Nîmes notes

a picture diary from a Roman town in the south of France

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Side entrance of Jardins de la Fontaine

gateThis is one of the side entrances of Jardins de la Fontaine. There are other ones on the other side of the gardens, but this one is the nearest when coming from the city center. The steps are, however, in a very bad shape, so its advisable to use one of the two main entrances.

This one is anyway close to the children’s playgrounds and also the square with the Lebanon cedar tree, and I find it quite handy.


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Concrete wood railings

steps002When you leave the square with the Lebanon cedar towards the side exit of Jardins de la Fontaine, you will take these steps down. The railings are not wood, despite the outlook, but concrete (béton in French). This was very popular and I guess a bit fashionable style in the 19th century, to imitate the nature with concrete structures. And what’s interesting, they do look like wood! Just that the colour is grey.

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The new Lebanon cedar of Jardins de la Fontaine

treeHere’s another picture from the end of September – although it looks pretty much same even in November, as these trees are evergreen.

The place is Jardins de la Fontaine, one of the most beautiful gardens of France. This part of the garden is a little forgotten, however. It’s a fairly large and calm square, with benches on the sides. The tree in the middle is a cedar tree that replaced the original 300 year old cedar of Lebanon that was destroyed a couple of years ago by heavy snow that fell suddenly in spring.

I was there the day before the tragedy. The wind was blowing very strongly, and the old tree that covered the square with its branches like a huge umbrella, made quite scary creaking sounds. We hurried up at the time, as it really sounded like it was coming down. During the night came the snow, and the next day the gardens were closed. Several trees had fallen, among them the old cedar tree. It was the year of the gardens 300th birthday, and the cedar tree had been one of the first trees to planted! So, it was a shame, but a tree has its life span. Now we just wait for the new cedar to grow as grand as the previous.

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Nemausa renovated

nemausaThe wooden sculpture of Nemausa (plunging back to water – or the canal next to – where it has come from) was renovated this spring. I took pictures of it at the time, you can see them here. Now the statue, made of one large tree trunk, has been painted white, and should last again many years.

The sculpture/statue is a nice surprise along the canal leading to the Jardins de la Fontaine, many people stop by to take pictures of it – with of course a smile on their faces!

The picture was taken at the beginning of October, at the moment the trees aren’t that green anymore.

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Armistice day

armistice001November 11th is a national holiday in France, marking the end of the first World War. Nowadays the armistice day is also known as the remembrance day, to commemorate all those who lost their lives in the country’s wars. Or, as it’s usually said, who sacrified their lives for the country.

After the horrors of the first world war people vowed that nothing like that would ever again happen. But then came the second world war. And after that dozens and dozens other wars around the world. Now we are only hoping that a third world war would not break…

The war memorial of Nîmes is located very near the arenes and the palais de justice, on a square named 11-Novembre-1918. It’s an open air crypt, and on the walls there are engraved the names of the 12 866 soldiers from Nîmes and the Gard, who were killed in the first world war. In 1950 were added the names of the soldiers killed in the second world war, and in 1999 the names of the 54 Nîmes’ soldiers killed in the North African war.

There will a ceremony held today, and flowers will be places on the middle of the mosaic floor, which itself is very beautiful. The memorial, known in French as Monument aux morts, is a design by Henri Castan, and was inagurated in 1923.


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mumsThis one comes a little late, but as the flowers are so beautiful, I’ll add it anyway.

The chrysanthemums were out on the street for the All Saints Day, or La Toussaint. This year I didn’t go to the graves, but here you can see a picture from last year. At the time we by chance found the grave of Nîmes’ hero, the legendary French bullfighter Nimeno II.

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Nîmes’ courthouse


After a little break, again new pictures from Nîmes…

The courthouse of Nîmes, or Le Palais de justice, is located just next to the amphitheatre, facing Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle. This is the main entrance, which, however, is hardly used. In fact, I’ve never seen the gates open. The actual entrance is on the other side of the building.

The Palais de justice was designed by architect Gaston Bourdon and built between 1836 and 1846. It’s easy to see that the edifice was largely inspired of the Maison Carrée. Nowadays the neoclassical building is listed as a historical monument.