Gard

Gard (French pronunciation: [ɡaʁ]) is a department in Southern France, located in the Occitanie region. It had a population of 742,006 as of 2016; its prefecture is Nîmes. The department is named after the Gardon River; the Occitan name of the river, Gard (Occitan pronunciation: [gaɾ]), has been replacing the French name in recent decades, both administratively and among French speakers.

Gard
From top down, left to right: Pont du Gard, prefecture building in Nîmes, Cévennes and Arena of Nîmes

Flag

Coat of arms
Location of Gard in France
Coordinates: 44°7′41″N 4°4′54″E
CountryFrance
RegionOccitanie
PrefectureNîmes
SubprefecturesAlès
Le Vigan
Government
  President of the Departmental CouncilDenis Bouad (PS)
Area
  Total5,853 km2 (2,260 sq mi)
Population
 (2016)
  Total742,006
  Rank32nd
  Density130/km2 (330/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number30
Arrondissements3
Cantons23
Communes351
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

History

The Gard area was settled by the Romans in classical times. It was crossed by the Via Domitia, which was constructed in 118 BC. Gard is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. It was created from the ancient province of Languedoc.

It was originally intended to include the canton of Ganges in the department which would have been geographically logical, but Ganges was transferred to the neighbouring department of Hérault at the outset. In return, Gard received from Hérault the fishing port of Aigues Mortes which gave the department its own outlet to the Gulf of Lion.

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: however, many of the department's viticulturalists were ruined by the arrival in 1872 of phylloxera.

Geography

Gard is part of the region of Occitanie and is surrounded by the departments of Hérault, Lozère, Aveyron, Bouches-du-Rhône, Vaucluse and Ardèche. The highest point in the department is the Mont Aigoual. Serious flooding has occurred in the department in recent years, and, due to its geographic setting, it has been the site of some of the highest recorded temperatures in France's history. [1]

Politics

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.[2]

Departmental Council

The President of the Departmental Council has been Denis Bouad of the Socialist Party (PS) since 2015.

PartySeats
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

In the 2017 legislative election, Gard elected the following representatives to the National Assembly:

ConstituencyMemberParty
Gard's 1st constituency Françoise Dumas La République En Marche!
Gard's 2nd constituency Gilbert Collard National Rally
Gard's 3rd constituency Anthony Cellier La République En Marche!
Gard's 4th constituency Annie Chapelier La République En Marche!
Gard's 5th constituency Olivier Gaillard La République En Marche!
Gard's 6th constituency Philippe Berta MoDem

Demographics

Population development since 1791:

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1791313,464    
1801300,144−0.43%
1806322,144+1.42%
1821334,164+0.24%
1831357,283+0.67%
1841376,062+0.51%
1851408,163+0.82%
1861422,107+0.34%
1872420,131−0.04%
1881415,629−0.12%
1891419,388+0.09%
1901420,836+0.03%
1911413,458−0.18%
1921396,169−0.43%
1931406,815+0.27%
1936395,299−0.57%
1946380,837−0.37%
1954396,742+0.51%
1962435,107+1.16%
1968478,544+1.60%
1975494,575+0.47%
1982530,478+1.01%
1990585,049+1.23%
1999623,125+0.70%
2006684,306+1.35%
2011718,357+0.98%
2016742,006+0.65%
source:[3]

The inhabitants of Gard are called "Gardois". In 2012, the population of Gard was 694,323 with 8 towns having more than 10,000 inhabitants :

Town Population
Nîmes 146 709
Alès 41 031
Bagnols-sur-Cèze 18 375
Beaucaire 15 860
Saint-Gilles 13 646
Villeneuve-lès-Avignon 12 232
Vauvert 11 261
Pont-Saint-Esprit 10 651

Tourism

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

References

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