We go far away to discover places, monuments or various sites while our country is full of treasures. Today, we have chosen to refer to the rich heritage of Ancient Rome in the South of France . You will discover places that you will want to visit in a motorhome, in a gîte or while staying at a hotel. It doesn't matter, in any case, you will have in front of you incredible historical buildings often dating back two thousand years .
Today we will not talk about all the heritage buildings of this museum city, but simply about the riches built by the Romans during Antiquity . First go to the Tour Magne which is a monument dominating the gardens of the Fountain above Mont Cavalier . This tower was built under the Emperor Augustus at the end of the 3rd century BC. It is built of dry stone on an octagonal basement. You will be able to see the remains of a last arch leading to the walkway of the time.
Don't miss the Maison Carrée which was first a Roman temple in the first century AD. This temple, which has become a consular house and a church, is today in remarkable condition and houses the museum of ancient arts.
The Arenas of Nîmes are the flagship of the city. They consist of an amphitheatre dating from the end of the 1st century AD. They were built at the time to entertain the population of Nemausus. They were then used as a fortified village during the Middle Ages until the 19th century to be used as an arena in 1863. This work is in remarkable condition. It is known to be the best preserved in the world . Its corridors and bleachers are still in place. On the facades, you can see fighting gladiators carved in stone, the Roman wolf of Romulus and Remus or even busts of bulls on several arches of the amphitheater. Today, the arenas of Nîmes host many shows such as ferias, bullfights or even music concerts where many artists come. Once you have admired these remarkable works, set off for Uzès and Remoulins to visit the marvel of the time that is the Pont du Gard.
Many of you know the Pont Du Gard , if only by name or photo. On the other hand, few know that it is a Roman aqueduct built in the first century of our era to carry water from the city of Uzès to that of Nîmes . It obviously functioned for five to six centuries before serving as a road bridge in the Middle Ages. From the 16th century, it was restored in its entirety. Currently, the Pont du Gard is the highest aqueduct in the world built by the ancient Romans . What you can observe with the naked eye is a visible part of the aqueduct from the Fontaine d'Eure in Uzès to Nîmes and measuring 52 km long . It took more than 1,000 workers working for five years to complete this work. This bridge is composed of the lower floor with 6 arches with a length of 142.35 m and a height of 21.87 m. It is surmounted by the middle floor composed of 11 arches 242.55 m long and 19.50 m high and the upper floor of 35 arches with a total length of 275 m for a height of 7.40 m. Mr. This last floor has lost a dozen arches and its initial length was 360 m. On the surface of the bridge there are a large number of engravings left by the various builders. You will see that this bridge is also entirely built without mortar . The stones were held together by oak tenons. Only the upper part has mortar-related parts. The limestone composing the stones comes from a quarry located 700 m from the place on the banks of the Gardon. At the very top of this building, traces of "red bowl were found. which was concrete slathered in red paint where we find ferric oxide . This whitewash was where the water passed and ensured a sealing system . You can leave your vehicle in one of the many car parks provided for this purpose and reach the structure via the GR6 and GR63 hiking trails. Arriving at its foot, you will be amazed by this remarkable structure. After visiting this marvel of Ancient technology, head to the city of Orange.
Orange is in the Vaucluse. This beautiful city is nicknamed the "City of Princes ". Although this city is very interesting to know for its many monuments, we will just focus on its Roman remains.
There is still the Roman rampart of Orange which is an old city wall. You can still see the Ancient Arch of Orange dating from the 1st century AD completely restored at the beginning of the 19th century. It has three bays whose stone blocks are dry-fitted and held together by iron and lead parts. On the small arches we can see decorations representing helmets, shields and spears . On the larger ones, you can see ship prows, oars, oars or even tridents . The frieze depicts Gauls and Romans fighting . On the upper part there is also a equestrian group .
This monument is magnificent, but the centerpiece of the city not to be missed remains the Théâtre antique d’Orange . It was built in the 1st century BC under Emperor Augustus . This theater is one of the best preserved on the planet. It has a front wall, a cavea that can accommodate 9,000 spectators as well as a stage and a stage wall . In the stage wall, you can see a 3.5m statue in height certainly representing the Emperor Augustus. The stage is 61m long for a depth of 9 m . The cavea is divided into three areas of 34 tiers . The spectators occupied the bleachers according to their social rank. Today, many shows and concerts take place in this mythical theater, because it benefits from exceptional acoustics . Johnny Hallyday even sang there without a microphone. Now head towards Vaison-la-Romaine.
A short distance from Orange, you arrive at Vaison-la-Romaine . This city is rich in Roman remains . Take a look at the single arch bridge spanning the Ouvèze . With more than two hundred centuries, it has come down to us while having experienced many floods that have almost devastated it on many occasions. Vaison-la-Romaine is also known for its Roman city incredible and only partially discovered at present. However, you will be able to see:
The two most remarkable buildings are the Roman theater and the thermal baths . The theater was built in the 1st century under Emperor Claudius. It could accommodate up to 3,850 people seated on 32 bleachers and 1,300 people on the orchestra remaining standing. The acoustics are exceptional thanks to the multiple niches built to absorb echoes.
The thermal baths were the city's public baths . The floor was covered with mosaic of which there are still beautiful remains. It was heated by a system of tanks passing through the ground called the Hypocaust . The Romans thus went to relax in the thermal baths after working in the morning. They followed a route where the water gradually warmed up and then cooled down.
These few pieces of information are reported to you to better understand the constructions and various buildings that you are going to visit, but there are very complete explanations on site, and even guides who can explain this exceptional ancient history to you and ahead of its time.