10 Months in the South of France


From September 2012 to June 2013 we lived in a stone house in the small village of St Etienne de l’Olm in the French department of Gard in Languedoc Rousillon. Below is an outline of posts related to our experiences exploring the region, including tons of hiking and visiting the towns, markets and other regional sights. In 2022 we returned to the region for the 10th anniversary of when we lived there.

Return Trip October, 2022

Return to le Gard
The Gard department, next door to its more famous cousin Vaucluse (typically referred to as Provence), makes a great base for those seeking a more authentically French and perhaps less expensive stay in the region. It boasts numerous quaint villages to explore and good access to the Rhône Valley, the Cévennes Mountains and the Camargue. We revisited some of our favorite spots including local hikes, scenic drives, local markets, visits to the Camargue, Bambouseraie en Cévennes and of course Marseille for bouillabaisse. Post also includes sleeping at a VRBO outside of Uzès.

September 2012 to June 2013

Home Base St. Etienne de l’Olm
General overview of the village and services in the area.
Back in the South of France
Our first morning in the new house.
Back at Last
A story about French language and culture when trying to get a lost bag delivered to a tiny French village.
Bring on the Cold!
Finding adequate fire wood.
Awesome photo.
Snow in Provence
Photo journal outside of St Etienne de l’Olm.
Blooming Orchards
Photo journal.

Uzès Market – End of Summer
Nîmes Les Halles
Uzès Wednesday Market
Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort Friday Market – The Market to Skip
Les Halles de L’Abbaye, Alès Food Market
Aigues Mortes Sunday Market
St Jean du Gard Tuesday Market, Southern France
St Ambroix Tuesday Market
Anduze Thursday Market

Grapes and Wine
Grape Harvest in the South of France
Photo Journal.
Côte-Rotie Wine Fair – Tasting with the Locals
A visit to this impressive northern Rhone Valley wine fair.
Springtime in the Vineyards of Southern France
Photo Journal.
Wine Tasting in Southern France
A visit to some of the area’s wineries including Côte Rôtie and Pic St Loup.

Vézénobres Loop Hike
This 13K trail that starts and end in the hilltop village of Vézénobres traverses our home base in St Etienne de l’Olm.
Training in the Cevennes Mountains – St Marcel de Fontfouillouse
Photo journal of a 15K loop hike in the Cevennes. Post also includes maps for this and two other Cevennes trails.
Training in the Cevennes Mountains – Le Sentier des 4000 Marches
One of the most difficult hikes in the area, this 18K hike climbs 1300 meters to the summit of Mt Aigoual with amazing mountain views.
Climbing Mt Ventoux – à pied
Most notably known in the cycling world, Mt Ventoux dominates the Provencal plain. Post includes a map and hiking directions, 23K with a total ascent of 1500 meters.
Hiking the Gorge of the Ardèche
Starting in the picturesque village of Aiguèze, this 9K hike climbs to an awesome viewpoint above the Ardeche Gorge.  Total ascent 300 meters.
Hiking in Northern Gard
An interesting 14K loop hike that includes the largest menhir in southwestern France.
Ridge Hike, Cevennes Mountains
Pretty 13K hike with mountain and valley views.
Hiking Mont Bouquet, Gard
18K hike with views over the French department of Gard.
Cirque de Navacelles
13K hike through this scenic valley. Post includes information on driving and staying in the area.
Hiking the Cliffs Above the Gardon River
12.5K loop hike with views of the Gardon Gorge of Pont-du-Gard fame.

Attractions, Golf and Other Discoveries
Flamingos, Camargue
Photos of these magical birds at the regional ornithological park in the Camargue.
Redbuds at Glanum, St Remy
Catching the redbuds in bloom is the best time to visit this Provençal Roman ruin site.
Things you Find in Hay Fields
An accidental discovery of Anselm Keifer abandoned art project.
Golf de Nîmes Vacquerolles
Well maintained golf course on the outskirts of Nîmes.
Bambouseraie de Prafrance, Anduze
Stunning bamboo garden outside of the Cevennes mountain town of Anduze.
Salins du Midi, Camargue
Tour of this Mediterranean salt operation.
Floating Under the Pont du Gard
Canoe trip under this famous Roman aqueduct.
Canoeing Down the Ardeche
Another great canoe trip through a picturesque gorge.
Bouillabaisse à Marseille
Marseille is the home of this classic fish preparation.

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