History of Anduze

Anduze | ©: www.anduze-info.com

The town of Anduze is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, which belongs to Arrondissement of Alès in the Gard. It was built in the 10th century and even then it was considered the not just the jewel but also "gateway to the Cévennes." First in belonged to the Count of Toulouse until its reign fell to the Crown of France. However, the seat of a Bailiff remained for centuries in Anduze.

Marked by the culturing of silk, the town developed into the regional centre of the silk trade already in the 13th century. Therefore, Anduze is also referred to as the cradle of the nation's sericulture, which started in this quaint little town. The first document about the silkworm cultivation and its trade in Anduze dates back to 1296.

Anduze | ©: www.anduze-info.com

Later in the 16th to 17th century, Anduze became the centre of the Protestant resistance in the Cévennes. The Protestant Temple dates back to this time. But you also can find traces of other smaller Protestant temples that are left in the nearby area. At the time of the Protestant forces in the south of France, Anduze was heavily fortified and protected by a mighty city wall. At that time, the small town with a population of 6,000 people had almost twice as many inhabitants as today where there just about 3300 people live. The Musée du Désert - the historical museum - allows the history of the past to continue and reminds us of the gruesome resistance in the Cévennes.

For many years, the city of Anduze was the centre of the Huguenots, who were strongly suppressed by the Catholic clergy, and lived in peacefully in this little town. When in 1622, during the resistance, the city also lost the Rohan’s (an old French noble family), the city also lost its grace and with it the biggest part of its city wall. The final military defeat of the Huguenots came to an end in the contractual Peace of Alès (1629). This renounced all the safe places, which still, under the Edict of Nantes (1598), were granted to the Huguenots. The Huguenots, deprived of power, but the Protestants continued to be tolerated.

Anduze: clock tower "Tour d'Horloge"
Anduze: clock tower "Tour d'Horloge" | ©: www.anduze-info.com

To date, the clock tower "Tour d'Horloge" is the last remaining part of the city walls, which dominates the place. The three-story tower (Tour d'Horloge) is a witness that the city walls of Anduze as well as the city walls of Aigues-Mortes (Remparts d'Aigues-Mortes) originated from the same architecture and same period. During the time of oppression, the Huguenots were hiding in the Grotto of Trauc, which dates back a long time and was already inhabited by the Stone Age people. The legacy of this history is a very popular tourist destination today. In the grotto, you can also admire waterfalls and small lakes.

Walking from the Tour d'Horloge to the bridge, with a view of the gorge of Gardon d'Anduze, takes only a few minutes. The houses built next to the gorge are built below the water level and, therefore, were already back then protected by the high wall from flood and flooding.

Napoleon Bonaparte helped the Protestants again to reorganize their churches and temples. It was built in 1823 on the ground of the former barracks. In the 19th century, the small town of Anduze received new importance through the industrial revolution and experienced a temporary economic upturn. Silk Spinner, stocking developers and hatter, went about their business successfully. The small town of Anduze lived on until it fell, like the other surrounding villages of the Cevennes, into a deep recession. The discovery of synthetic textile materials from 1934 heralded the demise of the silk market in Europe and therefore in Anduze as well. The last silk spinning mill "Maison Rouge" in Saint-Jean du Gard closed its doors in 1964.

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