Birthplace of Denim

For our last day in Provence, we took the train from Avignon to Nimes.  Nimes is the small French town you’ve never heard of, but now have…  In Roman times, Nimes was the premier retirement community (a modern day Boca Raton?) for Roman officers who successfully conquered Egypt (the city symbol of a crocodile chained to a palm tree is intended to represent this history).  In the 1800′s Levi Strauss popularized a new fabric in America known as denim, which is shortened from “de Nimes” or from Nimes.  Today, Nimes is a clean, bright and thriving city that is short on tourists and big on things to see.

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We took the train from Avignon and were greeted by an amazing view when walking out of the Gare de Nimes train station – An impressive promenade leading to a beautiful central fountain.
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Looking just left of the fountain,you can’t help but see the arena.  Measuring 425 feet in diameter and 65 feet high, it was constructed to hold 24,000 Romans.  The arena is considered the best-preserved arena from the Roman world.  Long gone are the days of gladiator fights; however the arena is still used today for bullfighting and concerts.
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The Maison Carree (temple) rivals Rome’s Pantheon.
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The Castellum marks the end of a 30 mile long aqueduct.  Notice the different holes used to distribute water and the different depths assigning watering priority.
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It was this Castellum that originally sourced the many, many fountains in Nimes.
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The Jardin de la Fontaine was first constructed to power mills and provide water for the textile industry.  Later it was turned into France’s first grand public gardens (some 50 years after construction of Versailles).
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Today the park is used for sunbathing, strolling, soccer and boule.  Boule is played by young and old, and is a blend of horse shoes and marbles.
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 The Temple of Diana was eventually determined to not be a temple, but the name was kept anyway.  This structure is believed to be a Roman library with amazing stonework.
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Our departure from Nimes was unexpectedly quick.  We failed to check the return train schedule when we arrived in Nimes.  So, we were surprised to find the last train leaving around 7pm.  Thankfully, we made it to the Train on time, and grabbed dinner back in Avignon.

3 Responses to “Birthplace of Denim”

  1. Joyce says:

    Wow you guys are covering a lot of territory… what a wonderful trip… didn’t realize you would be gone this long… such a great experience!!

  2. Carolyn matos says:

    Hello.
    Congrats on your european trip with ur baby boy.i am planning a european trip w my husband and baby sometime in october. Alexandria will then b 9 months old. I was wondering how the excursionsor tours were handlednwith ur son. I,m going to guess they are usually scheduled from lets say 1 to 5 with a tour guide and a small group of people. How did it go with feeding and changing the baby ? Did the tour guide stop everything for the chNing and feedin? Or did you have a private tour guide? I,ve been to itLy with my husband nd it was hussle and bustle. A lot of traffic, cnt i,agine how it,s done with a baby, i,m scared to try it. Especially at the vatican. Any other suggesstions will be grealy appreciated. Thanks.

    • Angela says:

      Carolyn,
      Don’t be scared! A trip with your daughter will be amazing and is totally doable. If you haven’t already, check out my post reflecting on lessons learned from the trip, at http://www.lifewithzachary.com/2013/05/05/mom-travel-reflections

      Regarding your questions, we didn’t use any tour guides. We found we needed complete flexibility and also wanted a relaxed itinerary. We generally left our vacation apartment around noon or 1, strolled around, took breaks at bottle/feeding times, and returned after dinner. Don’t over plan what you will do each day, focus on being there vs doing things, and plan in advance where you will be around feeding times so you can stop as needed (cafes, pubs, hotel lobbies, park benches), then baby will be happy and so will you!

      It is also worth noting that when Alexandria is 9 months old, she will be easier to take care of than she is now at 3-4 months … she will have longer stretches between feedings, wont need changing as often, will be trying out solids, will nap less and sleep overnight longer, etc. – so, what feels daunting and scary now wont as you get closer to October.

      Rest assured that you are doing the right thing – you are planning and researching now and will be ready for your trip. Good luck, thanks for visiting, and let us know if we can answer other questions!

      Angela

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