COLONIA NEMAUSUS - MAY 2005
Nimes, located in the Languedoc-Roussillon Region, was a religious Celtic centre that was once annexed to Rome. Known then as Colonia Nemausus, was home to many veterans of the Roman legions that had served Julius Caesar in his Nile campaigns. Later enriched by Emperor August, Nimes was robbed by Vandals and Visigoths on the 5th century, and later occupied by Saracens until 737. The city was afterwards ruled by the Count of Toulouse in the 10th century, then by the French King from 1229. During the religion wars Nimes rested a Protestant stronghold, but was retaken by King Louis XIII in 1629. Nîmes is also known for its pants: Denim, the blue jeans brand, derives its name from the city (Serge de Nîmes). Its stones have seen much and have much to tell...
"THE ROMAN ARENA, dating back to the end of the 1st century AD, is a perfect construction, and illustrates the degree of perfection attained by Roman engineers in designing and constructing this type of building. Oval in shape, it measures 133m long, 101m wide and 21m high. The façade consists of two levels of sixty superposed arches. At the top, a huge canvas canopy could be attached to poles, providing protection for the spectators against the sun and bad weather... It is the best preserved Roman arena in France. During the Middle Age it was filled with housing, as its walls served as ramparts, but they were cleared under Napoleon. Nowadays, the ancient arena is open for business as a bullfighting ring and a concert area!"
"THE MAISON CARRÉ (Square House), a small Roman temple dedicated to sons of Agrippa, was built circa 19 BC by Marcus Agrippa, who was also the original patron of the Pantheon in Rome. It is one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world. The temple owes its preservation to the fact that it was rededicated as a Christian church in the fourth century. It subsequently became a meeting hall, a canon's house, a stable, a storehouse, and a museum after 1823"
"PLACE DE L'HORLOGE - Clock Tower, lively cafés, and pedestrian zone"
"CATHEDRAL, partly Romanesque and partly Gothic, is dedicated to Saint Castor of Apt and occupies the site of the temple of Augustus at the present Place aux Herbes"
Tarascon is located 23 km south of Avignon and 20 km north of Arles, on the left bank of the Rhône River. A mythological monster, the Tarasque, is said to have lived there at the beginning of the 1st century. The novel Tartarin de Tarascon (1872) and its two sequels Tartarin sur les Alpes (1885) and Port-Tarascon (1890), by Alphonse Daudet, were set here.
"CASTLE - The construction of the current castle started in 1401 by Louis II of Anjou, after the previous castle was destroyed. The construction was continued by Louis III, and was completed in 1449 by René I of Naples. Thus, the castle is often referred to as Le Château du Roi René"