The town of Alès is the centre of a catchment area that extends from the piedmont plain to the steep-sided Cévennes valleys. A trading centre since the Middle Ages, famous for its fairs, the sub-prefecture of Gard is one of the last towns in the Department to have granted permission for the creation of a municipal slaughterhouse in order to guarantee the future of the local meat industry. Particularly committed to the harmonious and sustainable development of its territory, this town of over 42,000 inhabitants has also spent several years encouraging a short food chain and implementing a local policy to use wood as an energy resource (via public wood burners). In fighting against the uncontrolled proliferation of the forest, and favouring the construction of a local central kitchen that produces meals for canteens using local produce, the town of Alès plays a full role in supporting agropastoralism in the Cévennes. A true entry point to the Cévennes, Alès and its suburbs have nearly 20,000 beds to accommodate travellers looking to explore the great open spaces.

With 41,205 inhabitants (2010), Alès is the second biggest municipality in Gard and the eighth biggest in Languedoc-Roussillon. Its inhabitants are known as Alésiens and Alésiennes.

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