Locations, leisure and activities….
St Jean du Gard located on the southern slopes of the Cévennes (15 km from Anduze and 23 km from Alès), with its splendid landscapes and rich heritage make this village a wonderful place to stop in and visit.
Its location on the road from Nimes to Florac helped the village develop strong commercial activities starting from the 13th century.
Around 1530 the population converted to Calvinism, encouraged by the ideas of reformed Protestants. Subsequent decades were marked by opposition from the Protestants to the King’s armies. One can re-live the past, and the history of the Camisards, in the Museum of the Desert.
During the autumn of 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson made Saint Jean du Gard the last halt on his “Cévenol” journey.
From this travel experience emerged « Voyage avec un âne dans les Cévennes » (Travels with a donkey in the Cévennes, 1879), which was one of the first publications to present hiking and camping as leisure pursuits (source Wikipedia).
From this trip the GR70 route evolved, also called “Le Chemin de Stevenson” or the path of Stevenson.
We also have on offer, a topographic guide to the hiking trails around Saint Jean du Gard.
During the 19th century, and until 1965, Saint Jean du Gard enjoyed a period of great prosperity, thanks to the silk industry and the many textile factories, such as “Les Bellugues”. Inaugurated at the end of 2017, “Maison Rouge – Museum of the Cévenoles valleys“, retraces the rich history of the Cevennes and Saint Jean du Gard. Half a century after its closure, this ancient silk mill invites you to discover the long struggle of men to conquer space and shape landscapes. You will discover how the chestnut, the silk and the Protestantism became the pillars of the Cevennes.
Inherited from the silk trade, the Cévennes Steam Engine Train can be embarked on for a discovery of the Valley of Roaches between Saint Jean du Gard and Anduze. On the way one stops for a visit at the “Bamboo grove“.
There are a multitude of tourist attractions, cultural and leisure activities around the “Hotel Les Bellugues**”, as well as several activities for children within reach. Don’t miss the Trabuc cave, which is the “cave of the thousand soldiers”, a unique place to explore, the adventure park, with treetop adventures, for those from 3 years of age and up. There is also the aquarium in Saint Jean du Gard, where octopus, red-tailed catfish and a school of piranhas await you.
And in less than an hour you can admire the cities of Uzès, Nîmes or even Montpellier and the Camargue Gard, or the Mediterranean beaches.