Beaucaire, Gard

Last updated
Beaucaire vue.JPG
View over Beaucaire
Blason ville fr Beaucaire (Gard).svg
Coat of arms
Location of Beaucaire
France location map-Regions and departements-2016.svg
Red pog.svg
Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrenees region location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 43°48′29″N4°38′39″E / 43.8081°N 4.6442°E / 43.8081; 4.6442 Coordinates: 43°48′29″N4°38′39″E / 43.8081°N 4.6442°E / 43.8081; 4.6442
Country France
Region Occitanie
Department Gard
Arrondissement Nîmes
Canton Beaucaire
Intercommunality Community of communes Beaucaire-Terre d'Argence
  Mayor (20142020) Julien Sanchez (FN)
86.52 km2 (33.41 sq mi)
 (2016-01-01)2 [1]
  Density190/km2 (480/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
30032 /30300
Elevation1–156 m (3.3–511.8 ft)
(avg. 18 m or 59 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting : residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Beaucaire (French pronunciation:  [bokɛʁ] ; Provençal: Bèucaire [ˌbɛwˈkajɾe] ) is a French commune in the Gard department in the Occitanie region of southern France. [2]

Provençal dialect dialect of Occitan

Provençal is a variety of Occitan spoken by a minority of people in southern France, mostly in Provence. In the English-speaking world, the term Provençal has historically also been used to refer to all of Occitan, but is now mainly understood to refer to the variety spoken in Provence.

The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain. The United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered. The communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France.

Gard Department of France in Occitanie

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


The inhabitants of the commune are known as Beaucairois or Beaucairoises. [3]

The commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom. [4]


The Canal du Rhone a Sete at Beaucaire Vue du Canal du Rhone a Sete, a Beaucaire.jpg
The Canal du Rhône à Sète at Beaucaire

Beaucaire is located on the Rhône River some 15 km south-west of Avignon and 10 km north of Arles opposite Tarascon, which is in Bouches-du-Rhône department of Provence. Access to the commune is by the D999 road from Jonquières-Saint-Vincent in the west which passes through the north of the commune and the town and continues east to Tarascon. The D966L comes from Saint-Bonnet-du-Gard in the north and comes down the banks of the Rhône to the town. The D90 branches off the D986L in the commune and passes in a circle around the town then continues east across the Rhone changing to the D99B. The D15 goes south from the town to Fourques. The D38 goes south-west from the town to Bellegarde. The D28 links the Ile du Comte to the east bank of the Rhone. A railway passes through the commune coming from Tarascon in the east with two stations in the commune then it continues to Nîmes in the west. Apart from the main town there are also the districts of Gaudon, Tour Saint-Pierre, Pauvre Menage, Malatrache, Mas du Consul, Mas Saint-Andre du Boschet, Mas de la Bastide, Mas des Lecques, Le Fer a Cheval, Saujean, Mas de SAicard, Bieudon, and Enclos d'Argent. The commune has a large urban area in the north-east with the rest of the commune farmland. [5] [6]

Rhône river in Switzerland and France

The Rhône is one of the major rivers of Europe and has twice the average discharge of the Loire, rising in the Rhône Glacier in the Swiss Alps at the far eastern end of the Swiss canton of Valais, passing through Lake Geneva and running through southeastern France. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhône and the Little Rhône. The resulting delta constitutes the Camargue region.

Avignon Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Avignon is a commune in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 90,194 inhabitants of the city, about 12,000 live in the ancient town centre enclosed by its medieval ramparts.

Arles Subprefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence.

The Rhône river forms the whole eastern border of the commune as it flows south to join the sea at Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône. The river is also the departmental border between Gard and Bouches-du-Rhône. The Canal du Rhône à Sète passes through the commune from Saint-Gilles in the south-west and joins the Rhone in the town. A waterway called Laune de Pillet, a branch of the Rhone, cuts through the commune parallel to the Rhone forming the Ile de Pillet. There is an extensive network of irrigation canals covering most of the farmland. [5] [6]

Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France.

Bouches-du-Rhône Department of France in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur

Bouches-du-Rhône is a department in Southern France named after the mouth of the river Rhône. It is the most populous department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region with 2,019,717 inhabitants in 2016; it has an area of 5,087 km2 (1,964 sq mi). Its INSEE and postal code is 13. Marseille is Bouches-du-Rhône's largest city and prefecture.

Canal du Rhône à Sète canal

The Canal du Rhône à Sète is a canal in southern France, which connects the Étang de Thau in Sète to the Rhône River in Beaucaire, Gard. The canal is made up of two previously constructed canals, the Canal des Étangs and Canal de Beaucaire. It connects with the Canal du Midi through the Étang de Thau.


The entire town is located in the Rhône Valley and has fairly flat terrain mainly formed by the plain of the Rhône. The north of the commune has hills, especially north of the town centre where the castle is located (80 metres high) as well as Saint-Roman (130 metres).


'Beaucaire' probably is the French version of the Occitan language name 'Bèucaire':

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Occitan language Romance language

Occitan, also known as lenga d'òc by its native speakers, is a Romance language. It is spoken in southern France, Italy's Occitan Valleys, Monaco, and Spain's Val d'Aran; collectively, these regions are sometimes referred to as Occitania. Occitan is also spoken in the linguistic enclave of Guardia Piemontese. However, there is controversy about the unity of the language, as some think that Occitan is a macrolanguage. Others include Catalan in this family, as the distance between this language and some Occitan dialects is similar to the distance among different Occitan dialects. In fact, Catalan was considered an Occitan dialect until the end of the 19th century.

Beaucaire appears as Beaucaire on the 1750 Cassini Map [8] and the same on the 1790 version. [9]


Ancient times

Founded in the 7th century BC, Beaucaire was known as a city on the famous Via Domitia, the first Roman road built in Gaul linking Italy to Spain (121 BC.). It was at this point that the Via Domitia divides in the direction of Arles, Nîmes, Remoulins, and Saint-Gilles. At that time, Beaucaire was called Ugernum. This was where, after the capture of Rome by the Vandals in 455, the Gallo-Roman nobility met to elect Avitus as the new emperor. [10] A Roman mausoleum has been discovered on the Île du Comté. [11]

Middle Ages

Chateau de Beaucaire, view from the north Chateau de Beaucaire (Gard) vue cote Nord.jpg
Château de Beaucaire, view from the north

The Middle Ages saw a slowdown in the expansion of the city. Beaucaire did not escape the troubles during this dark period. It underwent invasions of Burgundians, Visigoths, and Saracens. It was at that time that the first ramparts were built and the castle was expanded. The city took the name Beaucaire (which means "beautiful stone", probably in reference to its many buildings, to its quarries, or the fact that it had the first hills on the Rhone coming from the sea).

During the Albigensian Crusade, Raymond VI of Toulouse besieged Beaucaire in May 1216. The efforts of Simon de Montfort to relieve the town were repulsed. The city fell after a three-month siege.

In the 13th century Louis IX made several trips to Beaucaire. The city was expanding and its population increasing. Despite the Hundred Years War and the Wars of Religion (14th to the 16th century), the splendour and refinement of the architecture grew along with the wealth of the Beaucairois merchants.

In 1579 Beaucaire was held by Henri I de Montmorency, the catholic governor of Languedoc, but tolerant. The captain of the city was Jean de Parabere who was soon to play his own game. Damville then provoked a riot to recover the city but even though Parabere was decapitated, the city remained in the hands of the Huguenots, thanks to reinforcements sent by François de Coligny, the son of Gaspard II de Coligny. [12]

Modern era

Beaucaire Fair, coloured engraving from the 18th century Foire de Beaucaire XVIIIe.jpg
Beaucaire Fair, coloured engraving from the 18th century

At the end of the Hundred Years War in 1453, Charles VII of France declared that Beaucaire would become the site of the Fair of la Madeleine, a commercial fair that would enable the trade of goods from all of the Mediterranean Basin countries to all of France. By the mid-seventeenth century, the Fair was the largest commercial fair in the Mediterranean region, allegedly exceeding in a week the total volume of trade done in Marseilles in a year. It remained the dominant Mediterranean trade fair until the arrival of the railway in the mid-nineteenth century. [13] The advent of the railway and the end of river trade as well as the removal of its tax-free status by Napoleon gradually destroyed the Fair of the Madeleine and plunged Beaucaire into anonymity. One result of these years of commercial dominance was the construction of a remarkable number of architecturally significant mansions and palaces by rich merchants of many nationalities. The fair still exists in the form of carnivals, bullfights, and various festivities. Camargue bulls are run through the streets. It always starts on 21 July and always ends on a Monday and lasts at least six days.

French Revolution and Empire

Beaucaire was capital of the district from 1790 to 1795. During the French Revolution the commune was temporarily called Pont-National. [14]

Contemporary period

Pen drawing of the canal at Beaucaire Beaucaire le canal.png
Pen drawing of the canal at Beaucaire

At the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century some works of great value are built such as the banquette - a stone retaining wall along the eastern side of the city which protected it from the flooding of the Rhône, food markets, and the Municipal Casino which is now the Festival Hall. It was also at this time that the Canal du Rhône à Sète was widened. It connects Beaucaire to the Canal du Midi.

In 1940 Beaucaire had a large population of Belgian refugees, mostly from Farciennes. They became twin communes in 1969. [15]


Arms of Beaucaire Blason ville fr Beaucaire (Gard).svg
Arms of Beaucaire

Party per saltire, Or and Gules.

Town planning

Beaucaire is one of 79 member communes of the Territorial Coherence Scheme (SCOT) of South Gard and is also one of the 41 communes of Pays Garrigues Costières.


The town of Beaucaire had 7,054 housing units in 2009, nearly 90% of which were primary residences. There are almost equal amounts of detached houses (52%) and apartments (48%) with the majority of homes having 3 or 4 rooms. Only 47% of residents own their own housing. Of the rental housing (3050 units in 2009) one third are HLM. [16]


The Town Hall Hotel de ville de Beaucaire (30).jpg
The Town Hall

List of Successive Mayors [17]

17421759Antoine Nazon
19591983José Boyer PCF General Councilor of the Canton of Beaucaire (1976-1982)
19832002Jean-Marie André DL MP for Gard's 2nd constituency (1993-1997)
20022008Mireille Cellier UMP Regional Councilor for Languedoc-Roussillon (1998-2010)
20082014Jacques Bourbousson UDI President of the CC Beaucaire-Terre d'Argence (2008-2014)
20142020Julien Sanchez FN Regional Councilor for Languedoc-Roussillon then Occitanie (since 2010)

(Not all data is known)

The Municipal Council is composed of 23 members including the Mayor and 9 deputies. [18]


Beaucaire has twinning associations with: [19]


In 2012 the commune had 15,860 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger communes that have a sample survey every year. [Note 1]

Population change (See database)

Sources : Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 (population without double counting and municipal population from 2006)

Population of Beaucaire Population - Municipality code 30032.svg
Population of Beaucaire


The commune has: [20]

  • 4 kindergartens
  • 5 Elementary schools
  • 2 primary schools
  • 3 colleges
  • 2 professional schools


Since 30 January 2014 Beaucaire has a multi-activity healthcare division with multi care professionals, a dental centre, opticians, and a hearing specialist. [21]

Cultural events and festivities

The releasing of the bulls in the streets of Beaucaire Lache de taureau a Beaucaire.jpg
The releasing of the bulls in the streets of Beaucaire
  • The Salon des Métiers d'Art is held every year in October. Many craftsmen are selected and come to exhibit their original works. Since 2015, this event has taken place in the conservation area of ??Beaucaire on the Place Georges Clemenceau and also in the inner courtyard of the Town Hall and its Conservatory.
  • The Mediterranean Equestrian Meeting is held every year on the first weekend in July. Hundreds of horses from all over Europe meet in Beaucaire. This event diversified in 2015 with a children's area to introduce children and attract families. This huge demonstration, whose total cost is around 100,000 euros, has not been subsidized by the regional council since 2015. Despite the decline in endowment, the commune still maintains it and gives it more scope.
  • The City of books since 2007. It hosts publishers, booksellers and organizes a festival of storytelling.
  • The Summer Festivals have events such as bullfighting and cultural shows. The city is a member of the Union of French bullfighting cities.
  • Le Drac from 20–22 June each year. A celebration of the myth of Le Drac. The townsfolk bring the monster to life in the form of a long procession which snakes through the town led by a swarm of children carrying lanterns.


The Catholic parish of Beaucaire is part of on the diocese of Nîmes, deanery Plaine gardoise. [22] Protestants also have a church in the commune. [23] There is a Mosque for Moslems. [24]


Population and income tax

In 2012 the workforce was 6,719 people, including 1,407 unemployed (14.1%. These people are mostly employees (83.7%) and all work inside the commune (100%). [16] On 1 January 2014 there were a total of 1,533 business enterprises in the commune: 155 in Agriculture, 137 in Industry, 232 in construction, 851 in Trade, transport, and services, 289 in automobile trade and repair, and 158 in Administration, education, health, or social services. Out of this 458 businesses employed staff across all sectors. [25]

Notable businesses in the commune

White beer of Beaucaire, with Camargue rice Biere blanche de Beaucaire.jpg
White beer of Beaucaire, with Camargue rice

Among local businesses, the Craft Brewery of Beaucaire produces and markets several varieties of beer regionally with some Camargue rice. [26] There are also: a Ciments français cement plant (subsidiary of the Italcementi group), [27] and a Casanis plant from the Bacardi group which markets Get 27. [28] The headquarters of the multinational group Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (formerly Belvédère) has been located in Beaucaire since 2011. [29]

Culture and heritage

A very large number of buildings and sites are registered as historical monuments. For a complete list including links to descriptions (in French) and some photos click here. Some of the most well known are shown below.

Civil heritage

Religious heritage

Main article: Abbey of Saint-Roman,



Poets, living in or passing through Beaucaire, remembered it through their lyrical writing: Joseph D'Arbaud, Marie-Antoinette Rivière (Antoinette of Beaucaire), Juliette Borely, Artalette of Beaucaire. [32]


Beaucaire has a legend of the formidable drac , a monster that rises from the depths of the sea to seize and devour its prey. One day the monster grabbed a young laundress and brought her to his cave. The story says the woman expected the worst, but the drac explained that what he wanted was a nanny for his son, the draconnet. Thus the washerwoman fed the little monster for seven years before she was set free. But one day at the fair the drac came to the market, having taken on a human appearance. The washerwoman recognized her former captor and incited the crowd to riot. Furious at being unmasked, the drac blinded the washerwoman. According to Gervase of Tilbury who wrote this tale in 1214, she remained blinded until the end of her days.

Notable people linked to the commune

See also

Notes and references


  1. At the beginning of the 21st century, the methods of identification have been modified by Law No. 2002-276 of 27 February 2002 Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine , the so-called "law of local democracy" and in particular Title V "census operations" allows, after a transitional period running from 2004 to 2008, the annual publication of the legal population of the different French administrative districts. For communes with a population greater than 10,000 inhabitants, a sample survey is conducted annually and the entire territory of these communes is taken into account at the end of the period of five years. The first "legal population" after 1999 under this new law came into force on 1 January 2009 and was based on the census of 2006.

Related Research Articles

Tarascon Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Tarascon, sometimes referred to as Tarascon-sur-Rhône, is a commune situated at the extreme west of the Bouches-du-Rhône department of France in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Inhabitants are referred to as Tarasconnais or Tarasconnaises. The patron saint of the city is Martha of Bethany, whose motto is "Concordia Felix".

Aigues-Mortes Commune in Occitanie, France

Aigues-Mortes is a French commune in the Gard department in the Occitanie region of southern France. The medieval city walls surrounding the city are well preserved. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Aigues-Mortais or Aigues-Mortaises.

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France.

Les Baux-de-Provence Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Les Baux-de-Provence is a French commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department of the province of Provence in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southern France. It has a spectacular position in the Alpilles mountains, set atop a rocky outcrop that is crowned with a ruined castle overlooking the plains to the south. Its name refers to its site: in Provençal, a bauç is a rocky spur. The name bauxite is derived from the village name when it was first discovered there by geologist Pierre Berthier in 1821.

Saint-Gilles, Gard Commune in Occitanie, France

Saint-Gilles or Saint-Gilles-du-Gard is a commune in the Gard department in southern France.

Saint-Victor-la-Coste Commune in Occitanie, France

Saint-Victor-la-Coste is a commune in the Gard department in southern France.

Villeneuve-lès-Avignon Commune in Occitanie, France

Villeneuve-lès-Avignon is a commune in the Gard department in southern France. It can also be spelled Villeneuve-lez-Avignon.

Roquemaure, Gard Commune in Occitanie, France

Roquemaure is a small town and commune in the Gard department of southern France. The town lies 12 kilometres north of Avignon on the right bank of the Rhône. In the 2012 census the commune had a population of 5,421.

Vallabrègues Commune in Occitanie, France

Vallabrègues is a commune in the Gard department in southern France.

Saint-Martin-dArdèche Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche is a commune in the department of Ardèche in Southern France.

Calvisson Commune in Occitanie, France

Calvisson is a commune in the Gard department in the Occitanie region in southern France.

Bellegarde, Gard Commune in Occitanie, France

Bellegarde is a commune in the Gard départment in southern France.

Goudargues Commune in Occitanie, France

Goudargues is a commune in the Gard department in southern France. Known locally as the Venise Gardoise, because of the canal that flows through it centre. This is lined with pavement cafés and shaded by a two rows of mature plane trees.

Fourques, Gard Commune in Occitanie, France

Fourques is a commune and a village in the southeastern corner of the Gard department in southern France, some 4 km (2.5 mi) north of Arles. The village is located at the confluence of the Rhone and the Little Rhone and sprang up adjoining a bridge across the latter built by the Romans. A historic suspension bridge was constructed across the Little Rhone early in the nineteenth century.

Beauchastel Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Beauchastel is a commune in the Ardèche department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southern France.

Arlebosc Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Arlebosc is a commune in the Ardèche department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southern France.

Avignonet Commune in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

Avignonet is a commune in the Isère department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of south-eastern France.

Abbey of Saint-Roman abbey located in Gard, in France

The Abbey of Saint-Roman, is a cave monastery located in the communes of Beaucaire and Comps, in the Gard département of France.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Nîmes, France.


  1. "Populations légales 2016". INSEE . Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  2. Beaucaire on Lion1906
  3. Inhabitants of Gard (in French)
  4. Competition for Towns and Villages in Bloom website Archived December 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine (in French)
  5. 1 2 3 Beaucaire on Google Maps
  6. 1 2 Beaucaire on the Géoportail from National Geographic Institute (IGN) website (in French)
  7. Lexic occitan medieval,
  8. Beaucaire on the 1750 Cassini Map
  9. Beaucaire on the 1790 Cassini Map
  10. Historical Critical Universal Dictionary and Bibliography, Vol II, Louis Mayeul Chaudon, Mame, 1810, p. 93 (in French)
  11. Archaeological Map of Gaul (30/2 GARD), Les Editions de la MSH, 1999, 865 pages, p. 230 (in French)
  12. Pierre Miquel, The Wars of Religion, Fayard, 1994, 596 pages, ( ISBN   2-7242-0785-8), p. 326 (in French)
  13. Robb, Graham (2007). The Discovery of France. New York: Norton. pp. 259–61. ISBN   9780393059731.
  14. Beaucaire Communal Notice, Villages of Cassini in the communes of today website, consulted on 12 February 2015 (in French)
  15. Arlon and Farciennes sever relations with the cities in the past, F.N., L'Écho, 31 March 2014, consulted on 12 February 2015 (in French)
  16. 1 2 INSEE Employment 2012, (in French),
  17. List of Mayors of France (in French)
  18. art L. 2121-2 of the General Code of Collective Territories (in French).
  19. National Commission for Decentralised cooperation (in French)
  20. Schools in Beaucaire (in French)
  21. Health Centre of Beaucaire, consulted on 12 February 2015 (in French)
  22. Catholic Parish Archived 2015-02-14 at the Wayback Machine , consulted on 12 February 2015 (in French)
  23. Reformed Church of France (in French)
  24. Muslim Worship, consulted on 12 February 2015 (in French)
  25. INSEE Characteristics of Enterprises 2014 (in French)
  26. Breweries of Beaucaire, consulted on 12 February 2015 (in French)
  27. Italcimenti, consulted on 12 February 2015
  28. The Casanis company transfers its works to Gard, Paul Anglezi, Les Échos, 20 July 1995, consulted on 18 December 2015 (in French)
  29. Belvedere: Transferred their head office to Beaucaire, tradingsat (in French)
  30. Information panel in the town square and available as an image in Wikipedia Commons, consulted on 12 February 2015 (in French)
  31. Abbey Saint-Roman Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  32. Elizabeth Blaud-Costes, in Epic of Provençal Costume, from the Orient to the Fair of Beaucaire, from antiquity to the present day, December 2012 (in French)
  33. Gard: Toto Betelli 90 years, "the last of the resistant old bullfighters", (in French)
  34. Stéphanie Chantry, consulted on 12 February 2015 (in French)