Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Camargue, the beach and the bridge

Rolling once more, but with a more balanced mix of chilling and tourism I hope! First stop in France is Canet en Roussilon. The campsite is scarily close to a cross between Butlins and a 1960's holiday camp......I keep waiting for the loudspeaker to hail "hi-de-hi, campers!"

Although it's beach country the weather was awful, so I spent most of the evening curled up around my Kindle with a nice cup of coffee. 

The next day was trundling around the Camargue, visiting Bezier, a celtic-gallic village and a castle who's name escapes me. Blissful to be a tourist in 'cool' weather at a paltry 27 degrees!I even got to see some of the famous Camargue white horses, but couldnt swing the camera into action in time.
Overnighted at Nimes - a pleasant municipal campsite - then headed into the centre of Nimes to see the roman remains. Nîmes became a Roman colony sometime before 28 BC, as witnessed by the earliest coins, which bear the abbreviation NEM. COL, "Colony of Nemausus". Some years later a sanctuary and other constructions connected with the fountain were raised on the site. Nîmes was already under Roman influence, though it was Augustus who made the city the capital of Narbonne province, and gave it all its glory.The Amphitheatre is gorgeous and the surrounding area will be pleasant to amble around when they have stopped digging up all the local roads. 

From Nimes central out to the Pont Du Gard - a roman aquaduct. Here I came across some of the best view nobbling I have ever seen......there isn't one single point where you can see the aquaduct without having paid their exorbitant entry fee. At nearly 20€ just to park the 'van, and that's before I paid entrance fees, I decided to give that particular wonder a miss this time around. Instead here's a picture of a slightly more modern set of bridge remains, just down stream at the modern village of Pont Du Gard.

I'd decided to spend a few days chilling near Cannes, so it was onwards towards Avignon - City of Popes - after a nice tasty fresh french baguette and about-to-escape-and-rule-the-world french cheeses.  Ramparts, built by the popes in the 14th century, still encircled Avignon and they are one of the finest examples of medieval fortification in existence. The walls of great strength are surmounted by machicolated sattlements, flanked at intervals by thirty-nine massive towers and pierced by several gateways, three of which date from the fourteenth century. The walls were restored under the direction of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc - yes, our old friend who did so much of the restoration of Carcassonne - busy man! 
The bridge made famous by the song - Sur le pont d'Avignon - is less impressive but nonetheless a pleasant ramble. I just couldnt do Avignon enough justice in half a day, it's definitely going on to my list of places to go back to. 

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