Revisiting Avignon

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Europe » France
October 1st 2008
Published: June 26th 2017
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Today was my Classics day!!
We left Carcassone this morning having looked around the new town a little more. Drove out on another glorious sunny morning towards Nimes. This promised a Roman Arena and other remnants of the Roman occupation, 2000 years ago. After travelling around Narbonne and Montpelier (more names for exploding cows fans) we arived in Nimes at lunch time. Parked and had some lunch in the centre square overlooking a beautiful fountain next to the Palais de Justice.
Having dined well we walked to the Arena. This is one of only four which is still pretty well preserved albeit from being a Bullfighting ring. It is only about half the size of the Colisseum in Rome but it is still impressive. We had an audio guided tour through the main areas including the gladiators' rooms and the various levels. It was excellent.
From there we walked to another Roman marvel, an almost intact Roman Temple built for the Emperor cult in the reign of Augustus. This has Corinthian columns all around and very steep steps. It is perched high above what was the Forum of the Roman city.
In the distance we could also see a tower from Roman times but time was getting on. We drove towards Avignon but were able to stop at the Pont de Gard. Fletcher was particularly interested in this. This is the remains of the Roman Aqueduct which brought water to the city of Nimes. It is huge. It is set in a lovely park area and of course there was a fee, for parking, not entry. We walked to the base and across the lower section to the other side of the river Gardon. It is wonderful that this small section has been preserved.
So after a "trip" back to Roman times we drove on to Avignon which we had visited in 1980. Found an inexpensive hotel quickly near one of the gates into the old city. Avignon is a walled city and has many fabulous old buildings. The highlight is, of course, Le Palais de Papes where the popes lived in the 14th century. We had a drink, sitting in the square watching the fading rays of the sun giving a rosy hue to the front of this elegant structure. We then walked down to find the famous Pont de Avignon. I remember very clearly standing with my three children on this bridge singing, "Sur la pont, D'Avignon". Alas we could not repeat the feat as now it is closely guarded by an entrance door, ticket box and gift shop!! It was closed for the evening. We returned to the main square for a very nice dinner and a quiet stroll back to our hotel. Another great day in France

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