- Saint-Gilles, Gard
Western portal of the abbey church of Saint-Gilles
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It is the second most populous commune in the
Nîmes metropolitan area.
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.
Benedictine monasteryof Saint-Gilles was founded during the 7th century traditionally by the hermit Saint Giles( Latin"Ægidius"), whose relicsthe abbey possessed. The commune formed around the nucleus of the abbey, which was the first stopping point for pilgrims bound for Santiago de Compostelain Spain, who were following the "via Tolosana" that led from Arlesto Toulouseand crossed the Pyreneesto 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 ProvencalRomanesque. The church has three naves and a famed spiral staircase of cantilevered stone steps. During the French Wars of Religionthe Protestants fortified themselves within the abbey, which was severely damaged.
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).
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.
Costières de Nîmes AOC
Communes of the Gard department
* [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)
*Whitney S. Stoddard, 1973. "The Façade of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard: Its Influence on French Sculpture" (Wesleyan University Press,)
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