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Uzès is a town and commune in the Gard département, Languedoc, France, located about 15 miles north-northeast of Nîmes. Population: 8,007.


[edit] History

For the Ecclesiastical history see bishopric of Uzès

Originally Ucetia, Uzès was a small Gallo-Roman oppidum, or admnistrative settlement. The town lies at the source of the Eure, from where a Roman aqueduct was built in the first century BC, to supply water to the local city of Nîmes, 50KM away. The most famous stretch of the aqueduct is the Pont du Gard, which carried fresh water over splendid arches across the river Gardon.

Farmers market in Uzès.

The civilized and tolerant urban life of 5th-century Uzès contrasted with the Frankish north. Jews were settled there as early as the 5th century. Saint Ferréol, Bishop of Uzès, admitted them to his table and enjoyed their friendship. On this account complaint was made of him to King Childebert, whereupon the bishop was obliged to change his attitude toward the Jews, compelling all those who would not become Christians to leave Uzès. After his death (581) many who had received baptism returned to Judaism (Gallia Christiana, vi. 613; Dom Vaissète, "Histoire Générale de Languedoc," i. 274, 545).

In the 13th century, Uzès hosted a small community of Jewish scholars, as well as a community of Cathars.

Like many cloth-manufacturing centers (Uzès was known for its serges), the city and the surrounding countryside were strongly Protestant during the Wars of Religion in the 16th century, which wreaked havoc in Languedoc. Numerous of the city's churches were trashed and burned by furious Protestants: only two remain today.

[edit] The ducs d'Uzès

The title of duc d'Uzès, in the family De Crussol d'Uzès, is the premier title in the peerage of France, coming right after the princes of the blood. The title of seigneur d'Uzès is attested in a charter of 1088. After Languedoc was attached to France (1229), the dukes' military skill and fealty to the Crown propelled their rise through the nobility, until, after the treason of the last Duc de Montmorency, beheaded in 1632, the title of First Duke of France fell to Uzès, who retain their stronghold in the center of town today, which has expanded round the 11th century Tour Bermond. If France were a kingdom, it would be the job of the duc d'Uzès to cry out, "Le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi!" at each state funeral, and defend the honor of the Queen Mother. Twenty-one ducs have been wounded or killed as hereditary Champion of France over the centuries.

[edit] Main sights

The present-day city retains the trace of its walls as a circuit of boulevards. A Capucin chapel, built in 1635 to house the mortal remains of the dukes, recently become First Peers of France, occupies the site of the 1st century temple to the first Roman Emperor, Octavian Augustus.

There are monuments of the prestige of the former bishopric, once one of the most extensive of Languedoc, but extinguished at the Revolution, and private houses that witness the wealth that the textile trade brought in the 16th century. The 11th century Romanesque Tour Fenestrelle ("Window Tower"), with its paired windows, is probably the most famous icon of the city.

The Cathedral was destroyed in the Albigensian Crusade, rebuilt, and destroyed again in the 16th century Wars of Religion. Rebuilt again in the 17th century, it was stripped out at during the French Revolution.

[edit] Miscellaneous

[edit] Births

Uzès was the birthplace of:

[edit] See also

[edit] Sources and external links


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