Saint Gilles du Gard : door of Camargue
SAINT-GILLES-DU-GARD : door of Camargue.
Crossing this small town, now quiet, one can hardly imagine the importance it had in the Middle Ages.
Strategic crossroads between Nîmes and Arles, Cévennes and Provence, it sheltered a port used by the Crusaders, pilgrims of Saint Jacques and merchants in connection with all the Mediterranean circumference.
The former abbey, listed as World Heritage by UNESCO, guardian of the tomb of Saint Gilles, was one of the largest abbeys in Europe and one of the busiest pilgrimage sites.
It was at Saint Gilles that the legate of Pope Pierre de Castelnau, who had come to settle the Albigensian crisis, was murdered and that Raimond VI, count of Toulouse, had to make amends in compensation for this assassination.
Bordered by swamps to the south, vineyards and orchards to the north, it cultivates both taurine and agricultural traditions: Camargue races, apricot production and the very good wine of Costières.