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Nîmes & the Gard

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NÎMES & THE GARD

© Lonely Planet Publications
68

Nîmes & the Gard
No other part of Languedoc-Roussillon can claim such a rich Roman heritage. Nîmes, the
main town, boasts France’s best-preserved Roman arena. The Pont du Gard aqueduct,
the highest bridge in the Roman Empire, might have been slung across the River Gard
only yesterday. And Sommières, a delightful little provincial town, boasts its own muchmodified Pont Romain.
La Petite Camargue is the junior sister to Provence’s Camargue in size alone. Together, the
two form Western Europe’s largest river delta. Here, where canals cut their way beside still
salt pans, herds of semi-wild bulls roam, horses splash and flocks of pink flamingos scoop
up lunch. Aigues-Mortes with its crenellated ramparts is as intact today as when St Louis
sailed from its harbour for the crusades.
Le Grau du Roi, the area’s coastal holiday mecca, has Port Camargue, a giant, ultramodern
marina; opportunities galore for water sports; and the most extensive beaches along the
whole Languedoc-Roussillon coastline.
Inland is Uzès. Place aux Herbes, its arcaded central square, is one of the cutest in all France,
while its Musée du Bonbon, a confectionery museum, is a must for children and anyone with
a sweet tooth. Deeper inland is Alès, proud of its coal-mining history, yet clean as a new
pin and bright with flowers in summer. In St-Jean du Gard, gateway to Haut-Languedoc via
the spectacular Corniche des Cévennes, is the Musée des Vallées Cévenoles, a fascinating
repository of lost rural trades and tools, while nearby, at St-Hippolyte du Fort, the Musée de
la Soie tells the story of silkworm farming, the area’s traditional cottage industry.

HIGHLIGHTS
„ Mix with the throng at the Féria des

Vendanges (p70), Nîmes
„ Canoe downstream from Collias (p87) and
under Le Pont du Gard (p86)
„ Walk the perfectly preserved ramparts of

Aigues-Mortes (p82)

Alès

St-Hippolyte
du Fort

Collias

Nîmes

„ Tour the salt pans of Salins du Midi (p82)
„ Hire a horse and explore La Petite Camargue

near Le Grau du Roi (p83)
„ Ride the cage down to Mine Témoin (p91),

a coal mine in Alès
„ Learn about silkworm farming at the Musée

de la Soie (p95), St-Hippolyte du Fort

Salins du Midi
Aigues-Mortes
Le Grau
du Roi

Pont du
Gard

lonelyplanet.com

NÎMES & AROUND •• Nîmes

D998

25 km
10 miles

Grotte de la
Cocalière

Castagnol

Col de
Portes

St-Martin de
l'Ardèche

Château
de Portes

St-Paul
Trois
Château

D904

D59

N106

St-Florent-surAuzonnet

St-La...
NÎMES & THE GARD
No other part of Languedoc-Roussillon can claim such a rich Roman heritage. Nîmes, the
main town, boasts France’s best-preserved Roman arena. The Pont du Gard aqueduct,
the highest bridge in the Roman Empire, might have been slung across the River Gard
only yesterday. And Sommières, a delightful little provincial town, boasts its own much-
modified Pont Romain.
La Petite Camargue is the junior sister to Provence’s Camargue in size alone. Together, the
two form Western Europe’s largest river delta. Here, where canals cut their way beside still
salt pans, herds of semi-wild bulls roam, horses splash and flocks of pink flamingos scoop
up lunch. Aigues-Mortes with its crenellated ramparts is as intact today as when St Louis
sailed from its harbour for the crusades.
Le Grau du Roi, the area’s coastal holiday mecca, has Port Camargue, a giant, ultramodern
marina; opportunities galore for water sports; and the most extensive beaches along the
whole Languedoc-Roussillon coastline.
Inland is Uzès. Place aux Herbes, its arcaded central square, is one of the cutest in all France,
while its Musée du Bonbon, a confectionery museum, is a must for children and anyone with
a sweet tooth. Deeper inland is Alès, proud of its coal-mining history, yet clean as a new
pin and bright with flowers in summer. In St-Jean du Gard, gateway to Haut-Languedoc via
the spectacular Corniche des Cévennes, is the Musée des Vallées Cévenoles, a fascinating
repository of lost rural trades and tools, while nearby, at St-Hippolyte du Fort, the Musée de
la Soie tells the story of silkworm farming, the area’s traditional cottage industry.
Nîmes & the Gard
HIGHLIGHTS
Mix with the throng at the Féria des
Vendanges ( p70 ), Nîmes
Canoe downstream from Collias ( p87 ) and
under Le Pont du Gard ( p86 )
Walk the perfectly preserved ramparts of
Aigues-Mortes ( p82 )
Tour the salt pans of Salins du Midi ( p82 )
Hire a horse and explore La Petite Camargue
near Le Grau du Roi ( p83 )
Ride the cage down to Mine Témoin ( p91 ),
a coal mine in Alès
Learn about silkworm farming at the Musée
de la Soie ( p95 ), St-Hippolyte du Fort
Aigues-Mortes
du Roi
Le Grau
Salins du Midi
du Fort
Collias
Pont du
Gard
St-Hippolyte
Alès
Nîmes
© Lonely Planet Publications
68
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