Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Roman Engineers and French Flair combine to make great visit

15.06.11 Roman Engineers and French Flair combine to make great visit: 2000 year old Pont du Gard.
More photos here
Highlight today was a long awaited visit to Pont Du Gard. A brilliant site and not because of the 1st century engineering that supplied the then Roman city of Nimes with water but also because of the way the French have presented it.
Not just because of the usual car-parking facilities. There are two, one on the left bank, (800 places), one on the right (600). It doesn’t really matter which one you use as the viaduct is a short walk from either.
All the other facilities are there: shops, toilets, cafes and so on. But the really big thing here is the underground museum on the site. Here you will be amazed as you wander through the 2500 square metres “synthesing the Roman world through the history of the Nimes aqueduct around reproductions, full scale models, sound animation and multimedia kiosks”.  For my money, and it is only 15 euro per car (up to five people, tough on singles), this is the best attraction visit in France.

The aqueduct was begun around 19BC, the aim being to carry water from near Uzes the 50 kilometres to Nimes. It had its faults – there was a snag list – but yet it brought good water to Nimes for about three hundred years. Even then, for another three hundred or so, it supplied agricultural demand along its route
Most of the aqueduct is now in ruins, much of the stone used to build Catholic abbeys and so on, but the remains at Pont du Gard, then the tallest aqueduct in the Roman Empire, still make an impressive viewing.
After the three hours, mostly in the 31 degree heat, we headed for “home” and a spell in the pool. Took it easy for a while then before making a reservation for dinner at Auberge de l’Amandin.   Had a very enjoyable lunch there the other day.
Tonight’s dinner was superb. My starter: mixed salad with red prawns wrapped in kadaif (a very fine spaghetti like pastry).Very fine starter indeed. My mains was superb and so was hers. Mine was Creamy Risotto with Parmesan and Cray-fish while hers was Pan Fired Duck fillet, served with an orange caramel sauce also with vegetables. Very happy with both desserts. The excellent three course meal  at the side of their pool, cost us €23.00 while a 50cl bottle of Costières de Nimes Rosé came in at €15.00. Will have to call again!