On our very first visit to Nimes, there was one place I’d really wanted to see but considering how you’d need to have a car (or go on a bus journey which was rumoured to be over 1 hour long) and we’d showed up with no plans on getting a car, I’d just decided that this was one sight we would have to skip.
To be fair, there’s a lot to keep you occupied in Nimes anyway, so this sight was ‘surplus to requirements’ so to speak.
The sight in question was the Pont du Gard – an ancient Roman viaduct, a UNESCO World Heritage Sites and, according to Wikipedia, the highest elevated Roman Aqueduct in the world.
Nimes is such a fantastic Roman city (the only ‘surprise’ here being that it’s in France and not Italy as many would expect) and the Pont du Gard just seemed like the cherry on the cake when visiting Nimes.
To get around (and also to leave us all free to drink as much wine as possible), we hired a driver for the day and shortly after breakfast at our townhouse in the city, we made our way over to the Pont du Gard.
We weaved our way through the windy road (past an olive tree that was said to be over 1,000 years old) and before long, were stood right in front of it.
For what it’s worth, it totally lives up to the hype and is so much bigger (and more impressive) than I’d even anticipated.
The locals were out too, sun bathing and jumping into the river to cool off. Thankfully, we were pre-warned to bring our swim wear with us so after a fair bit of marveling at the bridge, we joined in for a cool dip in the river.
Swimming in the river, by the way, was so sooo good! The temperature was in the 30sC and the opportunity to cool off in such a beautiful setting was very much appreciated.
We left eventually and headed off to our next stop, a place I’d never even heard of before but one our driver (who is actually the husband of our Airbnb host – the architect who built our beautiful apartment) highly recommended we visited.
After travelling through the Dordogne Valley, I’m always game for visiting French towns and villages so this was an easy yes. (Actually, I lie, I’d been game for visiting them long before that, visiting Dordogne valley just made me even more gaga about wanting to visit even more French towns and villages).
The town is called Aigues-Mortes and it is absolutely beautiful!
It’s got a huge city wall all around it and a fantastic surprise just outside the city walls (scroll down further to see what that surprise is).
Walking through the town, it’s easy to see why our driver insisted we visit – it’s as charming as they come.
We popped in and out of different French shops selling everything from pottery to jams and sweet treats!
There’s so much history behind the town (it’s said to be over 2,000 years old) and is such a fascinating place to visit.
After much “Ooooh”ing and “Aaaah”ing, we settled down for lunch in the village square (*yes, I know, always venture off the well trodden path for the best meals but in our defence, we’d left lunch till really late at this point and were absolutely ravenous).
In what seemed like a flurry lasting just a few seconds, salad, steaks and moules frites appeared and disappeared into hungry tummies in what must be record times.
Given how behind time we were, we had one choice to make – dessert or a wander through even more of the town. Alas, dessert lost to more exploration of Aigues-Mortes and the search for ‘that surprise’ outside the city walls.
What’s “the surprise”? (Also, how many times is one allowed to use that word “surprise” in a single post? 😉 😀 ) Said surprise were wild pink flamingoes, which called the pink salt beds outside the town, home.
Almost like they sensed that they had an audience, these flamingoes preened, pruned and posed – all to our delight! Talk about a great way to end a visit to what must be one of the most charming places in all of France. (And trust me, there’s a lot of competition for that title!)
Totally behind schedule, and with the sun fast disappearing, we made one more stop on our trip – a stop we’d all been looking forward to – a visit to the vineyard (*we actually had to scrap a visit to the lavender fields of Provence due to lack of time but its safe to say, we did fairly well considering how much we packed into the day).
The vineyard visit, charming as it was, left a little to be desired, which in retrospect was probably our fault. Typically, you can visit for lunch here, slowly do a wine tasting and even take a tour of the vineyard. We arrived with just enough time to do a wine tasting (indoors) and have a sneak peek at how the wines were made (I could have skipped the latter, again, because we were pushed for time and I’d rather have spent the time finding our more about the wine… and by “finding our more”, yes, I mean drinking the ALL the wine 😀 ).
We did however managed to have a pretty good time at the vineyard and pick up a fair few bottles of wine to have back at the apartment which kicking about in the pool and making the most of our last night in Nimes on this trip, before heading back to London the next day.
It’s safe to say this trip to Nimes was absolutely amazing from start to finish. All and sundry were absolutely impressed by this fantastic Roman city (we recommended it, seeing as we’d been before and were so glad it lives up to expectations for everyone else) and if you’re still stuck on where to head over to this summer – suffice it to say, I heartily recommend taking a trip over to Nimes.