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Published: August 18th 2013
Nimes & Caracassone France 11 August 2013
We stayed at Camping Domaine De la Bastied which was 10 minutes drive form Nimes. We were advised by the Park owners where to park our camper to have a look at the city. This always helps because if we can find a park, everything falls into place beautifully from there.
There was large avenues lined with big trees and some had lawn, water features, tables and chairs all of which were being enjoyed by people on this beautiful Sunday morning. We parked the camper close to the Quai de la Fountain which was an incredible Roman-built structure.
We also saw the Temple of Diane.
We then walked a little further and came across the Contemporary Art Museum which also has a movie on the history of Gladiators but we decided not to watch this hour-long film in French!! The building had finely fluted Corinthian columns and sculptured frieze.
Some of the streets were paved with shiny cream pavers which gave this part of the city a very clean feel.
We got a map to see where the Les Arenes was. It is said that all roads lead
to this amphitheatre – and they do, and rightly so. This was built in the 1st
century and is still being used today. In fact they were setting it up for a performance which required water features. We were given an audio guide which told the story of the history of gladiator combats from the early times. Quite honestly, the fights were gruesome. In the 3rd
century the fighting to the death ceased due to the encouragement from the religious leaders, not because the men were being killed. It was because the fights were keeping the people away from the church!!
The visit to the town was very impressive.
We then hiked it pretty swiftly along the toll-road down to Narbonne before turning away from the SE coast of France, driving west along a secondary road. We had read about the town of Carcassonne which had a citadel which was a perfectly restored medieval town. We had thought we had seen the perfect medieval towns in Greek and Croatia until we saw Carcassonne.
It of course was built on top of a hill overlooking the Basse Valley. The strategic position of the citadel between the
Atlantic and Mediterranean led to its original settlement and was consolidated by the Romans in the 2nd
century BC. There was a network of narrow streets (now with tourist shops) cathedral, five sandstone towers, portcullises, a moat and drawbrirdge. There was a fortress within a fortress. It was surrounded by a stone wall.
We found a park for the camper easily and walked to the fortress. There was a little train taking tourists up the hill. We always choose to walk in these circumstances. There was also a fellow making big bubbles for the children. Once we walked through the main gate, we were amongst wall-to-wall people. We think it is time all the Europeans go back to work and school!!!!! But what an experience. I hope you like the photos.
We then drove further west and found a camp site in Nailloux which is 30 kms east of Toulouse. This camp site was next to a lake which was 6km in circumference. We had a drink at their restaurant watching hot air balloons being launched, horses being ridden and children having a lovely time. It was a great spot.
The next morning we were on our
way to Toulouse.
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