Southern sunshine ?
Sim and I headed down south for the weekend, a weekend away that was a Christmas present from my parents.
We left mid-afternoon and jumped on the autoroute just out of Lyon – along with all the northeners heading south for their holidays ! 100km and two hours later, things sped up a bit, and we reached out first destination, the Pont du Gard at around 7 pm. The Pont du Gard, a three-level bridge crossing the Gardon river valley, was built by the Romans in the first century AD, and is today UNESCO World Heritage listed. It’s amazing, and at 48 metres, is apparently the highest bridge in the Roman world.
We took the backroads to Nîmes, found and checked in to our hotel and headed out for a bite to eat. It was cool, and it had been wet, but we mananged to avoid any more showers in a cosy booth in a Café Leffe. Two meaty meals and buckets of beer later, we left to wander Nîmes at nighttime. The rain held off, and we visited the arena, the new Esplanade Charles De Gaulle and the Irish pub.
The next day dawned
bright and sunny grey and drizzly, and after free coffees and general chit-chat at the hotel, we ventured out with our umbrella. First stop was Sim’s old apartment, from his student days in Nîmes. Next, the Jardins de la Fontaine. The gardens were built in the 18th century, on the site of a shrine dating back to the first century. The shrine was laid out around a spring, where the first Nîmois (well, a Celtic tribe called the Volcae !) settled two and a half thousand years ago, and the gardens are planned around it. On top of the hill overlooking the gardens is a tower, the Tour Magne. We climbed the hill, climbed the tower and then rested whilst feasting our eyes on the fantastic view !
The rain just kept on coming down, so we found a brasserie, ordered some lunch and holed up for a few hours – Sim watching a soccer match, me writing post cards. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to explore more of this wide, sand-coloured southern city, with palm trees and images of crocodiles everywhere, but to me that only means one thing – we’ll just have to go back another time !