Monday, May 19, 2014

Nimes: The capital of Gaul

A major restoration of the Nimes Colosseum is currently underway.
Nimes was not in the Rough Guide to Provence & the Cote D'Azur because it is actually in Languedoc. It's a wonderful old Roman town and was once the capital of Gaul.
After a disappointing hotel in Avignon, we were delighted with the Imperator, a charming vintage hotel with the kind of elevator you only see in old movies.  We recommend it.

From the hotel we could walk to the Roman Temple which appears to be remarkably good condition and the Colosseum which we toured with audio-guides. I could have done without the detailed account of what happened to prisoners who were fed to the lions, but it was fascinating to learn about daily activities in Roman times.
Inside the temple, a very good film produced by CultureSpaces was shown which recreated life in Roman Times.
Across from the Roman Temple where the film was shown is a new Art Gallery whose design is obviously inspired, to some degree, by the Roman temple.
A beautiful canal ran by the hotel, with a fountain at the end. There were nearby parks and a sculpture court. It was all quite beautiful and felt very affluent. Our other guide book noted that the residents of Nimes do not want to depend on tourism and the result is notable.
Like most French towns, Nimes has a beautiful cathedral. We didn't enter since it was so new (compared to the others we had visited) but it made for a good photo!
In the evening, we wandered through the pedestrian zoned town centre and came across a bar where a bull-fight was on TV. When I looked more closely, I realized the entire bar was themed on bull-fighting. We would like to have stayed another night, but Chuck Brook had sent us a list of places to see before visiting Pezenas, so we set off for another walled city and the coast.

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