vyrud (vyrud) wrote,

Nimes / Nemausus - more than 2000 years in history, part 1

New Year celebrations are over and let me start the first bigger report in 2012. With this report I am starting several reports series about southern French city Nimes. This city was our place to stay in September but this does not mean that we spent more time here: the desire to visit and to see as much as possible was stronger :)
Nimes (in Roman times Nemausus) is very old town with the very rich past. I am most impressed by the fact that in the first century AD Nemausus had about 50 thousands residents. (Of course this could interpreted in another way too: since modern Nimes has about 150 thousand residents it means that over 2000 years town grown only 3-fold  :)))) But anyway to be a place to live for 50 thousand  residents it required extraordinary creativity and  ingenuity of Roman engineers: the massive Pont-du-Gard aqueduct (shown in my reports earlier) was built with the primary goal to supply the water to Nemausus (total length of aqueduct was more than 50 km).  Nimes still has the second biggest amphitheater among surviving Roman amphitheaters (after famous Collosseo in Rome). This amphitheater was able to host 25 thousand spectators (in a town of total population 50 thousand) and represents well Roman panem et circenses! And the amphitheater is still in use for the shows and corrida thsese days ! So let's start our reports about Nimes:

The first part probably will be the least interesting: I want to show the first view I had in Nimes.

Traditionally - railway station. Here we arrived to Nimes:

As you see Nimes train station isn't impressive architecturally but it is quite interesting from engineering point of view: trains goes on the second floor of the station. Passengers may enter the station from any side and the presence of train station right in the center of the town has only very minimal impact to the car traffic:

Near the train station Avenue Feucheres begins. This was the first street that we went in this town looking for the hotel. Avenue Feucheres looks very typical for the French provincial town XIXth century street:

Entrance to college:

Probably the most "important" building in this short street - if I remember well this office of some kind of prosecutor:

Avenue Feucheres soon ends forming the square at the crossing with few other streets. The monument at the end of the street:

From this monument you can see the one of the important monuments in  Nimes but we suppressed our interest for a while ...

Buildings near the square are bigger:

Each Western European town needs to obey strict  rule - one of the most impressive buildings in town must be Palace of Justice. This is Nimes case near this square:

Coming closer:

Nearby offices of law enforcement officials are significanly more modest but as any state office in France inherent slogan "Liberte - egalite- fraternite" on it:

Then our way to the hotel forced us to take right direction along Boulevard Amiral Courbet. Boulevard begins with the Eglise Sainte-Perpetue de Nimes (built in 1852-1864). Few months later I found small message in the news that one month after our visit this church became the place were a group of Muslim youth attacked Christian prayers for the first time in French history:

Boulevard Amiral Courbet is probably the most impressive collection of late XIXth century buildings in Nimes. Most of them in this street are of truly Parisian scale:

Music school:

Residential buildings:

View to the side street:

At the end of the street - one of the buildings of Nimes university (Universite de Nimes). University is very old - established in 1343. This means that it was established even earlier than university in Prague - the oldest university to the north from Alpes and to the east from Paris. This facade but it's side look surprised me:

Side view:

Here you always have a feeling that you are in the zone of Mediterranean influence:

The boulevard ends with Eglise Saint-Baudile de Nimes - another neo-gothic church in Nimes (built in 1867-1877):

To the left from me - in front of the university building - is the Porta Augusta - the single remaining piece of Roman town wall of Nemausus (look to the concrete blocks used to preserve ruins):

Here in the very neighborhood of Porta Augusta we lived for four days. Here are few photos from the window of our hotel very early morning:))

Now we are ready to begin exploration of Nimes :)

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Tags: france, nimes, report

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