One day in Nîmes was not enough! We could easily have spent a full day just wandering (and getting lost in!) the narrow streets of the old city.

We were particularly impressed with the large number of beautiful balconies…

We started our visit with an outstanding lunch at a South African-influenced restaurant, L’Esclafidou. It was one of our best meals in France – the flavors were amazing.

The Roman arena is impressively well-preserved. We were disappointed to find that most of the original stone seats had been covered with more standard bleacher seating…and, unfortunately, the arena was housing work trucks, not gladiators.

Speaking of gladiators, I had no idea there were many different types, each with a very specific type of armament, and that they only fought certain other types. The weapons and armor evolved over time, just like in “regular“ battlefield warfare. Definitely not the free-for-all I had imagined!

Just across the way is a far more modern building. M can’t get more old/new juxtaposition than this!

The Maison Carrée a few blocks away is the epitome of classic architecture… what nice lines!

This church, the Église Saint Paul, had some beautiful paintings (frescoes?), but some serious water damage. Definitely a design flaw- there was matching damage on either side of the nave.

The Église Saint-Baudile de Nîmes, on the other hand, had some really nice stained glass.

Across from the church was yet another Roman ruin – one of the two gates into the old walled city. The rest of the walls have been “repurposed,” with the stones taken away to make other buildings. It’s amazing the arena didn’t suffer the same fate.

Every now and then, you get to see that the buildings don’t look quite so neat behind their stucco exteriors…

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