Pont du Gard – Nimes – Avignon

When we left Carcassonne it was sunny and blue sky and on the 2 hours drive, it got cloudier and cloudier. I was like why? Please nooooo!! I told myself still 1 more hour, weather could change! We arrived Pont du Gard – there is a huge parking lot so don’t worry about spaces. The admission was 18 euros per passenger car up to 5 people.

We walked in and looked to purchase the ticket and instead saw two ticket machines on the left side. It was pretty easy to navigate the menu to purchase the per car ticket…you’ll need that to exit the parking lot!

There are cafes, shops, and even gelato there. The middle open area has tables to enjoy your meal and because summer in Provence is hot, it has water nozzles spray water every few minutes. We headed to Pont du Gard directly and the weather changed during the short walk!

We got there, omg there it is one of the best preserved Roman aqueducts! The other one is the Aqueduct of Segovia which we visited two years ago 🙂 The sky cleared up wow but it was hot hot hot! We hide under a tree and immediately put on sunscreen, I felt my toes were burning!

Pont du Gard – the tallest Roman aqueduct!!!

I love those ancient architecture – unbelievable on how people back then were able to built those mega structures and can withstand the test of time for thousands of years!

There is this little hill that you can walk up for the view of the aqueduct…

 

Took a HDR shot:

and there’s a sign pointing to more viewing spots…

the sign/map is completely in French so we guessed our way….

We picked the way on the right side..

then we were clueless……I said to hubby let’s walk back before we get lost!

We heard some voices from the left side so we picked that way and got us back to where we started URG! Alright…no more try! On the way down to the aqueduct, there was a little path and hubby walked in to check it out. He said trees covering the view so nothing haha!

We walk across the aqueduct…OMG can you believe it, we walked on the aqueduct that was built thousands of years ago! On the bridge, we saw Gardon River and people were kayaking there. It’s a popular kayak and swimming spot!

The other side has better view of the aqueduct!

And some shades there!

It was so hot that we sweat a lot, luckily, we had a bottle of water with us!

We walked down for different angles of the aqueduct, on the stairs going down, there is a warning sign of swimming…at your own risk!

The view down here is the best!!! We took so much pictures even though it was burning hot!

Wasn’t here supposed to fill with water, part of the river? I saw pictures online like that!

Probably low water level?

It was obviously hard to get the aqueduct reflection photo without water….

I was so thankful that it was blue sky and white clouds!

Hubby was hopping from one rock to the next for different angles.

While I noticed the wildflowers on the ground 🙂

We ran out of water so better head back! On the way, a closer look of the Roman aqueduct!

It was like 1:30 pm and hubby was hungry and he wanted gelato lol! Just like a kid, he was happy afterwards LOL!

We drove to Nimes and once again those small narrow roads inside the old city, hardly enough room to make a turn so forget about parking on the street! The good thing about the car GPS was that it showed all the parking lots 🙂 We drove down to an underground parking garage and parked there. We walked out of one of the parking lot exits and ended up on this street!

We originally planned to walk to the Vietnamese restaurant for lunch but it was closed! We found out that most restaurants close after 2 pm and we just got there at 2 OMG! We really didn’t have any choice so at the end, we had our lunch at McDonald’s 😦

But a high-tech McDonald’s:

I ordered the double big mac that came with 2 big macs, a soda, and fries for 9.90 euros. After lunch, we didn’t know where to go because we didn’t have a map! McDonald’s has free wifi so I went online and looked up the cathedral and loaded Google map to get there. But it ended up a different cathedral than the one we drove by – this is the Nimes Cathedral.

We walked back and got our car and left Nimes. We parked there for an hour so it was only 1.80 euros. Leaving Nimes, we droved by Maison Carrée, a Roman temple. I quickly took out my iPhone and snapped a few shots.

I heard from someone that the best preserved Roman architectures are not in Rome but in southern France!!! In less than an hour, we arrived Avignon and all roads into the city center were blocked because of the Avignon Theater Festival – cars are not allowed in the city center during the festival starting from 1 pm till like 2 am! I told hubby to drive all the way to the Palace of Popes, I know there’s a parking garage there and try our luck. At least we got luck this time, we were able to get into the parking garage and parked there! The underground parking garage is huge with multiple levels but the spaces are tight as other parking lots in France! I took a picture of our space number so we can find our car, smart right?

I printed out a map marked with parking lots from the bed and breakfast I booked – La Petite Saunerie. Avignon Theater Festival starts from early July for three to four weeks each year so the hotels and rooms are booked very far in advanced and of course that means peak in hotel rates! I started looking back in December and the hotel rates were outrageous so I looked for alternatives. I looked the bed and breakfast and specialty lodgings in Trip Advisor. I emailed the top rating ones and none of them replied back except La Petite Saunerie. The bed and breakfast has four rooms, I picked the La contemporaine – contemporary room, it’s 135 euros per night less than the $200 per night at 3 stars hotel! I paid the deposit of 40 euros by Paypal.

As we were rolling our luggage to find the bed and breakfast, the city was crazy filled with movie posters LOL! I was stupid not to record the house number of the bed and breakfast; I only know the street name. We found the street, as the street indicated “Rue Petite Saunerie” it’s petite so it’s just a very short road and I thought it could be easily spotted. NO…it doesn’t have a company sign hanging or anything like that. I looked from one door to another door on the street; at least next to the door bell, it labeled with the name. I saw it “La Petite Saunerie” and ring the door bell! Someone answered and I said I booked the room blah blah. He came down and greeted us. He said his wife who handles the rooms is not home yet. He showed walked us to the 2nd floor where they live and rent out their 4 rooms as bed and breakfast. He speaks okay English better than the rest of the people we met in southern France! He showed us the room but the door lock wasn’t working and couldn’t be locked so he called the locksmith. While waiting, we unpacked in our room and realized there is no air conditioner urg!!! Other than that, the room is clean and lovely 🙂

The reason I picked this room from pictures was because of the modern look and the piano haha!

The bathroom is huge! I can turn without turning off the water 🙂

Very home-like bedroom 🙂

I really like the brownish and creamy tone!

The locksmith came and installed a new lock. We got the brand new key and walked out to explore the city!

The whole city center was covered with movie posters…they were everywhere!

Each wall, door wall, only if it has some spaces will be covered LOL! Seriously!

And performers from all over the world marching along the street to promote their show/work!!! We saw one Chinese group promoting their work:

The old feeling of the city center:

We walked to the main square where the hotel de ville (city hall) is, very nice building!

On the other side of the street filled with restaurant tables and performers. It was entertaining to watch those performers promoting their show:

Every town must have a carousel haha!

One of the many theaters in Avignon!

Those posters turned the yellow toned old city center to be very colorful!

Hundreds of different posters, how to make yours stand out?

One of the hotel I looked but was 2x the price during the festival:

On the left is the way to the Palace of the Popes!

When we were rolling our luggage and passed there, we didn’t even take our time to look at the palace! Wow isn’t that beautiful, especially when the sun shinning on it!

The edges of the gothic palace looked just like a drawing! Time for pictures!

Even though it was like 7 pm but it was still hot!

There is a church on the top of the stairs so we walked up there…

 

and from there, we could see the whole square!

The stairway is beautiful!

We took our time in the square and took pictures, there are some many details to take photos of!

And people – we found it amusing watching people take off and hang up posters….are they removing others’ and hanging up theirs? LOL!

At 7 pm, it is still 35 degrees Celsius – that’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit! It was impossible to find a street without posters haha!

We walked to Orjade, a Chinese restaurant that we searched because after all those French meals we had, I missed rice!

The waiter there speaks English, French, Mandarin, and Cantonese wow! We ordered the boiled beef – a spicy szechuan cuisine dish! It turned out to be very delicious and the right amount of spice that hubby could handle.

Rice is like 3 euros per small bowl urggg so we ordered a noodle (less than 10 euros) instead! But it wasn’t that tasty, we dipped in the spicy broth of the boiled beef for more flavors:

The house tofu…once again dipped into the spicy broth!

We finished the whole bowl of the boiled beef! Our meal was 42 euros and we were full!

After dinner, it was still not dark yet haha I like the long day light summer in Europe! We stopped by a super market to get drinks and see if we could find the pineapple flavor yogurt that we had in Arles. Sure enough, we found them! We bought a pack of 4 and it was so cheap like around 1 euro only! I wish yogurt back home is that cheap and good! We got a bottle of 2 liter water and we were shocked to find that it only cost 19 cents!!!! Yes, 19 cents, less than a quarter of a dollar for a big bottle of water!!!! We dropped our grocery back to our apartment since it was so close and then headed back out. The old city center of Avignon looked different than other old city centers we visited in the past few days Arle and Carcassonne; Avignon is all those huge buildings without the glam like Paris but still old and beautiful!

More posters!

and more…

It’s like an advertisement amusement park LOL

I hope they recycle all those posters!

We walked into this narrow road back to the front of the square.

A Korean group but not much audience…

Back to the front of the palace again:

A show just starting….in French though so we couldn’t understand but we enjoyed people watching!

That lovely stair again!

We walked up to the church area and ahhhh the sun is setting!

In the evening, the front of the palace was more crowded!

The streets were filled with performances, it was so lively! This comedian was purposely posed for me to photograph him haha!

Another group of performers in front of the hotel de ville:

The restaurants along the street must be touristy but with good view of the ongoing performances going on!

The carousel at night:

The hotel de ville lit up:

Night at Avignon:

The clothing shops were closed by then 😦 Only restaurants and gelato shops were still open!

A slushy shop wow never see so many flavors all at once!

Walking down the street, they even have Indian dancers!

The picture at the balcony, the whole city is like a big theater filled with performances and hand claps!

We spotted a BNP Paribas ATM there!

I withdraw some Euros for our needs – the bed and breakfast only accept cash or payment via Paypal! The after dinner walk was such a good way to digest the food we ate 🙂

Posters posters!

And noticed the back door of Hermes..it was super tiny LOL!

And more people hanging up posters…do they change daily?

Back to our building, good night Avignon!

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