Alès  is a commune located in the north of the Gard department, in the Occitania region (France). Often considered the “capital” of the Cévennes (Massif Central), it is the seat of one of the two sub-prefectures of Gard.

Exposed to a Mediterranean climate, it is drained by the Gardon d’Alès, the Avène, the Alzon, and the Grabieux stream.

It is the central city of the Alès conurbation and is part of the Alès catchment area. Its inhabitants are called Alésiens or Alésiennes.

By its population, it is the second commune in Gard and the thirteenth in the Occitania region. Its agglomeration ranks Alès fifth city in Occitania in terms of number of inhabitants after Toulouse, Montpellier, Perpignan and Nîmes.

Tourism and main attractions

The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral, Place Saint-Jean, (18th century) is classified as a Historic Monument. It is built on the remains of an ancient Carolingian church, itself located on the site of a Gallo-Roman temple. The bell tower, a massive square tower, has some elements from the previous building dating from the 12th and 15th centuries.

The Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption church, Place Notre-Dame, was built in the 19th century by the architect Henri Révoil. It is a parish church in the neo-Romanesque style which has a plan with three naves, with a slightly marked transept.

Fort Vauban (17th century) is listed as a Historic Monument. The citadel of Alès, known as Fort Vauban, was built in 1688 the day after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. It was built on the hill of La Roque which dominated the town, on the site of the two castles of the lords of Alès. Surrounded by its park, it is the venue, in summer, for numerous shows in its green theater and surrounding areas.

The Hermitage hill is the site of the remains of a pre-Roman oppidum (classified as a Historic Monument). From the belvedere of the chapel surmounted by a statue of the Virgin, known as “Notre-Dame des Mines”, unique viewpoint over the city and grandiose panorama over the Cévennes.

The Alès town hall (18th century) has its facade, overlooking the square, listed as a Historic Monument. With the roof, they were built in 1752 by the architect Rollin. In the stairwell there is the stained glass window commissioned by the municipality from the artist Pierre-André Benoit and the painting made by Cabannes commemorating the signing of the peace of Alès.

The Tempéras arenas were built in 1891 to host bullfights. They have a capacity of 3,300 places.

A building labeled Remarkable Contemporary Architecture, Mairie Prim’ is the former central agency of Crédit Agricole d’Alès, built in 1972 by Joseph Massota. This building is remarkable for its animated facade of sunshades.

The statue of Estelle and Némorin, two characters from a pastoral by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian, was erected in 1896, at the initiative of the Scientific and Literary Society of Alais. Initially, it represented Florian as a gentleman, standing, with a sword at his side, on a stone base on which Estelle and Némorin were leaning.


Pierre-André-Benoit museum-library whose collections of modern and contemporary art (Picasso, Picabia, Braque…) resulting from the donation of the Alesian artist and publisher Pierre-André Benoit are original.

Mineralogical Museum of the School of Mines which includes three collections:
a mineralogical collection, of national interest;
a paleontological collection, an interesting panorama of local fossil organisms;
a petrographic collection, with an essentially educational vocation dedicated to regional rocks and natural materials.

Musée du Colombier, rich collection of local archeology and collection of fine arts (Jean Bellegambe, Jan Brueghel the Elder known as Velvet…).

Shortest distances by car

From Paris: 7 hr 14 min (708 km) via A6

From Marseille: 1 hr 51 min (162 km) via A54

From Nice: 3 hr 31 min (321 km) via A8

From Toulouse: 3 hr 22 min (330 km) via A61 and A9

From Monaco: 3 hr 49 min (344 km) via A8

From Andorra: 5 hr 5 min (457 km) via A61 and A9

From Madrid: 10 hr 14 min (1,035 km) via A-2

From Moscow: 35 hr (3,218 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 17 hr 15 min (1,632 km) via A4

From Istanbul: 27 hr (2,598 km) via E70

From Bern: 5 hr 50 min (551 km) via A1

Main information

Area: 23 km2

Population: 43 892

Coordinates: 44°07′41″N 4°04′54″E

Language: French

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

See here France travel guide

See here Spain travel guide

See here Pyrenees travel guide

See here Andorra travel guide

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