Place du Duché, Uzes, France, 2015

The town of Uzès became important when the Romans who had a military “castrum” there, took the water from the Eure spring in order to provide drinkable water to Nîmes, capital of the area at the times. The Romans named the town “Utecia”. [You can visit Nimes square in our collection]

Since 419 AD it had its first Roman Catholic bishop in the city, in 11th century, arts and crafts and in particular the textile industry became part of economic survival of Uzès. First town walls were built in 1148 and in 1170 the Bermonde tower of the Le Duché [castle] was finished. All this was destroyed in 1177. Parts of the castle the most dominant landmark in Uzés and on this square, were built on the site of Roman castrum and with the material from it, at the end of 9th century. Only four columns from castrum survived on the oldest standing part of the castle from 11th century. [see photo bellow in the 4 row].

The architecture of Le Duché is a condensed history of France. The Middle-Ages, the Renaissance, the 17th century and modern times are all here.

During the French revolution it was sold but in 1824 Duke bought it back from townspeople. Several times in its history it was used as a school, last time in 1951. From 1951 the Marchioness of Crussol started serious restoration with the help of the Fine Arts Ministry. Her friend André Malraux, Minister of Culture under General de Gaulle, helped her to declare town of Uzès in 1964 as a heritage site.

Her grandson and his wife, the present Duke and Duchess of Uzès, are continuing her work. Since then major work has been done to the building, and Le Duché of Uzès is a now rare example of a family castle being completely restored. The present duke is the 17th, and this is his summer home. In the duchy's private apartments there are portraits going back to medieval times, and coming right up to the present.

Many of the buildings were altered in the 17th century and remain in that state today. In the 18th century the town wall and ramparts were replaced by a promenade and other buildings such as the Town Hall, were built. Town Hall, building on the photo in the second row bellow, is other notable building on this square. It is very well used today, we had an opportunity to be present for the opening of the large photo exhibition in its courtyard.

Absolutely unavoidable space, on your way in or out of the town you will in any way pass true here. Specially pleasant when the sun is coming down, magical part of the day anywhere in the South of France. Unfortunately this is also only place in the town where you will find parked motor vehicles.

More info about Le Duche at the official website of the Duchy of Uzès.

More Uzès photos in gallery in our photoblog.

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Present Duke of Uzés
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court yard
tourist value
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urban squares initiative by aleksandar janicijevic is licensed under a creative commons attribution-share alike 2.5 canada license.

Last time updated on Friday, October 16, 2015, 12:15 AM