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Uzès is an ideal place to begin exploring the south of France. Very close by is the village of St. Quentin-la-Poterie, a town known for its ceramics manufacture. It has recently become a centre for organic farming and hosts an organic food market on Friday mornings. There is also a lovely hat shop www.lucytillhats.com where you can buy a custom hat, or take a course and make your own!

The historical Roman city of Nîmes is located about 30 minutes from Uzès. It offers a Roman amphitheatre, great shopping, bullfights and flamenco festivals. Avignon is another wonderful city to visit, about 40 minutes away. Avignon is famous for its Palace of the popes, great museums and its theatre festival in July. Other great southern France cities like Montpellier, Aix en Provence and Marseilles are easily reached in under two hours, and make for good day trips. The beaches of the Mediterranean are just over an hour away.

For wine lovers, Chateauneuf du Pape is 40 km from Uzès. One can tour numerous vineyards and purchase wines to bring home. Other good wine regions to visit are Tavel, for the best of rosé Gigondras, and Vacqueyras.

You can continue your hunt for brocante treasures in many brocante markets a short drive from Uzès. The brocante treasure trove town, L'Isle sur la Sorgue is 60 km away. There is also a great brocante at Villeneuve lès Avignon, 40 km away.

The Gard is an excellent location for all manner of outdoor activities. For canoeing enthusiasts there are many options available. The closest river for canoeing and kayaking is the Gardon. You can hire a canoe at Collias and canoe to the Pont du Gard, stopping to swim and explore along the way. There is also canoeing available on the river Cèze, which is a good choice with young children, as it is normally quite gentle and offers nice swimming and picnicking opportunities. The river Ardèche offers the more advanced canoeist exciting options as the river has a fair current. Rentals may be accessed in these and other areas through www.canoe-france.com. For another kind of water fun, there are water theme parks located throughout Languedoc, and more information can be found on their website www.aqualand.fr.

Just north of Uzès is La Cocalière, where you can visit one of the most impressive cave systems in France. It includes evidence of prehistoric habitation. For more information, check the website at www.grotte-cocaliere.com. The Cévennes National Park is approximately a two hour drive, where you can follow in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson who in 1878 spent 12 days hiking in the Cévennes with his donkey Modestine. In the winter, there is wonderful cross country skiing and even some limited downhill available in the Cevennes.

If you enjoy cycling, bicycles can be rented right in Uzès at Les cycles d'Uzès at 4 avenue Marechal Foch (33 (0)4 66 57 41 15) or at Village Velo in St. Quentin-la- Poterie (33 (0)6 86 45 13 10).

The Camargue is 70 km from Uzès, with its rice paddies, white horses, black bulls and flamingos. Horseback riding may be arranged here, or in the Garrigue.

And finally, for something really special, you can take a hot air balloon ride over Uzès and the surrounding countryside (www.sudmontgolfière.com).

Come and have fun!