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Nimes - A great base for exploring the surrounding area

We decided this would be a great place to stay while we explored Provence.

In it's self, Nimes has a fascinating history, once being an important Roman outpost. Tangible signs of this within the city are the Arena of Nimes (1st century AD), one of the largest remaining Roman amphitheaters and the Maison Carre (constructed between 12BC and 20BC), the only intact Roman temple in the world.

The Pont du Gard is only around 20kms north of Nimes and this Roman aqueduct, constructed around the same time as the Maison Carre, is a must see. The fact it is still standing after 2000 years is a testament to it's design and build quality. It is a thing of beauty but its practical purpose as an effective water transportation system to the city of Nimes shouldn't be overlooked.

We visited the beautiful town of Saint-Remy-de-Provence east of Nimes. A beautiful place to explore for a couple of hours and maybe enjoy a slow lunch. The town has a rich history, again going back to Roman times, and was home to Vincent van Gogh in one of his more productive periods.

In the afternoon we travelled north to Avignon and it's fair to say this stunning, walled city knocked us over. We started at the Pont d' Avignon, an ancient bridge which juts out about half way across the Rhone River, and then headed through the city wall and up into the Jardin des Doms, a peaceful place to catch great views over the river and the surrounding countryside. There's a nice cafe in the gardens to add to the enjoyment.

From there we headed down into the city, walking the narrow streets, before we literally came around a corner and laid eyes upon the Pope's Palace, the scale and grandness of which has to be seen to be believed. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and really is impressive. Avignon was home to the Catholic popes during the 14th century, a turbulent time in the churches history. It remained under papal rule until the late 18th century.

You could spend a day or two in Avignon or even use it as a base for exploring Provence as it is in a very central position.

On the way out of Provence we called in at the picturesque seaside town of Cassis to take in the pretty town, harbour and spectacular coastline. We also got a glimpse of how the other half live in this part of the world.


Pont du Gard



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