Wednesday, October 26, 2016

France&Fez Day 7, Nimes and Pont du Gard

Our seventh day in France was a rainy and gloomy Sunday.  We headed towards the ancient city of Nimes in the rain, and were grateful for a break in the moisture as we found our way to parking amid much construction and traffic rerouting in that beautiful city.

Nimes is, indeed, an ancient city.  It boasts an amazing Roman Colloseum (still in use for bull fights and concerts, and lived in throughout the middle ages as attested to by graffiti and conversion of some quarters into chapels, etc.), a temple commissioned by Caesar Augustus, and the remains of a forum.  So many beautiful old stones!

And the rest of the town is charming, too, with its stone streets and squares, cafes and greenery.

The rain began again as we got in the car and headed with our picnic to Pont du Gard.  By God's grace, it stopped again when we did, and we found a covered spot for our traditional French picnic fare: a baguette, with butter and prosciutto, and with a variety of fromage (cheese), but never together; fresh fruits and veggies, and a little chocolat.  Then on to an amazing ancient site: the Roman aqueduct over the Gardon river.

This 50m high section of the aqueduct was built in the first century AD, and originally stretched its three tiers over 50 km from its source in the hills to Nimes.  A wonder of Roman engineering, the aqueduct maintained a steady 3% downhill grade over that whole distance.  It has graffiti on it from Roman times, medieval days, and through to the more recent building of the car bridge (now a walking bridge).  There is an interesting museum there as well, but the aqueduct, the river, and the countryside are the real beauty of the place.  Another wonderful day in Provence!

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