Saint-Gilles, Gard

French commune
nomcommune=Saint-Gilles
Western portal of the abbey church of Saint-Gilles
région=Languedoc-Roussillon
département=Gard
arrondissement=Nîmes
canton=Saint-Gilles
insee=30258
cp=30800
maire=Roland Gronchi
mandat=2001-2008
intercomm=Nîmes Métropole
longitude=4.43166666667
latitude=43.6786111111
alt moy=7 m
alt mini=0
alt maxi=116 m
hectares=15,373
km²=153.73
sans=11,626
date-sans=1999
dens=75.6
date-dens=1999

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

It is the second most populous commune in the Nîmes metropolitan area.

Geography

Saint-Gilles is located at the northern edge of the "Petite Camargue", between Arles (15 km) and Nîmes (16 km). With a land area of 153.73 km² (59.355 sq mi), it is rather large by continental French standards, although many of the communes in this part of France are among the largest in area in Metropolitan France.

History

The Benedictine monastery of Saint-Gilles was founded during the 7th century traditionally by the hermit Saint Giles (Latin "Ægidius"), whose relics the abbey possessed. The commune formed around the nucleus of the abbey, which was the first stopping point for pilgrims bound for Santiago de Compostela in Spain, who were following the "via Tolosana" that led from Arles to Toulouse and crossed the Pyrenees to join other routes at Puenta-la-Reina, thence to Santiago along the Via Compostelana. The former abbey church was listed in 1998 among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France. The abbey church's west portal is among the most beautiful of the great Romanesque portals and a definitive example of the Provencal Romanesque. The church has three naves and a famed spiral staircase of cantilevered stone steps. During the French Wars of Religion the Protestants fortified themselves within the abbey, which was severely damaged.

Miscellaneous

Saint-Gilles was the birthplace of Guy Foulques, Pope Clement IV (died 1268), whose natal house is now a museum of the archaeology, ethnology and ornithology of the Camargue.

Saint-Gilles is more recently the birthplace of the author Georges-Jean Arnaud (born 1928).

The Nîmes-Arles-Camargue Airport, sometimes called Garons Airport, is located on the territory of the commune.

The shrine of Saint Gilles, located in the crypt of the church, is the subject of pilgrimage in particular by women wishing to become pregnant or dealing with infertility.

ee also

* Costières de Nîmes AOC
*Communes of the Gard department

External links

* [http://www.ville-saint-gilles.fr/ Official website] fr icon
* [http://www.saint-gilles35.fr/ Official town hall website] fr icon
* [http://www.art-roman.net/stgilles/stgilles.htm Pictures of the abbey church]
* [http://vrcoll.fa.pitt.edu/medart/menufrance/sgilles/sgilmain.html More pictures of the abbey church]
* [http://www.carnegiemuseums.org/cmag/bk_issue/2003/sepoct/feature3.html The West Portal of the Abbey of Saint-Gilles] A tinted plaster caste at the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh.
* [http://peregrinations.kenyon.edu/gilles_photoessay/StGilles-du-Gard.html virtual Tours #1:St. Gilles-du-Gard]
* [http://www.regordane.info Regordane Info - The independent portal for The Regordane Way or St Gilles Trail] The Regordane finishes in Saint-Gilles. (in English and French)

Further reading

*Whitney S. Stoddard, 1973. "The Façade of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard: Its Influence on French Sculpture" (Wesleyan University Press,)


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