St Gilles du Gard, France


st gilles du gardSitting on the edge of the Petite Camargue, South of France, the old town of Saint-Gilles is a pleasant place to wander around. St Gilles - or Saint-Gilles-du-Gard as it is officially known - is a lovely old town with some beautiful narrow windy streets. Through the centre of St-Gilles runs the Rhone-Sete Canal. The canal-side is now a busy place full of restaurants, shops and boat hire kiosks.

St Gilles du Gard, France

The town also features a wonderful 12th Century Abbey Church, now a UNESCO World Heritage monument. One of St-Gilles' famous sons was Pope Clement IV who was born in the town and the site of his former home is now a museum. St-Gilles is located midway between Nimes and Arles, France. With a population of around 14,000, St-Gilles is the second largest town in the Camargue region. Nimes airport is located just to the north of St Gilles. For centuries, St Gilles has been known for its vast orchards, located on the fertile plain in between the Camargue and Nimes. In particular, the town is famous for its production of Peaches, Almonds and Apricots - hence the name of its annual festival.

 

St Gilles du Gard Feria de la Peche et de l'Abricot

feria de peche2The biggest festival in Saint-Gilles-du-Gard takes place in mid August, with the annual Feria de la Peche et de l'Abricot (Peach & Apricot Festival), which features street processions, dancing and the obligatory bull-fighting. This 5 day event takes over the whole town, bringing with it a carnival atmosphere to the historic old town on the edge of the Camargue. The festival starts on Wednesday evening with a grand reception for the bull fighters. During Thursday evening, there is a procession of the bulls and matadors to the central bull fighting arena. Friday is when the main events really take shape, with a grand procession and local 'Gypsy' band playing in main square. On Saturday, you can see a display of Camargue horsemanship, as the famous white horses of the Camargue are ridden through the streets at full speed in a tight pack formation. Saturday and Sunday is when the main bull fighting events take place. For more information on this South France festival and also Saint-gilles itself, please visit the Saint-Gilles website.

 

 


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