Arrondissement de Nîmes

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  • Day39

    Wild beach, wilder ride...

    October 6 in France

    Our first car adventure in France... to Plage Espiguette - an absolutely beautiful wild beach on the Mediterranean about 45 minutes out of town. We rented using “OUIcar” - an AirBNB type car sharing platform, so we saved a very few euros and ended up with a 20th century special - dingy and small, but we figured it would get us there and home... The day was actually amazing - with soft white sand, fun waves (I thought about Crystal Beach in Thunder Bay), excellent beach combing and sand dune climbing. It is a beach devoid of development, which means a different vibe - lots of bikes and kite-pulled dune buggies (and no constant requests for ice cream at the local beach bar). At around 18h00, we had to head home - slightly burned and very sun-tired, weighed down with shells and sand - our hair, clothes, towels, and every other place you can imagine. Sadly, our perfect day was not to be... we took a wrong turn about 10 minutes into our ride home, and that’s when the car engine started cutting out. Still 40 minutes out of town, Geoff pushed so hard on that pedal and ignition key I thought they would break, the engine finally turned as the night fell, and we finally roared in the direction of home with the big red light on the console flashing “STOP” in our faces. Malcolm offered to tell jokes to lighten the mood, but soon realized the futility of this, and contented himself with occasional body noises for a laugh. Anytime we slowed down, the engine would sputter again, and threaten to cut out -so Geoff did not slow down once for 40 minutes until forced to in a left turn lane - thankfully about 15 minutes from our house, and 5 from the drop-off for the car. Stalled on the road, now completely dark out, I called the owner. We sat amidst the honking horns (drivers not so patient having to go around). After 25 minutes, the owner arrived with his solution - he put Geoff at the wheel in neutral, and pushed the car back to his place using his own car... who needs a tow-truck in Montpellier? I walked home with the kids and we had dinner at a fashionably French hour - around 21h00. Dale sees this as a “scary” experience, Geoff sees it as a sign that our next car rental should be with an established company, I see it (now) as good practice for the many similar experiences we are bound to have in the next 9 months!Read more

  • Day49

    Better late than never to post about our trip en Provence... we started out in Nimes - a “hit” at the Arène, one of France’s oldest and best preserved Roman coliseums. Once I got over the initial resistance to the 40€+ entrance fee (yikes!), it was a very interesting site, with a great audio guide. Did you know that the killing of defenceless prisoners by wild animals or armed men were actually unpopular events - generally not attended by most of the audience? Moreover, gladiator fighting, the real reason everyone came to the coliseum, seldom resulted in the death of a gladiator since the magistrate who organized the event would have to compensate the gladiator’s school for the loss. And... the “thumbs up/ thumbs down” is also a fiction - actually, a thumb tucked into a closed fist meant “mercy”. Hollywood fails us again! Then onto another Roman legacy in the region - the Pont du Gard - an amazing bridge supporting one of the best -preserved examples of a Roman aqueduct. Aqueducts, in bringing water from high in the hills to towns and cities, allowed for the growth of an agricultural economy, but what I find more interesting is their innovative effects on governance and growth of public spaces. Cities and towns could bring people together, around fountains or baths, and had public lavatories to support this (you understand this if you have ever been to an outdoor concert without adequate port-o-potties...). And they also had to manage a shared resource - with all the physical and social challenges of fairly allocating it... clearly I remain a public service e geek at heart! For the future traveller, note that seeing the Pont du Gard off-season, in the rain, and at the end of a long day, is not ideal. It is a beautiful area that deserves sunshine and a picnic, probably bikes or kayaks. Maybe next time... :)Read more

  • Day48

    Big ol' beach. Wind a plenty.
    This morning it was an 700m walk to reach the sea, this afternoon, due to flooding, it was about 10m.
    Turns out tides aren't necessary.
    Also played some all terrain petanque on the sand dunes. Nice

  • Day15

    Pont du Gard

    October 2 in France

    Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct that carried water for over thirty miles to the Roman city located on the site of modern Nimes. A museum at this UNESCO World Heritage Site describes the unbelievable achievements of Roman slaves and engineers as they picked their way through the mountains. No one knows how many slaves were worked to death in the process of this construction. It was built over a period of about thirty years at about the time of the birth of Jesus. One fact that amazed me was that the Romans in Nimes were quite well supplied with drinking water from the Rhone River. The pressurized water carried by this aqueduct was solely for the pleasure of the Roman overlords in their fountains and baths. It is still a remarkable sight. Glenda and I were able to climb to the top of the mountain overlooking this structure to get a photograph in the afternoon sun.Read more

  • Day4

    Pont du Gard

    July 11, 2017 in France

    Really this was just meant as a family record of the holiday rather than a blog. We won't be going far. Tiger and I headed for the Pont du Gard whilst others were poolside or enjoying Uzes.

    Enjoyed the Pont du Gard. Lots of people canoeing and swimming. Read the history and took photos. Spookily we literally bumped into Ellie , Jamie and Albie at Carrefour. We're all in search of dairy free food for Albie.

    Claude has been summoned as the sink is blocked. He is keen to clear it au naturelle so is putting a mixture of bicarbonate and white vinegar in there. We communicate in my pigeon French. I say it may work : Claude says it most certainly will work. Two hours later he's back with a more aggressive solution.

    Another splendid BBQ after which Beth and I head into Uzes with Tiger.
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  • Day411

    Another day, another batch of Roman ruins! They're scattered everywhere across this part of southern France. Thankfully for us, this batch aren't actually on the World Heritage list, just on the Tentative list, so we don't need to make a video. Even though they're scheduled for approval or disapproval this year, I've made an executive decision that we won't do videos on non-approved sites.

    Nimes is about an hour south-west of Avignon, and was quite a large and important Roman settlement. It was where the Pont du Gard aqueduct eventually terminated, so its houses and streets were full of fountains, baths and pools.

    We parked up and had a wander around. First stop was a ruined tower atop a hill which although largely dating from the middle ages, was originally part of the Roman defensive wall around the city. Fantastic views from the top, that's for sure!

    After drinking in the view we descended down into the city and headed for the Maison Carree, an old Roman temple that was repurposed into a church and thus very well preserved. Super impressive on the outside, but unfortunately we couldn't go inside as it was only used for a (historic) cinema these days and the next showing was in 30 minutes!

    So we wandered the rest of the way to the Roman amphitheatre, generally considered the highlight of the town. And yep, happy to confirm that it definitely is! It's basically a smaller-scale Colosseum, but in excellent condition - probably even better condition than the Colosseum itself. Our tickets included an audioguide so we wandered around the building, slowly listening to the commentary which was quite interesting and insightful. It was certainly very impressive, and will be interesting to see whether it makes it onto the World Heritage list. The main reason it wouldn't, really, is because there's several other Roman ruins nearby already on the list, and I think they're quite sensitive these days to criticisms of Euro-centric bias.

    Kebabs for lunch (practically the national snack food of France these days), then back to the car where we drove back to Avignon and spent the rest of the evening at home.
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  • Day2

    Bump in the night

    July 9, 2017 in France

    3.50am our bedroom door opens. It's meg- did we hear the loud bang and noise downstairs? Julian had switched the light on but wanted back up before he went downstairs. We had a look around but all seemed in order- significantly we didn't try the front door.
    Next morning we had the first detail to Intermarche to pick up supplies. Double blow of poor exchange rate and dearer prices. Also the French don't do allergies- or to dairy products anyway. Bad luck Albie.
    Joe and I walked into Uzes. Beautiful place to wander around.
    Later as we all headed for the pool I went to lock the front door but there was no outer lock. Our" bump in the night " was an attempted burglary. They had removed the outer lock with a piece of kit and julian had heard them entering the house. Call to the owner in England - my French not up to having that conversation with Claude. Said Claude soon arrives and summons the gendarmerie. Maddie very excited whilst Ellie and Jamie talk with the police family. Apparently the burglars target houses with hire cars looking for money and jewellery. To quote Jamie " they have some balls to climb the wall and go for a house with 3 hire cars outside".
    Claude tells us that there's no way to fix the lock tonight so the door is wedged firmly shut with pieces of wood.
    We have a surprisingly relaxed BBQ before heading for bed.
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  • Day1

    Two days into the holiday I start the blog. Horrendous at the airport- the Ryan air experience never fails to disappoint. On a plus note Albi slept for the entire journey. The journey to the villa was longer than it should have been as they've moved the A9 since our sat nav was updated. We lost track of the Gomersons on the way and thought that they could be a while after us only to find they were waiting with Claude to greet us. Claude shook our hands and gave us the French tour- probably managed to understand around 50%! A late supper and off to bed.Read more

  • Day3

    Day 3. No footprints really

    July 10, 2017 in France

    Splendid breakfast pastries thanks to meg and Beth taking an early morning stroll into Uzes. Very small detail -Jamie and Beth- head for Lidl towards Uzes in search of baked beans to supplement Albi's diet. The rest of us are poolside. Enter Claude stage right. Not with a locksmith but with a lock exactly the same as the one before. He leaves taking the large piece of wood which had wedged the unlocked door shut. We make a call and he returns with said wood - probably pee Ed that we don't trust the lock.
    Magnificent BBQ courtesy of Jamie.
    A lazy day.
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  • Day5

    Hello Claude

    July 12, 2017 in France

    Indeed yes he's back again. The electric has now gone off. The boys are concerned about the meat mountain in the freezer. The babies are sweating. And I was going to make a nice cup of tea to calm everyone down! Emails were exchanged with owner in England and presumably relayed as our man soon appeared. Claude did have a weary way to him today- we are taking up an awful lot of his time. Anyway this time it apparently involved chopping something off the wall in the garage and replacing it with the same (very technical). It took a few hours but I wasn't around. I was on my way to one of Frances' most beautiful villages. Lusson was very beautiful but appeared uninhabited.
    Post evening meal we all walked into Uzes into the beautiful square for a drink.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Arrondissement de Nîmes, Arrondissement de Nimes

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