On our second day in Avignon, France, we drove straight west to visit the small towns of Arles and Nimes. Both towns have been highly influenced by Roman architecture and monuments.
While in Arles, which is a quintessential provincial town, we toured the very large Roman arena dating back to 1st Century BC. We also attempted to see the Roman Baths, however, they were closed during the typical French siesta. Note to self for my next trip to France, many monuments/sites outside of Paris are closed from 12-2pm to allow workers to lunch; similarly, restaurants are closed from around 2-6 or 7pm to allow workers a break and prepare for the evening meal. We learned this the hard way and could never really adapt our daily planning to match this schedule.
After Arles, we drove to Nimes which seems to be a busier commercial city compared with Arles, but with plenty of Roman architecture to go around. What I found very appealing about Nimes was that you could view huge monuments, ie Temple of Diana and the amphitheatre, and then walk a few blocks to do some high-end shopping or grab a macaron at one of the many patisseries.
And speaking of patisseries…who am I to pass up a mid-afternoon macaron and cafe creme? After all, when in Rome….