Les Arènes in Nîmes

Les Arènes in Nîmes, a very well preserved Roman arena

The third and final part of the Winter holiday is now to be covered. The first part brought my travel companions and I to Marseilles, the second to Aix-en-Provence and Avignon.

Day 4: Nîmes
We took the train from Avignon nice o’clock and arrived in Nîmes about 40 minutes later. The breakfast was made in the hotel room. As always we ate great baguettes with ham, cheese, sausages and crisps).

La maison carrée

We saw the 3D movie “Heros de Nîmes” in la Maison carrée which is an old Roman building. The movie was a disappointment because the 3D glasses we had to use were so scratched up that we couldn’t read the text on the screen.

Kristofer with a pair of useless 3D glasses

The weather was, as every day of our trip, fantastic and we strolled to Les jardins de la fontaine (The fountain gardens). This public park is according to the French brochure one of the biggest public parks, but one of the first according to the English version in the brochure (it’s maybe both?).

We had a fantastic view from the top of Tour Magne

Inside the park we saw the roman temple Temple de Diane and the Roman octogonal tower Tour Magne. We also had a pleasent lunch where we ate (again) baguettes, but this time we complemented them with ice cream for dessert!

Lunch in Les jardins de la fontaine

The highlight of Nîmes is without a doubt Les Arènes, a Roman arena (like the famous one in Rome). The one in Nîmes is very well preserved and is in use today. When we visited it was bullfight practice on the arena – fun to watch!

In the evening Cate, Joao and I ate food at the restaurant “It’s amore”, a delicious meal. The others went for a kebab and we found them sleeping when we got back from the restaurant. (Sorry that I don’t have an image of that – they were almost cuddeling).

Day 5: Last day of holiday
We slept long, too long to be able to visit Pont du Gard, yet another famous Roman sight, situated not far from Nîmes. It’s supposed to be very impressive, but as it was Sunday there were no buses going to the aquaduct. Instead we went to a free exhibition at “Musée du vieux Nîmes”. Apparently, Nîmes is known for its jeans production.

We ended our stay in Nîmes and the winter holiday at the Grand café La bourse next to Place des Arènes enjoying a good and expensive coffee!



Pont d'Avignon

Pont d'Avignon

So the second part of the winter holiday is here! I continue where I left of in the last post.

We got up early, it was hard since we got to bed late. We took tha train to Aix-en-Provence from the Marseilles St. Charles trainstation at 09h05.

After 45 minutes on the train we arrived in Aix-en-Provence. We were heading for Avignon the same day, and didn’t have a hostel to put our stuff in. Additionally we couldn’t find ANYWHERE to put our luggage, so we had to carry it around all day. We had breakfast in front of Cours Mirabeau, the biggest fountain in Aix-en-Provence.

We continued our great hyper tourism trend, seeing everything in one day and took yet another “City tour”. (The one in Aix-en-Provence was better than the Marseille one as it only cost us 0,50€!)

Geir, Joao and Roberto are happy hyper tourists

We were all kind of tired and had a coffee not far from la Rotonde before we visited Musée Granet with a free and interactive Picasso exhibition, very good.

We didn’t have time to see La cathédrale St-Sauveur properly (we passed it on the city tour), so the last thing we did in Aix-en-Provence was a proper kebab. 15 minutes on the TGV and we were in Avignon. We were met by an amazing sunset, so I had to take a picture!

The view that met us in Avignon (available on Flickr)

We met the American girls again (what’s the odds?), but this time we only had a short talk as they were leaving Avignon. We ended the evening with wine, salt sticks, chips and baguettes in the hotel room.

Day 3: Avignon
We slept for a long time in my room and the others bought food and we ate breakfast in front of the City hall (Hôtel de ville).

A fantastic baguette breakfast in front of Hôtel de ville!

We headed for the main attraction in Avignon, Le palais des papes (The pope palace). The Pope had his head of seat in Avignon at the beginning of the 12th century, interesting, but the buildings was emptied, so there was only (endless amounts of) information signs to see, apart from the construction itself.

Palais des papes

After two hours in the palace we had incredibly expensive coffee outside (1,80€). Then we saw Notre dame des doms and the park Rocher des doms next door followed by the famous “Pont d’Avignon”, who’s real name is Pont Bénezet. Why is it famous you say? That’s because it’s only half a bridge. The city of Avignon gave up reconstructing it in the 17th century since it always got destroyed by the strong tide.

Planning in front of Palais des papes!

Again we were tired and skipped going to eat at a restaurant, instead we ordered pizza. Beer and gin & tonic made us happy and we tried to find a place to go out. Again: Epic fail! Who pays 10€ to get into a pub!? It was called Delirium, probably describes the people who go there pretty well!

In the next post, Nîmes!


Joao, Geir, Roberto, Kristofer, Cate and I in Marseilles

Joao, Geir, Roberto, Kristofer, Cate and I in Marseilles

I’ve been waiting for time to post the images and stories from the winter holiday and finally I have found the time. I’m sitting outside in the Tolulouse waiting for my laundry to finish – perfect conditions for blogging!

So I’m moving back in time, to February 18th 2009, 6 o’clock in the morning at the metro station Faculté de Pharmacie where Geir, Cate, Joao, Roberto, Kristofer and I are dead tired, but ready for the winter holiday. We’re going to visit the south west coast of France visiting Marseilles, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon and Nîmes.

Ready for departure (Geir, Kristofer, Cate, Roberto and Joao)

We got to Marseilles around 11h30 and found Hostel Vertigo right away, it was really close to the train station. It was an awesome place, really cool atmosphere and nice rooms!

We got a map of the city and started exploring!

Does anybody see a big monument around here so we know where we are?

Since we only had one day in Marseilles, we figured the most effective way to get around was to take “Trains Tour”, showing us Marseilles and bringing us all the way up to Notre Dame de la garde – the church that overlooks Marseilles. We were a bit unlucky and only got 25 minutes at Notre Dame – we’re hyper tourists doing Marseilles!

We also got to see the old quarter (ok), la Vieille charité (disappointment) and La cathédrale (nice outside, too dark inside).

We went back to Les Quais, where we ate lunch when we came to Marseilles and ate proper French food …

No excuse for this in France, but it tasted very good!

We tried to find Musée du vieux ville (The “Old City Museum”) twice, but it didn’t seem to exist. None of the Marseillans we asked had heard about it. We ended the day with a visit to Palais de Longchamps before returning to the hostel.

There we ate good microwave heated spaghetti (the didn’t have hot plates in the hostel). We met three American girls that joined us in the search for a place to party. Epic fail! The only place we found was the Irish pub O’Malley’s. OK, but not exactly what we were looking for.

In bed 1h30, hopefully ready for the second day of the winter holiday!