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Adjoining the chateau of Montaren, to which it was originally attached, this imposing stately home alone tells the long and tumultuous story of this Gard village. Though the walls were erected to protect inhabitants from the murderous wars of religion, a nurturing sense of peace now reigns over the property. The three story house of two buildings is arranged around the patio which is a veritable island of greenery and freshness. Inside, shade and light mingle with colours and materials to maintain a relaxed atmosphere where one can breathe. A contemporary spirit has gently integrated itself here, as if to pay tribute the beauty of the building. It is impossible not to be enchanted by such a beautiful alliance.
Our search for a house of character led us to Monte-Arena by chance. It was love at first sight, and while we were initially looking for a second home, Monte-Arena totally changed our lives. In 2013, after twenty-five years of working internationally, we resigned from our jobs to open our guest house.
The castle of Montaren was built in the 17th century by minor lords, merchants of Uzès who had made their fortune and established themselves as co-seigneurs of the property. The stately homes were connected, either directly or through stone passageways. Monte-Arena is made up of two initial houses of the chateau. On the ground floor are the two old vaulted guard rooms. One of them, which now opens onto the patio, is our summer dining room. The apartments on the first floor have high, French-style ceilings. The windows in the north wing still have their original mullions, while those in the south wing have been replaced by 18th century Italian windows. There are several rooms and suites on the second floor which was once the attic. Loggias connect the two buildings on each floor. The outdoor patio is partly made up of what was once the alleyway that led to the high court of the chateau from the courtyard.
The main building dates back to 1679, but we know there were older existing buildings. The lords who built the house were Protestant and were probably persecuted along with many other families in the area. It was not possible to trace all of the building's history through bibliographical research as a lot of the archives were burned. There is mention of Mr. Puget, the owner of the entirety of the Montaren fort at the end of the 19th century. He was a local historian who modernised the buildings by demolishing parts of the houses and some corridors. He then sold Monte Arena in its present form.
A warm welcome, friendliness and attentiveness - we want our guests to have an exceptional stay here. We are eager to share our passion for this house and its history, as well as the rich heritage of the Uzès region. We therefore strive to suggest itineraries for exploring the region that are off the beaten path. We are very invested in protecting the environment in Monte-Arena. We support local producers, our breakfast buffet and tables d'hôtes consist mainly of local and organic produce. As a wellness destination, our house also offers massages and yoga classes. We are also passionate about baroque music and share our discoveries with our guests, who can occasionally attend small concerts.
Not far from the house is the Gour de Conque (accessible by bikes which we lend for free) it is a secret cove where you can cool off. We also recommend going to Russan to explore the secret caves and gorges dug by the Gardon, followed by the Concluses de Lussan where the Aiguillon (a tributary of the Cèze) has dug out natural pools in the rock. Uzège has a rich heritage. In our village, the chateau keep and the Saracen tower date back to the 11th century. Vallabrix Chateau is also worth a visit for its Italian Renaissance facade, as well as the medieval village of Valliguières. In our village, make sure to visit the ceramist Julia Hässig who works and smokes the earth with raku techniques; the Chilean artist Carmen Gadès, a sculptor and graphic designer who works with the earth and the ashes; and the painters Dom Labreuil and 100drine whose boxes and notebooks are recognised around the world. We are lucky to have one of the best restaurants in Uzège - "Table 2 Julien". Among our favourites in Uzès are "Via Curti", "Au petit Jardin", "Le comptoir du 7" and "La Boca", my canteen.
Business seminars can be organised here, with one place for meetings and meals. Accommodation of the same standard is available within a 250m radius. We can offer a historical tour, yoga/sophrology sessions and film screenings.