Gard (French pronunciation: [ɡaʁ] ) is a department in Southern France, located in the region of Occitanie. It had a population of 748,437 as of 2019;[3] its prefecture is Nîmes.

From top down, left to right: Pont du Gard, prefecture building in Nîmes, Cévennes and Arena of Nîmes
Flag of Gard
Coat of arms of Gard
Location of Gard in France
Location of Gard in France
Coordinates: 44°7′41″N 4°4′54″E / 44.12806°N 4.08167°E / 44.12806; 4.08167
Le Vigan
 • President of the Departmental CouncilFrançoise Laurent-Perrigot[1] (PS)
 • Total5,853 km2 (2,260 sq mi)
 • Total756,543
 • Rank32nd
 • Density130/km2 (330/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number30
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

The department is named after the river Gardon. In recent decades of the 21st century, local administration and French speakers have returned to the original Occitan name of the river, Gard (Occitan pronunciation: [gaɾ]). It is part of a revival of Occitan culture.

History edit

In classical times the Gard area was settled by Romans and their allies. They built the Via Domitia across the region in 118 BC. Centuries later, on 4 March 1790, Gard was one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution. It comprised the ancient province of Languedoc.

Originally this department was to include the canton of Ganges, but Ganges was transferred to the neighbouring department of Hérault. In return, Gard was assigned the fishing port of Aigues Mortes, which gave the department its own outlet to the Gulf of Lion on the Mediterranean Sea.

During the middle of the nineteenth century the prefecture, traditionally a centre of commerce with a manufacturing sector focused on textiles, was an early beneficiary of railway development, becoming an important railway junction. Several luxurious hotels were built, and the improved market access provided by the railways also encouraged, initially, a rapid growth in wine growing. But many winegrowers were ruined when the vineyards were infected with phylloxera in 1872.

Geography edit

Gard is part of the region of Occitanie and is surrounded by the departments of Hérault, Lozère, Aveyron, Bouches-du-Rhône, Vaucluse and Ardèche. It has a short coastline to the south on the Mediterranean Sea. The highest point in the department is Mont Aigoual.

In the first quarter of the 21st century, the department has suffered serious flooding. The region has also been subject to some of the highest recorded temperatures in France's history as climate change alters summer heat.[4]

Demographics edit

Population development since 1791:

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.

The inhabitants of Gard are called "Gardois". The most populous commune is Nîmes, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are eight communes that have more than 10,000 inhabitants each:[3]

Commune Population (2019)
Nîmes 148,561
Alès 41,837
Bagnols-sur-Cèze 18,091
Beaucaire 15,906
Saint-Gilles 13,931
Villeneuve-lès-Avignon 12,216
Vauvert 11,492
Pont-Saint-Esprit 10,369

Politics edit

In the closely contested first round of the 2012 presidential election, Gard was the only department to vote for the National Front candidate Marine Le Pen by a slim plurality, with 25.51% of the vote. The incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy of the Union for a Popular Movement party received 24.86% of the vote, while Socialist candidate François Hollande received 24.11% of the vote share.[7]

Departmental Council edit

The President of the Departmental Council has been Françoise Laurent-Perrigot of the Socialist Party (PS) since 2021.

Party Seats
The Republicans (LR) 12
Socialist Party (PS) 10
Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) 7
French Communist Party (PCF) 6
Miscellaneous left (DVG) 4
National Rally (FN) 4
Europe Ecology – The Greens (EELV) 2
Miscellaneous right (DVD) 1

Members of the National Assembly edit

In the 2022 legislative election, Gard elected the following representatives to the National Assembly:

Constituency Member Party
Gard's 1st constituency Yoann Gillet National Rally
Gard's 2nd constituency Nicolas Meizonnet National Rally
Gard's 3rd constituency Pascale Bordes National Rally
Gard's 4th constituency Pierre Meurin National Rally
Gard's 5th constituency Michel Sala La France Insoumise
Gard's 6th constituency Philippe Berta MoDem

Tourism edit

Gard contains a part of the Cévennes National Park. There are important Roman architectural remains in Nîmes, as well as the famous Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard.

Gard is also home to the source of Perrier, a carbonated mineral water sold both in France and internationally on a large scale. The spring and facility are located just south-east of the commune of Vergèze.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les conseillers départementaux"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 4 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Téléchargement du fichier d'ensemble des populations légales en 2021". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b Populations légales 2019: 30 Gard, INSEE
  4. ^ "France endures its hottest day ever as Europe swelters in heat wave". CNN. 28 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Historique du Gard". Le SPLAF.
  6. ^ "Évolution et structure de la population en 2016". INSEE.
  7. ^ "Résultats Gard - Présidentielle 2012 - 1er et 2nd tour". Le Retrieved 11 April 2022.

External links edit