Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Nîmes: part I

I left the South of France on Sunday and started travelling back to Zürich. I have stopped, en route, for three days to stay with my parents who live near Lyon. On Saturday, my sister came back and we all went for a day trip to the city of Nîmes, also known as the French Roma. The "Colonia Nemausa", as it was known by the Romans, became a Roman colony under the Emperor Augustus. To this day, the arms of the city show a crocodile chained up to a palm tree, a symbol celebrating the conquest of Egypt by Augustus and its submission to the Roman rule.

I took you to Montpellier a couple of posts ago, and you may remember that I had mixed feelings about it. I absolutely loved Nîmes and would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go and visit this city. I gather that it is a rather popular tourist destination in the summer, when its population is multiplied by 10, so it may be best not to visit between June and August if you can avoid it.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Castor
Nîmes is famous for its Roman history and monuments but the city in itself is very enjoyable. The mostly pedestrian city centre is full of nice shops, little restaurants with tables outside on a square, small paved streets and architectural surprises.

Block of flats

Café in front of the tour de l'horloge

We went to Nîmes to visit the Big Three (which will be revealed in another post...ah ah this is a trick to have you all come back and visit again later this week!) but we also spent an hour or so having a stroll in the beautiful Jardins de la Fontaine, located on an ancient Roman site which was built around a spring at the bottom of Mont Cavalier.

Temple de Diane (2nd century AC)
Now, for the truly fantastic bits of Nîmes, you will have to be a bit patient and come back very soon to visit yours truly :-) À bientôt!

PS: A Posh and Beaks update! I've been told by Mr T that all the chicks have fledged. Very exciting news but I am a bit sad to have missed all their progress in the last three weeks. Apparently Beaks was doing a little dance to Posh the other evening so there may be hope for a second clutch??!!

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