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El sol i el temps | routes >> Saint Hippolyte du Fort [Gard - France]: Gnomonic heritage

Saint Hippolyte du Fort [Gard - France]: Gnomonic heritage

On this occasion, we will dedicate our usual gnomonic visit to a small town in the south of France, in the Gard department, about 45 kms. to the northwest of Nimes.

The fact that it takes us to visit this small village of about 3500 inhabitants is the volume of its patrimony in sundials with one of the largest sundials in the Mediterranean area: it is estimated that there are There are 50 of which 27 can be visited.

The origins of Sant Hippolyte du Fort (43º 57 '53 "N, 07º 51' 22" E) date back to the 13th century when the reference to a town named Sancti Ypoliti of Rupe Furcata appears. After numerous name changes, in the 18th century, the construction of a fort made it happen to take its current name that has only changed during the French Revolution when it is called Montpolite.

The municipality is found in the Cévennes region and its inhabitants are called "cigalois" due to the important presence of cigales in the area. In fact, according to the legend, Queen Blanca de Castilla, in a visit to the town, could not have been able to sleep due to the singing of this small insect and, since then, the inhabitants of Sant Hippolyte are called with this mote . This point is important because it explains the frequent use of the figure of the insect in the decoration of the sundials and other objects.

Sant Hippolyte du Fort is a villa where water runs relatively abundantly. Located at the confluence of several torrents, water has been present in the development of the town and the implementation of numerous artisanal activities. There is currently an important heritage of public sources and the local tourism office proposes a tour of the 13 most significant sources.

The gnomonic tradition of the municipality originated in 1983 when Mr. Jean Caizergues, "le Cigalois", builds various clocks and encourages the rest of the inhabitants to do the same. His call was followed by a ceramist, Mr. Tingaud, who, without leaving his profession, became a quadrant author of some of the most splendid village sundials.

The particularities of the municipality with a very large concentration of sundials (one of the largest in the Mediterranean countries) and the small size of the urban area where almost all of the sundials we propose to be visited, The usual style of these routes and, instead of suggesting a specific route, what we will do this is to enumerate the sundials that can be seen and, in this way, the visitor can accommodate the route to his liking.

We also add a map of Sant Hippolyte du Fort with the situation of the quadrants in order to facilitate their location.

1-2 Place Equatorial Mars Quadrant 19 located on a column made of dry stone. The sundial is a stone slab of Pompignan, with time lines and Arabic numerals engraved on both sides. The coordinates of the site are registered.

3 Rue Argenterie, 1 Modern, painted in the fresco, replaces an old centenary that was lost due to the poor state of the facade. From the old one, the gnomon was used. Latin slogan: "Tempus fugit".

4 Rue Argenterie, 5 Modest sundials, practically meridional, of artificial stone, declines to the southwest.

5 Rue Argenterie, 17 Curious double sundial, unusual, marks the true hours in an oval on the top, from 7 to 5, with points at half an hour and, all around, the hours from 8 to 6 , with half hours and rooms. Declining Southwest. Motto in French: "Profitez du moment, le temps passa si vite!".

6 Rue Argenterie, 16 Very unusual sundial, since it is a northern clock that marks the hours from the spring equinox to the autumn equinox. He indicates the hours, half hours and quarters and dates from 1989. The author is Mr. Jean Calzergues, the owner of the house where the watch is located. Motto in French: "Passant, que cette heure soit la meilleure pour toi".

7 Rue Argenterie, 19 Not very frequent in the area, it indicates the time of winter and the summer time. Motto in French: "Cueille le jour".

8 Rue Argenterie, 23 Painted on wood, the decoration represents different trades unions: watchmaker, florist, electrician, baker, mechanic, pharmacist, etc. The name of the street is inscribed and dates back to 1991.

9 Place La Canourgue On the facade of the "Bar du Printemps" building there is a very declining sunrise morning, painted on a wooden panel, with floral decoration and Arab numeration from 4 to 15. L The author is Mr. Tingaud and date of 1990.

10 Caserne des Pompiers On the side wall of the barracks we can see a splendid vertical quadrant, declining in the afternoon, made with ceramic pieces, with a large sun with a human face on the pole, without hourly lines and arabic numerals 8 to 7.

11 Gendarmerie On the main façade, we find a vertical sundial, declining in the morning, with hourly lines and arab numbers from 5 to 15, decorated with a sun, with a human face in the center. Motto in French: "Bonjour, Soleil!"

12 Rue Roger Sabatier, 1 Ceramic tile, from 1739 and with a slogan in Occitan "Lou temps passo, passo lou bèn", forced orientation to the south and quite good preservation.

13 Rue Roger Sabatier, 3 Rectangular sundial, very damaged and only a few numbers are seen in arabic numeration.

14 Eglise Splendid quadrant, of acceptable dimensions, composed of 86 pieces of ceramics. Fully oriented to the south, it has hours and arabic numerals from 6 to 18. Decorated with a scallop, a symbol of the population, on a banana leaf. Date of the year 1989 and has a slogan in Occitan: "A l’ouro de Dièu". Author Sigma workshop by Mr. Tingaud.

15 Rue La Plan, 25 Painted on cement, represents the shield of the villa, declines south-east and marks the hours from VII to V, in roman numerals. He has a slogan in Occitan that says: "Badou fai toun camin. L’ouro passo".

16 Roger Broussoux, 16 Beautiful sundial painted in the fresco, artistic decoration, very declining in the morning, is the largest in the municipality. Hours in roman numerals, made with small pieces of ceramics. The sundial in general and the motto in particular are difficult to see because of the ivy that almost covers the facade.

17 Rue du Galatras Small square ceramic sundial, hourly lines, roman numerals (VI to XVIII), decorated with a cigala in the center. motto in French: "Au paradis du bonheur". Author Mr. Tingaud.

20 Rue Basse, 2 In the "Maison Teissonnière" we find a vertical sundial, in the form of an inverted shield, with a poor state of conservation but showing the old splendor. The numeration is roman and the motto can not be read.

21 Rue Jacques Boudon, 1 South vertical sundial, composed of ceramic pieces, with the signs of the zodiac, roman numeration, dated 1989. Author Sigma workshop by Mr. Tingaud.

22-23 Rue Blanquerie, 19 Wood panel fixed vertically on the facade of the building. It has two quadrants, one oriented to the east and the other to the west. Both with arab numeration and motto in French: "Profite de jour ....", "Le temps court ....".

24 Rue Blanquerie, 24 Small southern red terracotta sundial, decorated with the municipal shield and roman numeration.

25 Bvd. des Remparts, 10 Series sundial decorated with a sun, hourly lines, roman numerals (VI to VI) in semicircle.

26 Bvd. des Remparts, 5 Small northern square metal sundial with hourly and half hour roman numerals (VII to V) decorated with a cigala.

27 Route de Nimes "Auberge Cigaloise". We find a splendid vertical sundial, made up of ceramic pieces with hours in roman numerals in squares, decorated with a cigala in the center and the name of the hostel. Dated in 1991, it has a small problem: in front we find a tree that, in summer, full of leaves, shades the sundial. Author Mr. Tingaud.

These are the Saint Hippolyte du Fort sundials that can be seen during the visit to the town. As we have said at the beginning, it is estimated that the gnomonic patrimony is composed of about 50 copies. The 23 unlisted are in places not accessible by the visitor. Some, few, in some rural properties.

You must also assess the fact that, at home, Mr. Jean Calzergues, author of the northern sundial of rue Argenterie 16, has a private collection of 17 sundials. For reasons that we do not know, it does not allow us to visit it and, as a result, it remains in the subject of its private area without the gnomonic fans we can enjoy.

As we can see, during the visit to the population, we can find, besides quantity, a considerable variety of styles in the sundials of Saint Hippolyte du Fort. We also highlight the proportion of sundials that refer to the small insect that gives the gentile name of the inhabitants of this small town of Languedoc Roussillon.

Route map

Data and documents relating to the route
Author of text:
Bartomeu Torres i Ruiz
Author photos:
Bartomeu Torres i Ruiz
Informació addicional:
Les cadrans de Saint Hippolyte du Fort


Place 19 de Mars

Rue Argenterie, 1

Rue Argenterie, 17

Rue Argenterie, 16

Rue Argenterie, 19

Rue Argenterie, 23

Place La Canourgue

Caserne des Pompiers



Rue La Plan, 25

Roger Broussoux, 16

Rue Cap-de-Ville, 41

Rue Jacques Boudon, 1

Route de Nimes

(19 routes - look repository)

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