Gard

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For other uses, see Gard (disambiguation).
Gard
Department
Prefecture building of the Gard department, in Nîmes
Prefecture building of the Gard department, in Nîmes
Coat of arms of Gard
Coat of arms
Location of Gard in France
Location of Gard in France
Coordinates: 44°7′41″N 4°4′54″E / 44.12806°N 4.08167°E / 44.12806; 4.08167Coordinates: 44°7′41″N 4°4′54″E / 44.12806°N 4.08167°E / 44.12806; 4.08167
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Prefecture Nîmes
Subprefectures Alès
Le Vigan
Government
 • President of the General Council Damien Alary (PS)
Area1
 • Total 5,853 km2 (2,260 sq mi)
Population (1999)
 • Total 623,125
 • Rank 34th
 • Density 110/km2 (280/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Department number 30
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 46
Communes 353
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Gard (French pronunciation: ​[ɡaʁ]; Occitan: Gard) is a department in southern France in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

The department is named after the River Gardon, and the Occitan name of the river has been replacing the French name of the department in recent decades, even among French speakers.

History[edit]

The Gard area was settled by the Romans in classical times. It was crossed by the Via Domitia, which was constructed in 118 BC.

Gard is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from the ancient province of Languedoc.

It was originally intended to include the canton of Ganges in the department which would have been geographically logical, but Ganges was transferred to the neighbouring department of Hérault at the outset. In return, Gard received from Hérault the fishing port of Aigues Mortes which gave the department its own outlet to the Gulf of Lion.

During the middle of the nineteenth century the prefecture, traditionally a centre of commerce with a manufacturing sector focused on textiles, was an early beneficiary of railway development, becoming an important railway junction. Several luxurious hotels were built, and the improved market access provided by the railways also encouraged, initially, a rapid growth in wine growing: however, many of the department's viticulturalists were ruined by the arrival in 1872 of phylloxera.

Geography[edit]

Signpost welcoming travellers into the Gard, at Beaucaire

Gard is part of the region of Languedoc-Roussillon and is surrounded by the departments of Hérault, Lozère, Aveyron, Bouches-du-Rhône, Vaucluse, and Ardèche.

The highest point in the department is the Mont Aigoual.

Serious flooding has occurred in the department in recent years.

Politics[edit]

The President of the General Council is Damien Alary of the Socialist Party.

Party Seats
Socialist Party 17
Union for a Popular Movement 9
French Communist Party 8
Miscellaneous Left 6
Far-left 2
Miscellaneous Right 2
New Centre 1

In the closely contested first round of the 2012 French Presidential elections, Gard was the only department to vote in the National Front candidate Marine Le Pen by a slim relative majority, with 25.51% of the vote. The incumbent President Sarkozy of the Union for a Popular Movement party received 24.86% of the vote, while Socialist Party candidate François Hollande received 24.11% of the vote share.[1]

Demographics[edit]

The inhabitants of Gard are called "Gardois". In 2008, the population of Gard was 694,323 with 8 towns having more than 10,000 inhabitants :

Town Population
Nîmes 144 468
Alès 40 520
Bagnols-sur-Cèze 18 506
Beaucaire 15 505
Saint-Gilles 13 507
Villeneuve-lès-Avignon 12 756
Vauvert 11 247
Pont-Saint-Esprit 10 046

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.lemonde.fr/resultats-election-presidentielle/gard/

Tourism and points of interest[edit]

Gard contains a part of the Cévennes National Park.

There are important Roman architectural remains in Nîmes, as well as the famous Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard.

Gard is also home to the source of Perrier, a carbonated mineral water sold both in France and internationally on a large scale. The spring and facility are located just south-east of the commune of Vergèze.

External links[edit]