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City Guide: Anduze

Where to eat, hang, shop and stay in Anduze


We’ve been visiting Anduze in the South of France for 12 years and my husband for more than half his life. Our dearest friends mum lived there and the house has stayed in the family, so we’ve had the pleasure of living their like a local. We’ve stayed both in and out of season with and without kids, it’s a home from home and hope you love it too.

Father and daughter walking in the river in Anduze

The river is perfect for swimming + paddling

 

Anduze is known as the gateway to the Cevenne it sits at the entrance to the mountains in the Languedoc region which stretches all the way from the Pyrennees.  It’s a beautiful sun-baked town with old stone houses dating back hundreds of years. The town itself is tiny but Anduze actually has quite a big sprawl with many visitors just outside the centre and travelling in. The starting point is Le Gardon river that starts in the mountains and run through it all the way to the next town of Ales.

Child in doorway in front of street art in Anduze

The area is full of beautiful street art in amongst the old stone buildings. H wears Cub Toucan sun hat.

As Anduze is tiny and very popular in peak summer season it can be pretty busy so it’s definitely worth bearing this in mind and if possible visit more to the May, June or September months when all the attractions are still available but it’s slightly less crazy with tourists

Mother and daughter stood in front of doorway
One of our favourite things is to wander through the streets + check out the old doors

 

Here’s some of our favourite things to eat, hang, shop + stay. But first lets start with getting there.


Getting there

From the UK there are several options:

  1. Drive - we did this for the first time this year and with kids I would recommend in peak season as it was infinitely cheaper and more practical, especially as a car is a necessity for getting around. We took the car ferry from Folkstone and stayed here (this is a great little hotel)  and drove half way stopping in Dijon for one night here (bonus of a swimming pool for the kids to stretch their legs) and then completing the journey the next day. On the return we stopped in Reims here (this was an ok apartment, super cheap and good location but basic). All of the places we stayed driving included free parking. 
  2. Fly to Nimes. Nimes is about 45 minutes drive from Anduze and is a beautiful city in it’s own right. It's where Denim was invented and worth a stay. You can pick up a car at the airport or head on the train into Nimes. From Nimes centre you have two options get the bus from Nimes to Anduze - this is the cheapest option but only runs in the morning and afternoon. Or you can hire a car from the train station
  3. Take the train - you can do this in several different ways but quickest is to go to Paris and then head across town on the tube and get on the TGV all the way to Nimes

    *They all take about the same amount of time but costs can vary and also a lot depends on how the kids travel. Ours like being in the car but are less keen on flying. 



    Eat

    Child in market place

    Anduze Saturday morning market

    Now this is where Anduze and the region really comes into it’s own. The local produce is simply sun drenched goodness. Our preference even before kids was to visit the markets, shop and cook at home. The best markets are:

    Peladorn tart and salad

    Our home cooking after a visit to the market including pelardon tarts.

    Anduze - Saturday morning in the main square. The vegetables are amazing, tasty wonky vegetables make sure you go for the courgettes, tomatoes, garlic, white aubergines + the onions. In fact we brought onions back they were so good. The area is famous for cheese and pelardon is the *only one you need in your life. Grab some beignets to nibble while you shop and take a look at the fish cart. Adjacent to this market is a fantastic butchers  Boucherie des Halles with a bit of deli too. Not the cheapest but certainly the tastiest

    Father and daughter trying oysters

    Trying oysters for the first time in LaSalle *she wasn't sure

    La Salle - up in the hills every Monday. Once you have wiggled your way through this tiny town and found a parking space you will be treated to the best breads / jams / vegetables and the town is lovely too.

     

    For a full list of all the local markets and times check here.


    Now for actual places to go let’s talk patisseries. Everyone in Anduze has their favourites. We’ve tried them all and this is ours Patisseries Artisanal Jean Sephane on the Avenue du Pasteur. The beurre (butter) croissant which is different to a regular croissant is everything. Their pain au choc is pretty good too. We normally grab either a festive or campagne loaf and a quiche from here for lunch too. Side note this is a busy working town patisseries open around 7am and are sold out by 10am so get up and get on it. In Anduze traditionally your grab your pastry and then head to a local cafe and order your coffee. It's the norm to eat your pastry there.


    The restaurant/ cafe scene is constantly changing in Anduze but there are a couple of favourites that have been around for a while. Le Petit Jardin is a cafe/bar with outdoor seating on the main strip. It specialises in ice-cream concoctions and the l’enfant ice cream for 3E is brilliant and includes a sweet treat. It also does a simple selection of crepes with salad. Mainly, though this is where you can hang out, watch the world go by, play a game of cards and sip on the local (fabulous rose) for 2E a glass.


    If you actually fancy a proper meal there are a couple of options, Le Cabanon sits on the strip and is a little more upmarket. The food is great and while it’s family friendly it’s definitely more grown up. We wouldn’t have taken our noisy two some in this time around. L'Ô à la Bouche sits in one of the side streets of the main square. Tasty, cosy and great french food, tricky to get into so book ahead. 


    Drink

    When in France, eh?! Le Petite Jardin is a great starting point. A new bar opposite opened this summer with a slightly more grown up feeling that I really liked. Inside the town walls we would head to a little square that is shared between a cafe and a bar. Tea Potes - offers ice-creams, tea and non-alcoholic tasty options (no coca cola) while Tife Taff has great beers and wine on tap. Grab a table by the fountain the kids have the ice-cream you get the wine in. Lots of families pop by here and it’s great for making friends


    In the main square where the market is held there is also a bar that serves 100 beers, called Les Cevenne des Sandy. The selection is great, the squares atmosphere is buzzy particularly at the weekend with live music,  but the service is slow. If you’re thirsty start elsewhere.


    Hang

    Family of four enjoying time at the pool

    Spending the day swimming at Castle Rose. H in Cub Toucan Hat and F in Adventurer Panda hat

    We spend a lot of time at the house re-charging, reading, playing cards, cooking when it’s very hot but we’ve also found some other secret spots. The park is beautiful and shaded for the kids with a huge pond and ducks. While we don’t camp we do book into Castle Rose campsite for a few days so we can use their pool and water park. It works out cheaper than heading to a theme park. We go when it opens, swim, head home for lunch and a nap then head back in the evening. 

    We’ve also discovered the local outdoor Piscine Communatire at nearby St Jean du Gard. Fantastic, cheap (2e per adult) and you can take a picnic. Take a sun brolly too as there isn’t a lot of shade but there are three pools and a diving board which H learnt to dive on this summer.

    Father and daughter sat on a bench in Anduze

    We do a lot of swimming and the River is perfect for this. Head up to the hills where the water is beautiful and keep your eyes peeled for somewhere to swim. It’s one of our favourite bits of Anduze

    Father and daughter walking through the bambourserie in Anduze

    The bambouserie is pretty epic to explore

    Anduze is also well known for it’s Bamboo and it has a huge Bambouserie which is lovely to visit plus the ‘petit train’ which is a lovely steam train that takes you right through the mountains

    Father and daughter on the balcony looking at the stars

    The sky is beautiful and clear, so make sure you stay up late one night and take a walk and look up.

    Shops

    Anduze doesn’t have many shops it’s pretty tiny, a few tourists bits and pieces and lots of crystal shops. But there are three shops that I do love. For interiors and pottery shop Mercery is opposite and a great baby shop next to our favourite patisserie (its not even on google though!)

    For a bigger shopping experience I head to nearby town Ales and hit the bigger shops.


    Stay

    As I mentioned we stay with friends but I’ve looked at a few places that I would choose if we were finding our own accommodation. The things I would be looking for are: fans or air con, ideally a pool as its gets super hot. There is also lots of camping all around the area.


    This hotel is lovely and has a pool and fine dining. I’ve visited several times and is about 15 minute drive to the town 


    This is a large rental cottage at the top of the hill perfect for a big group 


    Or if you want to stay right in the city forgo a pool then try an apartment in the centre like this 



    Tips

    Child eating ice-cream

    Remember to stay cool and eat all the ice-cream. H wearing Trailblazer hat

    After hours it’ll all about the tiny Cafe Des Arts bar with the pinball machine and the pool table. Feel like a local and stay up late especially on Wednesdays.

    Keep your eyes peeled for the festivals and night markets. The summer is full of them and they often have live music in the squares for dancing

    Petrol prices vary greatly so be careful where you fill up

    The BEST rose you will drink (in my opinion) is from here. Ask for the sac en boit Rose (the bag in box) great value and tastes great, you will thank me a lot for this tip :)

    Due to the river there can be quite a lot of mosquitoes so pack your LHW sun hat and keep the bugs at bay and I travel with a mossie net for the cot at night, just to be on the safe side. Here's our top tips bug free holiday guide

    If you are VERY sporty the hills and river offer some brilliant challenges. For cycling it's well known and the Tour de France recently passed through but you will need a lot of stamina. On an 'easier' level there are plenty of places to canoe, kayak and get involved even in some caving.

    Swimming shorts are a big NO. You won't be allowed to swim in any public pools wearing loose bermuda style shorts. Speedos all the way, they take this very seriously.


    Have you ever been to Anduze? Does this tempt you? Is there any other city guides you would like us to cover?


    For something a little different here is 24 hours in Cromer, Norfolk.

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