"Anduze" Anduze by JLBG

Anduze Travel Guide: 43 reviews and 48 photos

Anduze is sometimes called ''door to the Cévennes''. It is also a deeply rooted Protestant (Calvinist) town. After the revocation of the ''Édit de Nantes'' that made again protestantism illegal in France, it was the entrance to the ''Vallée des Camisards''. The ''Camisards'' were those Protestants that fought against the king of France on behalf of their faith. You should visit in the 'Musée du Désert at Mas Soubeyran which reminds all these struggles, when the protestant Camisards had to celebrate the forbidden offices in the desert (ie far in the mountain, where the king's roughneck soldiers, that came from other parts of France and did not know the country, could not reach easily.

Though Anduze is a small town, its ''temple'' (name used in France for protestant churches) is one of the largest in France. The style is very strict.

One visit not to miss is the Bambouseraie de Prafrance (click on the link). For more than a century, it has been growing giant bamboos and is the largest in Europe.
The name of Prafrance has nothing to do with France ! It is coming from ''Pra Fran'', which means ''tax free place'' and is coming from centuries ago. This is unfortunately not true anymore.
The estate has an area of 34 ha, is 11 km away from Alès and 2 km from Anduze. The soil is made of modern (quaternary) alluvial deposits coming from the Gardon river. The Gardon is a Mediterranean river and has a very unpredictable flow. On some occasions, the estate can be completely flooded by the Gardon. In November 2002, the whole estate was under 2m of water for several days. On other occasions, the drought can be very severe.

Eugene MAZEL was a wholesale dealer that brought spices directly from the Far East, which made him extremely wealthy. His job leaded him to import various unknown or little known plants from these far away countries. In 1855, he bought the Prafrance estate in order to realize his dream, to create a ''bamboosery'' (at that time, the name of bambouseraie did not exist and was coined later). The local conditions seemed to fit well with the needs of bamboos : very deep alluvial soil, mild microclimate. Only water was a problem. Mazel decided to collect the water upstream from the Gardon and to install an extensive irrigation system on the estate (5 km of channels). Then all the conditions were reunited for the development of bamboos. Mazel succeeded in introducing not only bamboos but also other exotic plants and trees such as Sequoias from California.

More than fifty gardeners were necessary to keep the estate in good condition. Mazel built several greenhouses, which remain today witnesses of end of the XIXth century iron architecture (Eiffel tower). All these expenses brought Mazel to bankruptcy in 1890. An agronomy engineer, Maurice NÈGRE, bought the estate and tried to save Mazel's dream. He succeeded and his son continued the job. In 1958, a major flood hit the estate and destroyed much of it. The Bambouseraie might have then disappeared. But the NÈGRE family saved it a second time. Now, Muriel, the granddaughter of Maurice NÈGRE and her husband, Yves CROUZET, an engineer in horticulture, run the estate.
The estate receives thousands of visitors every year (up to 4000 per day) and is now well known worldwide.

  • Last visit to Anduze: May 2004
  • Intro Updated Sep 8, 2005
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Reviews (43)

Comments (17)

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    I enjoyed reading your pages on Anduze. I am planning on going through that region this fall, this was very helpful, thank you

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Cool to see Anduze again! Came here to see Le Mas Soubeyran for the love of the name :) Then went right, to St-Jean-du-Gard &beyond, not left to Home for the Elderly... I hadn't seen the Temple, nor the Greco-Roman fountain (stands out for sure!) :)

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Jul 12, 2010 at 3:27 AM

    I had no idea there were sequoias in France. I would love the market place with the spices from all over the world, sweet honey and wonderful, fresh local produce.

  • Aug 4, 2009 at 8:01 PM

    I saw also in Thailand a tree the same heigh like the tip: Upwards to the sky (tentatively !)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2009 at 12:27 AM

    Hi Jean-Louis, thanks for your very informative e-mail on the Redwoods and Sequoias in Europe! I see you have just updated your tip on the giant sequoias among the giant bamboos in Anduze.

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2008 at 9:37 AM

    This small town should be very proud to have the largest in France protestant temple! The fountain-pagoda looks very original in such a place. I wonder how long you'll stay alone in VT-Anduze (as well I'll be alone in my VT-Borovsk, haha!).

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2008 at 1:46 AM

    I was surprised to see how well bamboo grows in France. Also very impressed by the extent of those floods and by the scenic and peaceful look of Anduze.

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2006 at 9:05 AM

    I'd love a Washingtonia filifera on my balcony! If only it could stay there in winter too. So the Poles are not the only ones to eat 'tripoux' or tripe, which many westerners would turn away from as disgusting. Very interesting page and superb photos!

  • vesna04's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2005 at 12:44 PM

    I knew nothing about Anduze before. It seems very interesting place to visit. Cheers, Vesna

  • Aurorae's Profile Photo
    Sep 7, 2005 at 8:33 AM

    What a bamboo "jungle" in the middle of France! These are certainly much bigger and more numerous than Italian ones! ;-) I love street markets, these seem to be very lovely! Another great page Jean-Louis!!!

JLBG

“I believe that tourists are very valuable to the modern world. It is very difficult to hate people you know. (Steinbeck)”

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