We only stayed three nights in Nimes, or more correctly, about 15 minutes out of Nimes, in a small village called Boissières. At first I thought I must have had the wrong directions as we wound our way through the narrow streets of the village then out on a country road again then all of a sudden we found our turn and we were in the middle of a small group of roads that made up a quaint little community. The entrance to our house was via a small door in the large green barn-yard-like door.
When you went through the barn-yard-like door you arrived at a gravel drive to a large backyard tastefully landscaped with several outdoor table areas you could lazy around in the sun at. Our apartment entrance was to the side of the gravel drive from which you climbed up a rather worn and steep flight of stairs. Take a look at the photo. The stone staircase must have been some 100 years old and the lower stairs were rather worn so you had to take care not to tumble over when carrying large packs.
Although the apartment was small, only 75m2 and one bedroom, it was delightful, equipped with WiFi (what more could you ask for) and we could even use the outdoor swimming pool. The kids did – once – it was less than 12 ‘C so it was a quick swim!
Arriving on the Saturday late afternoon all we had time to do that day was find a supermarket at larger village about 10 minutes away. The next day we set off to a city about an hour from Nimes named Orange to take a look at Roman Theatre. Evidently not great in size but it could still seat 9000 spectators (in Nimes there was a Roman arena, which we didn’t visit, that could seat up to 23,000 people).
The audio-guide tour was excellent and very informative and helped you imagine a full Roman Amphitheater. Two tidbits of information I found interesting: 1. in reference to the 12-foot statue of Ceasar Augustus, which is one of the tallest Roman statues in existence today, each time there was a new emperor they use to make the bust part of the figure in bulk, perhaps 12,000 at a time and then ship them out through the empire to replace the bust of the predecessors statute! Good recycling principles in practice; and 2., the entire city use to attend the theatres with nobility upper classes sitting directly next to the stage working through the classes up and away from the stage until the slaves and servants and less desirables would sit or stand at the very top.
There was a pretty cold wind that day so we were pleased to be back in the car driving to our next destination, Pont du Gard, about midway toward home. Pont du Gard is a long section of an incredible three-tiered Roman aqueduct which was built around 50 AD to carry water from the spring, the Sourec d’Eure in Uzes to the city of Nimes. This aqueduct was in use up until the 6th century. Amazingly the aqueduct (and also Orange’s amphitheatre) was constructed without using any mortar!
We almost didn’t stop to see Pont du Gard as it was very expensive to park for the visit however it turned out to be a fantastic stop as there were two museums; a kids interactive museum (called the Ludo), and another more catering adults which gave all the information (with models) you could want to know about building aqueducts. Daniel and Amy loved the museum and even after spending several hours looking, playing and learning they did not want to leave! The photo below shows the pottery that Daniel assembled from pieces as part of the displays on archaeology.
The next day was another early start as we had an extremely full day of traveling to cover. First we drove about 2 hours to a small town perched around a hill top called Gordes.
There are so many photos to show you but I will try to pick just a few:
After Gordes we drove a short while to colourful town of Roisseau. Wandering around the streets in Roisseau you are greeted with houses and buildings made from the local bright yellow, red, pink and brown clays. The ochre extracted from the clays is used to create a range of colourful paints. We also walked through the national park to see the source of the colourful clays.
We drove home a different way to how we came so we could visit Les Baux (???) a medieval village perched on the top of another cliff. It was so windy that Karen and Amy decided to stay in the car while Daniel and I scouted out the situation to access if it was worth them getting out of the car. Actually they didn’t intend to leave the car as the wind was so strong we were affair it might low us off the cliff. Daniel and I pulled ourselves along clinging to whatever we could grab hold of and linking our arms as tightly as we could. It felt like a crazy thing to do but we had driven so far to see this place.
We were surprised to find a real medieval village and in the end decide Karen and Amy shouldn’t miss it. The good side of the gale force winds is that they had scared most of the tourist away (or perhaps blown them away) so there were no queues or crowds. We fetched Karen and Amy and together made our way to the city. After getting through an area that felt like we were in a wind tunnel we really just had to make it further up the street past a large tourist information sign that looked as if it could leave the posts that held it together at any moment. Needless to say we didn’t stay for a coffee but made a quick dash around the village before heading back to the car for shelter.
It was coooold ….
…. but worth the chilling visit ….
It was a long day and we were disappointed to have to leave the next day without having time to just relax around the house enjoying the sun, or explore the village and nearby villages or spend a few days sightseeing the many attractions in Nimes or between us and the coast and area known for its wildlife. But the next day we had a full drive to Nice and we had to get there in time to return the car by 2:30pm.
Sorry this was such a long blog!
(Saturday 14th April – Tuesday 17th April)