Mark and I headed down to Nîmes on Thursday. It is a town in the Languedoc region, known for Roman ruins, bullfighting, and its 300+ days of sunshine per year.
Look, we're in the Mediterranean!
This symbol, a crocodile chained to a palm tree, was on every manhole cover and signpost in Nîmes. Apparently the town printed (a slightly less stylized version of) it on its own coins centuries ago, so it is the symbol of the city. It is meant to represent Augustus's conquering of Egypt.
Here is the Roman ampitheater, supposedly one of the best preserved ones around.
The inside of the ampitheater, which is now used for bullfighting.
We listened to the audioguide tour, which detailed the gruesome fights between gladiators. When one surrendered, the crowd would shout 'Jugular' to indicate he should be killed. They could also be spared; if the official in charge chose to have him killed he then had to pay a large fee to the school that had trained him. Other entertainments involved wild animals eating prisoners that had been condemned to death. Fun.
Here I am on the steps of the Maison Carrée. After careful consideration, we decided to skip going inside and watching their 3-D movie about gladiators.
Here is the Temple de Diane. It is in the elegant Fountain Gardens, where we wandered around.
The sign outside the Temple.
Here is a fountain in the Fountain Gardens.
On a hilltop in the Fountain Gardens is the Tour Magne, where they used to post sentries to watch for marauding armies. We hiked up the hill and hauled ourselves up to the top of the tower, and while we didn't see any bands of Celts coming, we did have nice views of the city.