Pont du Gard……This UNESCO World Heritage Site near Nîmes in southern France is gargantuan….. thirty-five arches straddle the Roman aqueduct’s two hundred and seventy-five metres-long upper tier, containing a watercourse that was designed to carry twenty- thousand cubic metres of water per day. View it from aﬂoat a canoe on the River Gard or pay extra to jig across its top tier……. Oh, and don’t forget your swimming gear for a spot of post-Pont, daredevil dives and high jumps from the rocks nearby ……. a plunge that will entice the most reluctant of young historians and enthusiasts!!!!!
Nîmes is a busy commercial city these days, but two millennia ago it was one of the most important cities of Roman Gaul….. a fact that’s made clear by the city’s collection of Roman buildings, including a magnificent amphitheatre and a two thousand year-old temple…..and it is nonetheless an attractive city, with plenty of museums and markets to explore, as well as a host of high-profile festivals throughout the year. It’s also famous for its contribution to global couture, namely the hard-wearing twill fabric known as serge de Nîmes, traditionally worn by agricultural labourers, and nowadays known to all as denim. ……Tree-shaded boulevards trace the foundations of its former city walls.
Several famous monuments are in Nîmes, such as the Nîmes Arena and the Maison Carrée and because of this, Nîmes is often referred to as the French Rome……The Les Arènes is Nîmes’ twin-tiered amphitheatre, the best preserved in France…..the elegant Jardins de la Fontaine conceal several Roman remains, most notably the thirty metre-high Tour Magne , raised around 15 B.C…… these eighteenth-century Jardins de la Fontaine or Gardens of the Fountain are built around the Roman thermae ruins…….Maison Carrée…..Constructed in gleaming limestone around AD 5, this temple was built to honour Emperor Augustus’ two adopted sons, and is one of the best preserved temples to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire. It later inspired the design of the Virginia State Capitol at Richmond. Nothing remains of certain monuments, the existence of which is known from inscriptions or architectural fragments found in the course of excavations. It is known that the town had a civil basilica, a curia, a gymnasium and perhaps a circus…… The elliptical Roman amphitheatre, of the first or second century A.D., is the best-preserved Roman arena in France…… It was filled with medieval housing, when its walls served as ramparts, but they were cleared under Napoleon……. It is still used today as a bull fighting and concert arena…….Carré d’Art is a striking glass-and-steel building facing the Maison Carrée and was designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster……besides all these landmarks there is a museum of modern art and mediatheque….. Jean Nouvel the Nemausus, a post-modern residential ensemble, and Kisho Kurokawa… a building in the form of a hemicycle to reflect the Amphitheatre.
Several reputed fashion designers have their salons in Place de la Concorde, which is also famous for jewellery shops…… Champs-Elysees is one of the city’s busiest shopping areas, while Les Halles has a big shopping centre……. Avenue de l’Opera, near Opera Garnier, has numerous department stores…….. Channel, Dior, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton are based in Avenue Montaigne adjoining the Champs-Elysees…… Christian Lacroix and Hermes are in the city’s high fashion district of Fauborg Saint-Honore….. while Avenue Montaigne is an upscale place to shop.
There are plenty of markets, streets and arcades in Lyon, Metz and Nimes selling art objects, paintings, noveau deco, haute couture by famed designers, jewellery, trinkets, perfumes, bags and souvenirs
There is no dearth of good food or dining places in Paris. One of the most popular cafes is in Saint-Germain-des-Pres….. Café les deux Magots…….. The lively Quartier Latin, near the Sorbonne campus, has many bars. Galeries Lafayette has formal dining in a supermarket……chocolate and pastry in delicious French flavours with a Japanese touch….. chocolates of Jean Paul Hevin….. and, sumptuous truffles at La Maison de Truffe…….. Nearby are several restaurants including Bar Rouge, and Lafayette Organic serving health food. For elegant dining, there’s Le Maurice in the heart of the city….. haute cuisine at L’Astrance…… lunch and dinner at the swanky Les Tablettes; and dinner only at Thoumieux……. Huitrerie Regis in Saint Germain des Pres is another popular restaurant….. Maceo, in the heart of the city, overlooking the Palais Royal has only vegetarian dishes….. Le Stella serves classic French dishes…… Ze Kitchen Galerie has Thai food….. and Yam’Tcha serves Asian food and a different tea with every course……. There are many Indian restaurants serving different varieties of Indian specialities, including North Indian, Punjabi and South Indian food……. There are several cafes and bars in Paris, as well as take-away and fast food joints…….. One of the best bakeries in Paris is that of Maison Kayser……. The famous French wine of Bordeaux has a wine shop, Bordeauxtheque, dedicated to it.