|Canton||Alès-1, Alès-2, Alès-3|
|• Mayor (2014-2020)||Max Roustan|
|Area1||23.16 km2 (8.94 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,700/km2 (4,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|INSEE/Postal code||30007 /30100|
|Elevation||116–356 m (381–1,168 ft)
(avg. 150 m or 490 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.
Alès (French pronunciation: [a.lɛs]; Occitan: Alès) is a commune in the Gard department in the Occitanie region in southern France. It is one of the sub-prefectures of the department. It was formerly known as Alais.
Alès may be the modern successor of Arisitum, where, in about 570, Sigebert, King of Austrasia, created a bishopric. In his campaign against the Visigoths, the Merovingian king Theudebert I (533–548) conquered part of the territory of the Diocese of Nîmes. His later successor Sigebert set up the new diocese, comprising fifteen parishes in the area controlled by the Franks, which included a number of towns to the north of the Cevenne: Alès, Le Vigan, Arre, Arrigas, Meyrueis, Saint-Jean-du-Gard, Anduze, and Vissec. The diocese disappeared in the 8th century with the conquest of the whole of Septimania by the Franks. No longer a residential bishopric, Arisitum is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see.
After the Edict of Nantes, Alès was one of the places de sûreté given to the Huguenots. Louis XIII took back the town in 1629, and the Peace of Alès, signed on 29 June of that year, suppressed the political privileges of the Protestants, while continuing to guarantee toleration.
At the request of Louis XIV, a see was again created at Alais by Pope Innocent XII, in 1694. The future Cardinal de Bausset, Bossuet's biographer, was Bishop of Alais from 1784 to 1790. It was suppressed after the French Revolution, and its territory was divided between the diocese of Avignon and the diocese of Mende.
Alès is the center of a mining district and hosts the École des mines d'Alès.
Historically, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1911):
- "The town is one of the most important markets for raw silk and cocoons in the south of France, and the Gardon supplies power to numerous silk-mills. It is also the centre of a mineral field, which yields large quantities of coal, iron, zinc and lead; its blast-furnaces, foundries, glass-works and engineering works afford employment to many workmen."
Pasteur did his research on the silkworm disease (pébrine and flacherie) at Alès, and the town dedicated a bust to his memory. There is also a statue of the chemist J.B. Dumas. Alphonse Daudet was master study at the College of Ales and was written "le petit chose".
Historically, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition:
- "The streets are wide and its promenades and fine plane-trees make the town attractive; but the public buildings, the chief of which are the Saint-Jean-Baptiste cathedral, a heavy building of the 18th century, and the citadel, which serves as barracks and prison, are of small interest."
Alès was the birthplace of:
- Rigord (c. 1150 – c. 1209), chronicler (probable birthplace)
- Jean-Pierre des Ours de Mandajors (1679–1747), 18th-century French historian and playwright.
- Jean-Baptiste Dumas (1800–1884), chemist
- Gabriel Montoya (1868–1914), Parisian chansonnier
- Edgard de Larminat (1895–1962), French general
- Charles Dugas (1885–1957), Archaeologist and Hellenist
- Guillaume de Ramel (born 1974), American philanthropist and sometime political candidate
- Louis Leprince-Ringuet (1901–2000), physicist
- Maurice André (1933–2012), trumpeter, active in the classical music field
- Laurent Blanc (born 1965), football defender
- Nabil El Zhar (born 1986), football striker
- Stéphane Sarrazin (born 1975), sportscar racing driver, rally driver
Twin towns — Sister cities
Alès is twinned with:
- Louis Saltet, L'évêché d'Arisitum, in Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique, publié par l'Institut Catholique de Toulouse, nn. 7-8 (1902), pp. 220-231
- Louis Duchesne, Fastes épiscopaux de l'ancienne Gaule, vol. I, Paris 1907, pp. 316-317
- Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 839
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Alais". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 468.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alès.|
- Alès travel guide from Wikivoyage
- City council website (in French)
- The Regordane Way or St Gilles Trail, which starts in Alès