France Nîmes 2000.11.17 - 11.19

Augustus' Nemausensis

Founded by Augustus as the Roman Colonia Nemausensis, today Nîmes has some of the best preserved Roman public buildings dating from the 1st century A.D. A hurried sightseer can visit all in a day, but a more leisurely pace avails one to the posh shopping boulevard and sidewalk cafés.

Pont du Gard, an aqueduct built in 19 B.C., was part of a canal system to carry water from Uzès to Nîmes. Located 23km northeast of Nîmes, it's accessible by bus from Avignon, Nîmes, or Uzès. Car parking is available.
A short walking path leads to the top of Pont du Gard where the trough that once carried water is exposed. The relative enormity of Pont du Gard compared to the slender shallow waterway is surprising.
One of the best preserved Roman temples in the world is the Maison Carrée located in the center of Nîmes. It was built around 5 A.D. to honor Augustus' two nephews.
This modern day fountain, Fontaine Pradier, has nothing to do with Cæsar, but it's a picture I'm proud of.
The Arènes, a Roman amphitheater that seated 24,000 spectators, was built around 100 A.D. The complexity of the interior stairwells and corridors leads one to suspect that the Italians were better engineers 2000 years ago than they are today.

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