like many other village market-garden areas, Tavel's is located near the lavoir and is irrigated by the same source or stream used by the lavoir.
The market-garden plots of Tavel are divided by tall, solid dry-stone walls, making the area a lovely mosaic of ancient-looking plots. A narrow passage winds its way through the plots, between the stone walls, often with a narrow stream running down the center of the path.
All of the individual plots are irrigated by manipulating the outflow of the natural stream with flat rocks on end to divert the water flow along channels through the gardens.
Tavel has a very nice covered lavoir (wash house) near the center of the village. In July the lavoir is decorated with wine bottles (Tavel wine, of course) supported on bamboo sticks for the annual village festival.
The fresh-water stream that flows through the lavoir continues out the back to irrigate the market-gardens of the village.
Wine of Tavel
Both Tavel and the next-door village of Lirac are famous for their rosé wines. Some of the Tavel wineries are located right at the village and are open for visiting and wine tasting.
Tavel wines were favored by the Avignon Popes in the 14th century.
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History of Tavel
Prehistoric: Extensive Bronze Age artifacts were discovered here, at a site called Cabane de Tavelet.
Gallo-Roman: Roman baths were located at Tavel in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. A Roman villa and Gallo-Roman tombs and artifacts have been found here.
DatesTavel has its village festival on the first Saturday following the 14th of July (Independence Day).
• GPS: 44.011684, 4.700281
A broad range of low, limestone hills, the garrigue stretch between Tavel and Uzès, 20 km to the west. Filled with low Kermes Oaks and dry-area herbs, flowers and flowering shrubs, the garrigue is laced with hiking trails, many with rather rocky paths.
Tavel has a couple of nice restaurants. Most interesting, though, for people visiting, or just passing through, are three small café-restaurants close together in the center of the village. Obviously competing, all three offer full menus at 10.50 - 11-50 euros. We ate in the Xxxxxx (July 2015), with starters, salmon, spinach, rice, dessert and coffee for 10.50; not 3-star but definitely good and enjoyable.
We're not sure about the more up-market restaurants. For example, we tracked down La Genestière Restaurant (and winery) on the outskirts of the village, on an appropriate weekday (2015) and time, but the place was locked up tight.
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).