Saint-Gilles, Gard

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Saint-Gilles
West portal of the abbey church
West portal of the abbey church
Coat of arms of Saint-Gilles
Coat of arms
Saint-Gilles is located in France
Saint-Gilles
Saint-Gilles
Coordinates: 43°40′43″N 4°25′54″E / 43.6786°N 4.4317°E / 43.6786; 4.4317Coordinates: 43°40′43″N 4°25′54″E / 43.6786°N 4.4317°E / 43.6786; 4.4317
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Department Gard
Arrondissement Nîmes
Canton Saint-Gilles
Intercommunality Nîmes Métropole
Government
 • Mayor (2010–2014) Alain Gaido
Area1 153.73 km2 (59.36 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 13,507
 • Density 88/km2 (230/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 30258 / 30800
Elevation 0–116 m (0–381 ft)
(avg. 7 m or 23 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Saint-Gilles or Saint-Gilles-du-Gard is a commune in the Gard department in southern France.

It is the second most populous commune in the Nîmes metropolitan area.

Geography[edit]

Saint-Gilles is located at the northern edge of the Petite Camargue, between Arles (15 km) and Nîmes (16 km). With a land area of 153.73 km² (59.355 sq mi), it is rather large by continental French standards, although many of the communes in this part of France are among the largest in area in Metropolitan France.

Population[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1793 5,000 —    
1800 5,047 +0.9%
1806 5,212 +3.3%
1821 5,600 +7.4%
1831 5,561 −0.7%
1836 5,797 +4.2%
1841 5,635 −2.8%
1846 5,832 +3.5%
1851 5,985 +2.6%
1856 6,132 +2.5%
1861 6,365 +3.8%
1866 6,804 +6.9%
1872 6,211 −8.7%
1876 6,302 +1.5%
1881 5,268 −16.4%
1886 5,503 +4.5%
1891 5,947 +8.1%
1896 6,110 +2.7%
1901 6,381 +4.4%
1906 6,300 −1.3%
1911 6,258 −0.7%
1921 5,924 −5.3%
1926 5,613 −5.2%
1931 5,833 +3.9%
1936 5,325 −8.7%
1946 5,335 +0.2%
1954 5,789 +8.5%
1962 6,721 +16.1%
1968 8,742 +30.1%
1975 8,679 −0.7%
1982 9,887 +13.9%
1990 11,304 +14.3%
1999 11,626 +2.8%
2008 13,507 +16.2%

Sights[edit]

The Benedictine abbey of Saint-Gilles was founded during the seventh century traditionally by the hermit Saint Giles (Latin Ægidius), whose relics the abbey possessed. The commune formed around the nucleus of the abbey, which was the first stopping point for pilgrims bound for Santiago de Compostela in Spain, who were following the via Tolosana that led from Arles to Toulouse and crossed the Pyrenees to join other routes at Puente La Reina, thence to Santiago along the Via Compostelana. The former abbey church was listed in 1998 among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France. The abbey church's west portal is among the most beautiful of the great Romanesque portals and a definitive example of the Provençal Romanesque. The church has three naves and a famed spiral staircase of cantilevered stone steps (in the now destroyed part of the church). During the French Wars of Religion the Protestants fortified themselves within the abbey, which was severely damaged.

The shrine of Saint Gilles, located in the crypt of the church, is the subject of pilgrimage in particular by women wishing to become pregnant or dealing with infertility.

Personalities[edit]

Saint-Gilles was the birthplace of Guy Foulques, Pope Clement IV (died 1268), whose natal house is now a museum of the archaeology, ethnology and ornithology of the Camargue.

Saint-Gilles is more recently the birthplace of the author Georges-Jean Arnaud (born 1928).

Transportation[edit]

The Nîmes-Alès-Camargue-Cévennes Airport, sometimes called Garons Airport, is located on the territory of the commune.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Whitney S. Stoddard, 1973. The Façade of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard: Its Influence on French Sculpture (Wesleyan University Press,)

External links[edit]