Nicknamed the "little Venice of the Gard", in the heart of the Cèze Valley in the Gard, Goudargues is a small atypical village of 1000 inhabitants.
A bit of History...
After a Roman presence, the Benedictine monks of Aniane founded in the year 800 a Benedictine abbey around the pond of "gordanicus" fed by springs. It was around this abbey that Goudargues was born, whose history has always revolved around its church and abbey, the object of religious quarrels that did not end until the 18th century.
Following a victorious battle against the Saracens Guilhem decided to erect an oratory in 781 with the name of Sainte-Marie and Saint-Michel. The place chosen was a hill on the edge of the Cèze, which became the locality of Saint Michelet. It was the first Christian construction in Goudargues.
The monks then chose to settle on the site of a Gallo-Roman villa abandoned at the time of the great invasions. Guilhem, Count of Aquitaine, founded and endowed this first monastery. In 806, he in turn decided to take up the monk's habit and founded his abbey in Géllone, which today is known as Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. All that remains of this first monastery is the chapel of Notre-Dame de Caseneuve, which fell into private hands after the revolution of 1789. It was later transformed into a dwelling.
A rich heritage...
The village has a rich architectural heritage and has developed around its 12th century cloister, drawing water from its 14 springs and digging its canals. The 12th century abbey church, rebuilt in the 19th century, is listed as a historical monument. It preserves from the Romanesque period a part of the choir and the apse, as well as the refectory and the chapter house, which today hosts cultural and artistic events. It is one of the most interesting Romanesque buildings in the Languedoc.
Also worth seeing is the large wash house and its emblematic bronze frog, and opposite, and on the alleys the players who play pétanque.
Its canals shaded by century-old plane trees, its fountains and refreshing squares give it an undeniable appeal.
The Fontaine de Goudargues, unlike other resurgences of this type, is marked by a constant flow (1400 m3/h) and temperature (14°). Remains of a villa and Roman baths prove that the area was occupied as early as the 11th century. Then the Benedictine monks in the 8th century took possession of the place. "By channelling the Fountain around the monastery, the monks were able to reinforce their protection, irrigate crops and operate an oil and grain mill. The plane trees bordering the Fountain were planted in 1821. In the 1950s, a generator, powered by water from the Fountain, made it possible to supply a few households with electricity. The oil mill ceased its activities after the harsh winter of 1956 which caused the loss of most of the olive trees. Nowadays, the Fountain still feeds a few vegetable gardens before reaching the meanders of the Cèze ".
... and a very unusual votive festival
Goudargues is also very lively in the summer with the street festival "Les Goûts d'Arts Gais" in July and the much-anticipated votive festival on 15 August, during which the participants throw themselves into the canal to have an aperitif while drinking.
Very unusual ...
Leaving Goudargues you can radiate over the region and visit, Barjac, Lussan, Uzès and the Gorges de l'Ardèche at less than 30 minutes by car.
Town Hall of Goudargues
14bis, Rue de la Cantonnade
Tel: 04 66 82 20 69
Intercommunal Office of Valcèzard Cèze-Ardèche
4, route de Pont Saint-Esprit,
Tel: 04 66 82 30 02