Remy and I finally left France. We spent the past few weeks with Remy's family in Nimes. To say that we had it good would be an understatement. We had a great, wonderful, fantastic...a phenomenal time. We stayed at Remy's Aunt Francoise and Uncle Serge's home. We were spoiled with a beautiful, quiet home that has a wondrous pool that was extremely refreshing in the hot summer sun. It was here, floating on a raft, that it really sunk in that we are unemployed and living out of our backpacks for the next year, which is scary, but exhilarating.
First and foremost - FOOD! Remy and I have been gone just a few days and we talk about Francoise's cooking often. She is an amazing cook! Quickly I was educated on French eating. Breakfasts are small or nonexistent, but lunch is huge! Every day lunch was a 2 to 3 hour meal- it's the main meal, which means that dinner is also small. This was an adjustment for me since I'm used to eating large breakfasts and having a snack every 2 to 3 hours. Lunch starts with an aperitif and small snacks such as peanuts and crackers. This is followed by the meal, meat and some sort of side. Next comes the salad, then bread and cheese and last is dessert. And all throughout the meal wine is served. During our time there Francoise introduced me to different types of food such as frog legs, which really do taste like chicken, wild boar, her version of paella, and so many different, delicious cheeses. And to top off all the wonderful food Remy introduced me to some new flavors of ice cream. He told me about lavender ice cream for years, how it tastes like lavender smells. After much searching we found lavender and it was all that he said it was. Definitely different than anything I've had before, but delightful. We also had violet and rose ice cream. Violet was also tasty, but rose tasted a bit like how potpourri smells.
For more about the delectable food we ate check out our photos and descriptions here.
We spent many days with the family, relaxing by the pool, and working on logistics for this trip, but we also spent some time exploring the city. Remy took me to see the sights, which are pretty impressive. According to our guidebook, Rough Guide to Europe, (thanks Mandy!) Nimes is known for two things - ancient Rome and denim. Nimes has some of the most extensive Roman remains in Europe. As for denim, it was first manufactured here and got its name from de Nimes (of Nimes). It was exported to America to clothe workers and then Levi Stauss made it famous.
My first exploration of the city was with our friends Lindsay and Clint. They were on their honeymoon, traveling through Italy and France and stopped to stay with us for a couple days in Nimes. On their first night we went into downtown Nimes for a night market that had bands and booths with local artists. We made our way to Maison Carree. This is a Roman temple, one of the best preserved, so well that it looks new. It was built ~16 BC and has been restored and repurposed many times. It has been a church, meeting hall, canon's house, stable for government owned horses, and then a museum. It is beautiful, especially with the lights shining on it at night.
I also got to visit Pont du Gard, an aqueduct that was built by the Romans about 2000 years ago. It was extremely impressive how precise it was built. It was used to bring spring water from Uzes to Nimes.
Exploring Camargue: A region in southern France
The Camargue is a region in southeastern France. The emblem for the Camargue region, The Cross, can be seen below. The emblem is formed with a Latin cross whose upper ends represent a three-pronged fork, a working tool used by "gardians" (cowboys) and lower end is a sea anchor topped by a heart. It stands for the three cardinal virtues:
- The cross for faith
- The anchor for hope
- The heart for charity
The next day we ventured to Les Baux. This is a gorgeous city in the Alpilles mountains with a castle overlooking the city. We wandered the windy streets and explored the shops. We ate crepes for lunch and had more tasty lavender ice cream.
Ok, this post has probably gone on long enough, but hopefully gave you an idea of what a wonderful time we had in France. Although excited, we were a little sad to move on. Italy here we come! Thank you to everyone who made our time in France such an incredible time!!
Click here to see more pictures of our time in France.