Beaucaire, Gard

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For the town in the Gers département, see Beaucaire, Gers.
Beaucaire
View down into Beaucaire and the marina from the bridge leading to Tarascon
View down into Beaucaire and the marina from the bridge leading to Tarascon
Coat of arms of Beaucaire
Coat of arms
Beaucaire is located in France
Beaucaire
Beaucaire
Coordinates: 43°48′29″N 4°38′39″E / 43.8081°N 4.6442°E / 43.8081; 4.6442Coordinates: 43°48′29″N 4°38′39″E / 43.8081°N 4.6442°E / 43.8081; 4.6442
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Department Gard
Arrondissement Nîmes
Canton Beaucaire
Government
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Julien Sanchez (FN)
Area1 86.52 km2 (33.41 sq mi)
Population (2012)2 15,860
 • Density 180/km2 (470/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 30032 / 30300
Elevation 1–156 m (3.3–511.8 ft)
(avg. 18 m or 59 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.

Beaucaire (French pronunciation: ​[bokɛʁ]; Occitan: Bèucaire [bɛwˈkajɾe]) is a commune in the Gard department in Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France.

Geography[edit]

Beaucaire is located on the Rhône River, opposite the town of Tarascon, which is in Bouches-du-Rhône department of Provence.

Neighboring communes:

Sights[edit]

History and culture[edit]

Etymology[edit]

'Beaucaire' probably is the French version of the Occitan language name 'Bèucaire':

  • Beau < French beau ('Beautiful') < Occitan bèl/bèu ('Beautiful')
  • Caire < Occitan caire ('Cut stone or rock') [in French pierre de taille].[2]

History[edit]

In Roman times, it was along the Via Domitia, the first Roman road built in Gaul.

During the Albigensian Crusade, Raymond VI of Toulouse besieged Beaucaire in May 1216. The efforts of Simon de Montfort to relieve the town were repulsed. The city fell after a three-month siege.

At the end of the Hundred Years War in 1453, Charles VII of France declared that Beaucaire would become the site of the Foire de la Madeleine, a commercial fair that would enable the trade of goods from all of the Mediterranean Basin countries to all of France. By the mid seventeenth century, the Fair was the largest commercial fair in the Mediterranean region, allegedly exceeding in a week the total volume of trade done in Marseilles in a year. It remained the dominant Mediterranean trade fair until the arrival of the railroad in the mid nineteenth century[3] and because Napoleon removed its tax-free status. One result of these years of commercial dominance was the construction of a remarkable number of architecturally significant mansions and palaces by rich merchants of many nationalities.

View over the Rhône, looking upstream from the Pont de Beaucaire, with a view of Beaucaire Castle

Camargue bulls are annually run through the streets, Iberian-style during the modern version of the Foire de la Madeleine, which is now a six-day festival starting on 21 July. Events include bull events, parties, amusement rides and discos.

Le Drac[edit]

From 20–22 June each year, Beaucaire celebrates the myth of Le Drac. The townsfolk bring the monster to life the form of a long procession, which snakes through the town led by a swarm of children carrying lanterns.

Population[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1793 8,510 —    
1800 7,943 −6.7%
1806 8,671 +9.2%
1821 9,825 +13.3%
1831 9,967 +1.4%
1836 9,601 −3.7%
1841 9,795 +2.0%
1846 9,725 −0.7%
1851 11,045 +13.6%
1856 12,713 +15.1%
1861 9,544 −24.9%
1866 9,395 −1.6%
1872 8,804 −6.3%
1876 8,777 −0.3%
1881 9,724 +10.8%
1886 9,824 +1.0%
1891 8,947 −8.9%
1896 9,020 +0.8%
1901 9,143 +1.4%
1906 8,764 −4.1%
1911 8,488 −3.1%
1921 7,916 −6.7%
1926 8,479 +7.1%
1931 9,701 +14.4%
1936 10,059 +3.7%
1946 9,343 −7.1%
1954 10,197 +9.1%
1962 11,061 +8.5%
1968 12,740 +15.2%
1975 12,829 +0.7%
1982 12,840 +0.1%
1990 13,400 +4.4%
1999 13,748 +2.6%
2008 15,505 +12.8%
2012 15,860 +2.3%

Personalities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Archived September 29, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Lexic occitan medieval". Chez.com. Retrieved 2010-03.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Robb, Graham (2007). The Discovery of France. New York: Norton. pp. 259–61. ISBN 9780393059731. 

External links[edit]