Saturday, March 18, 2017


Maison Carree

Nimes is a little over an hour from Aix.  We enjoy driving through the surrounding area because it is so beautiful with the distant Alpilles Mountains and the very green fields, vineyards and olive groves.  Occasionally a charming little ochre colored village will appear on a hill usually with an accompanying steeple and castle ruins.  Nimes is known today for its well preserved Roman monuments some of which are around 2,000 years old.  The Maison Carree, pictured above, is one of the best preserved Roman temples anywhere.  Disappointing to us was that the interior is now a movie theater.  The temple sits alone and high in a square surrounded by restaurants.  Quite a spectacular way to have lunch.

Wayne at the Nimes' Roman Amphitheater 

A short walk from the Temple is the elliptical Roman Amphitheater built in the 1st or 2nd century AD.  It is the best preserved Roman arena in France.  At one point it was filled with medieval housing when the natives were sheltering behind the walls from Visigoths.  Napoleon gentrified the arena and it is still used today as a bull fighting ring and concert area.  We climbed to the top of the stands in a wind so fierce I though we would be blown off.  I kept thinking of how poor Van Gogh mythically went crazy from the winds of south France.  

Wayne at the Jardins de la Fontaine

As we walked to the final visit point, we noticed that the trees were getting green.  Spring has sprung here.  The Jardins de la Fontaine are built around the Roman thermal ruins.  The park features the ruins of a temple to Diana, an assortment of canals, bridges and statues, an ancient Roman tower and some really cool koi.  Pictures at flickr.