As we got to the outer areas of Montpellier we decided we would rathe spend more time in Nimes and the Roman amphitheatre to give us more time.
We usually avoid the tollways whenever possible however we made an exception today and took the tollway to give us more time in Nimes.
Besides an intact Roman 22000 seat Amphitheatre, one of the best preserved pieces of Roman architecture in the world. Nimes is also famous for something else we are all familiar with. An American discovered the material serge de Nimes and took a sample back to the USA. What we now know as denim.
We we caught a glimpse of the amphitheatre as we drove around the crowded narrow streets to the parking areas that were all full of cars along with any other square inch of vacant space.Simply impossible to park a car let alone a motorhome! So we reluctantly headed out of town and will consider catching a train back if the opportunity presents itself. Besides we have seen the coliseum but we have never seen a huge 3 tiered Roman aqueduct so on to Vers-Pont-du-Gard!
Vers-Pont-du-Gard aqueduct area was a complete contrast, open spaces, huge carpark and well organised. The Aqueduct area is EUR 15 for admission for 1 or as many as you can fit in the vehicle, free after 7pm to 1am.
We were pleased that circumstances saw us here by 3:30pm.
This is a 3 tired section of the Uzes to Nimes aqueduct, spanning the river Gardon, it is made of massive stones without mortar, still standing after 2000 years. We explored the aqueduct and also walked through the (150m) tunnel through solid rock Romans put the aqueduct through as it came off the bridge.
The information centre and museum are well laid out and the museum is fascinating with explanations of the whole 50k length of the aqueduct, life size replicas of construction equipment and explanations on how you design and build such structures with wood, rope, pick axe and chisels. It was 7pm and museum staff had to shoo us out to close up!
We had hope to be able to stay the night but unfortunately the car park had to be empty by 1am. It would have been nice to see the aqueduct lit up at night under the full moon but we really had to find somewhere to sleep for the night before it got to late. The Aires in nearby Remoulins was closed off. So out with the ‘All the Aires of France’ book and we located a small Aires at Vignerons de Laudun (a winery) about 20k north, next to the small town of Laudun L’Ardoise.
We arrived at last light to a small grassy airs with services and level spot just right for us.
Will have to check out the winery in the morning.