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Published: June 22nd 2017
Unlike Montpellier which has no Roman or Greek heritage, Nîmes has a very rich Roman history. The first thing that struck us when we started walking away from the gare was that there must be a mandate for all cities to have rows of trees lining the boulevards that lead away from the stations. This town was no exception. The Arena of Nîmes
The biggest difference is that this tree lined lane leads you to one of the best preserved Roman sites we have seen to date: The Nîmes Arena. It might even be older than the Colosseum in Rome. It has the best information signs of all the sites we saw in France with many of them in English as well as French. It told us not only that the arena was still in use for special events but how it managed to survive two thousand years. It was quite a story. Google can give you lots of details and pictures if you are interested. La Tour Magna
There are many fountains and canals in the city. Not commercial canals like Sète but decorative. They certainly make wandering around the town pleasant if not a bit
Arena of Nîmes
Built in 70 AD just before the Colosseum in Rome, it is pretty well preserved. It is actually still in use as a concert hall and bull ring.
annoying when you realize you are on the wrong side of the water. After lunch sitting in the shade beside one of them we headed for the highest point in Nîmes: La Tour Magna.
This tower predates the Roman influence but the Augustinians doubled its height for strategic reasons and to demonstrate their power. As you would expect for the highest point in the area, the views were stupendous. When you look out over the city and see how far the walls extended, it gives you a new appreciation for Roman engineering.
The tower is a shadow of its former glory. It was almost destroyed because of a prophesy of Nostradamus! One of the reasons it still exists at all was interesting. “They” planned to tear it down until somebody realized it was the perfect place to put one of the telegraph receiving stations. There was quite a display about the use of telegraph codes. Pont Du Gard
This aqueduct bridge is one of the largest and best preserved bridges of its type in the Roman World. It was built in the first century AD and probably stopped working as an aqueduct about the 6th
Palais de Justice
They do like their palais de justice buildings. In every city this is one of the grandest.
The main reason it is still in existence is its secondary function as a toll bridge over the valley.
When we arrived in Nîmes we visited the Tourist Office (of course) and got the promotional material. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a distance from Nîmes. There is a bus and lots of neat tours when you get there but if we went that day that is all we would be able to do. As it was already late morning, we decided to do everything else and leave the Pont Du Gard for another day.
With 23 days in our second house sitting stint you would think this wasn’t going to be a problem. However, we hadn’t bargained on them shutting down the tours for about a week; the week we had available to go back to Nîmes. They put on a light show extravaganza which is (of course) at night and we didn’t want to have to return to Montpellier late in the day. The only day we could have gone was the day the second house sitters showed up and we had to be there to show them the ropes.
Luckily, Montpellier has its own
A statue of a bullfighter
Bullfighting is still a popular event in the arena. Apparently, no bulls are killed in the fights.
aqueduct right in town. The setting isn’t as spectacular as the Pont Du Gard and there aren’t tours but at least we can say we have seen an aqueduct up close. Time to pack up
It was hard for us to believe that our two months in France w almost up. We had three more nights in Lyon where we started our trip back in April, so I guess this is ToBeContinued.
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