Monday, May 18, 2009

Roman France

Yesterday, toured all over Chateaunuef du Pape, Gigondas and Cote du Rhone region on fun wine tour with a very knowledgable and gentlemany Dutch guy. Now I know lots about vines and soil and barrels and what have you. Met winemakers on their farms, found out what cuvee means.

Showed up in the city of Nîmes today, billed in their brochure as the only city in France whose name contains a circumflex accent. But that's not all! From what I gather, this city was serious Roman turf back in the day and where victorious legionaires would be given plots of land in their retirement. The Roman runis here are well-preserved and my no-star hotel room is adjacent to the big stone arena that was built by Augustus Ceasar and is used these days for bullfights and operas. Did you know they had bullfights in France? Me neither. But it is worse on the animal rights scale than betting on greyhounds while chewing on veal, so I'm not going. And it doesn't happen until July. But I digress.

So I spent the whole day searching out roman ruins like the Temple of Diana and such, walking through the ornately designed parks, drinking little coffees, watching old people play bolle. And since all this was done with an ipod set to T. Rex, so much the better. I'm also finishing a very long, out-of-print mannerist Hamilton Basso novel that I made a project of, and enjoying the incredible weather. This is a very beautiful city and there is less dog shit and pee smell than in Avignon. Fussy hygenic American traveller thumbs up.

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