Alès älĕs´ [key], formerly Alais älā´, älĕs´ [key], city (1990 pop. 42,296), Gard dept., S France, in Languedoc, at the foot of the Cévennes Mts., on the Gardon River. Once noted for cloth and silk, its industries now focus on making machinery, electrical equipment, and hosiery. Base metals and silver are mined nearby. In the 16th cent. Alais was one of the principal centers of French Protestantism (see Huguenots ). The Peace of Alais, signed there (1629), stripped the Huguenots of their political power. Several buildings date from the 17th cent.
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