Read more about the article Avignon and Orange – France
Avignon - France

Avignon and Orange – France

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The City of Popes and the world’s largest Gothic building

A very unexpected and not even planned return to the city of Nimes this year however with a different purpose: visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed city of Avignon, and same listed nearby smaller city of Orange with one of the best preserved Roman theatres anywhere across the former ancient empire. So yes, overall, this trip was booked less than 2 weeks before coming on what would have been a weekend without any trip. To anyone reading this article as a standalone without checking my travel pattern, then it will sound normal; to those who follow me then they know I cannot stay a weekend without travelling abroad unless there is absolutely no option.

Flying to Nimes during low season is great in both air fare costs and hotel stay. Gladly from London it is very easy to find great flight deals even though the times are not the most optimal for this route, giving us just little over 24 hours, basically the entire Saturday from the very early morning until the return flight Sunday by noon. Still having been to Nimes just 4 months ago, there was no other plan to visit anything else than nearby Avignon, my main aim for this quick trip which was for a while now behind my ear in the bucket list of desired places to travel to. With Orange, I am still unsure if I will be able to manage it in the same day. I leave it for now in here whether if I make it or if not, because it is something anyone can easily plan and visit in tandem. One to another is just 30 kilometres, and both cities are small enough to manage, bearing in mind Orange’s highlight is pretty much its ancient Roman theatre. If you come to see pictures from Orange later on below in the next sections then it’s good luck to myself! I managed it.

So let’s concentrate in Avignon. “The City of Popes”. Why is such a nickname you might ask? Well during the 14th century this was the only city in history where the Papacy was switched from Rome to Avignon, where 7 successive Popes resided with control until 1791, when at the turn of the French Revolution it become part of France. Nevertheless, its heritage can today be seen and admire immaculately preserved all over the city including its ramparts; one of the very few cities to retain these in France without turning them down at the expansion and modernisation in the successive centuries. But among the structures, one immediately comes as the highlight number one and major draw for tourist to this city: the Palace of the Popes, the largest Gothic building in the world, pretty much unaltered since its construction bearing its interiors and furniture lost through the centuries.


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Read more about the article Arles – France
Arles - France

Arles – France

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Colonia Iulia Paterna Arelatensium Sextanorum

Continuing right after visiting Nimes and at only 30 kilometres south, we could not let then chance go away without including the beautiful and historic World Heritage City of Arles. Smaller than Nimes, yet packed with further Roman remains, Romanesque architecture masterpieces and elegant architecture. It is the smaller sister version of Nimes that can and should be easily included in your route as a tandem tour. Both cities are small enough to be combined together on a same day and both compliment each other, furthermore you do not even need to have your own transport as a rental car to move in between them because there are frequent buses and trains taking barely 30 minutes.

It’s incredible to see this small region of France containing some of the largest, finest and best preserved Roman buildings across the former Roman Empire, all of which listed by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. And it’s not just about both Nimes and Arles, but also the nearby aqueduct and Pont du Gard, and the awe-impressive immaculate and complete theatre and the Triumphal Arch of the city of Orange. On this last case, Orange, due to our overall limited time and different plans for the following day going to Montpellier, we could not reach. We will keep it in mind and also include when doing another trip back to this region visiting the UNESCO city of Avignon among others.

Arles is a truly charming city along the Rhone River near its discharge basin on the Mediterranean. The entire west and south are already touching the edges of the natural park, and we are glad after this trip to have made it here. Small, and so easy to visit and enjoy through, and such a great weather we had, it’s impossible to say any not positive comment. (more…)

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Read more about the article Nimes – France
Nimes - France

Nimes – France

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The French Rome

It was the year 2011 when I first came to this city on my high school trip to France and Italy, and never returned. A very long time pending for a proper return to this beautiful city. Furthermore on this occasion visiting way much more than what our teachers and tour guide showed us, pretty much just the Arena and the Maison Carree and the walk in between. As of this occasion, I’ve planned a wider tour to include some of the most fascinating Roman remains not only in France but across the former Roman Empire with the Pont du Gard and the amphitheatre and theatre of Arles, among others scattered through both cities of Nimes and Arles, all of which listed by the UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

A weekend in the city is a great decision when coming to overall timing, but only when including the Pont du Gard and the smaller city of Arles, both very near, otherwise both days for just the city and you will be overestimating. In the other hand, it comes us, who generally push it to the limits. We planned to do in one day what would normally be a program for an entire weekend, and spent the following day in the city of Montpellier. And why is that you might ask? Simple, we grabbed some bargain flights when having our inbound to Nimes and the outbound from Montpellier airport, then why not to take the chance and visit both now that we could?. After all, it worked really well as you can see in the following guides for Arles and Montpellier, with enough time to enjoy every sight.

When visiting the city, apart form its rich Roman history and remains, there is way much more to see than that. A very traditional French city, with beautiful boulevards and elegant Mediterranean style architecture everywhere. While the historic town core is small, entirely surrounded by tree-lines boulevards along what once were the city’s walls; outside this perimeter, in the newer 19th/20th centuries extensions especially west and south you will find some of the grandest residencies and mansions in the whole of Nimes.

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