Nimes - Day 21July 20, 2017 in France ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C
Today was free of tour activities and so we were free to spend the day wandering around Nimes mostly visiting the Roman historical sites, namely the Arena, the Maison Carrie, and the Tour Magne.
The Arena is the best preserved Roman amphitheatre in the world. It was built to seat over 10,000 spectators to gladiatorial contests. In addition to being open for visits, it is used for concerts and special events, and controversially for bullfights.
The Maison Carre is a former Roman temple that has been preserved throughout the ages. Inside a short film is run every half hour dramatising the birth of Nimes as the Roman town of Nemausus.
The Tour Magne is a remnant of the old Roman fortified wall that surrounded Nemausus, and today offers panoramic views of the city. It was the highest of the 80 towers that were part of the wall, which was built in 16AD and was 7km long.
Walking around Nimes we saw a full sized bronze crocodile in an exotic fountain in the Place du Marche. We learnt that the crocodile and the palm tree are the symbols of Nimes, deriving from early bronze coins minted by the Romans from 28-27 BC onwards, showing a crocodile (symbol of Egypt) chained to a palm tree (Roman symbol of victory) in celebration of the role of its contingent in the Roman army which defeated Anthony at the battle of Actium in Egypt in 31 BC.Read more