ROMANS IN PROVENCE
Provence is the part of Gaul that was first conquered by the Romans. They founded many cities and introduced their culture there and now, two thousand years later, there are many remains of their brilliant civilization.
The theatres, amphitheatres, Roman arches, temples, and an aqueduct along our different itineraries will allow us to experience the Roman culture and appreciate the quality of their monumental constructions. They will also help us to understand the everyday life of these people at that time.
The quiet city of Arles was one of the most important Roman cities of the South of Gaul and offers important witnesses to this past splendour: the Roman theatre, built at the time of Augustus, (1st century BC) was sumptuously ornate; the amphitheatre (1st century AD) is a remarkable monument and helps us to understand the organization of gladiator and hunting games. The lovers of bullfights can see their favourite spectacle in the arena of Arles and lovers of music can listen to concerts in the Roman theatre where listening to Mozart is a moving experience. The Roman theatre of Orange, with its stage wall still standing, is another remarkable example of public architecture and allows us to imagine a Roman mime show.
Another monument emblematic of the Roman civilization is visible in Nimes: the Maison Carrée which is among the best preserved Roman temples in the world. It was an important construction of the Roman forum of Nimes and is of great quality with its remarkable foliage frieze.
The Mausoleum of Glanum (1st century BC) is another very interesting and unique monument that shows that the local wealthy families adopted the Roman way of life very early. Nearby, the Roman Arch (1st century AD) celebrating the benefits of the Roman Peace was the entrance of the antique town of Glanum and presents some interesting bas-reliefs.
The impressive Pont du Gard still presents its particular silhouette on the Garon river. Monumental but light and elegant, it is part of the 50 km long aqueduct providing the town of Nimes with water.
Everywhere, the remains of Roman baths, like in Arles, illustrate this social Roman ritual which drew the whole population to the baths everyday.
The antique cities of Glanum and Vaison-la-Romaine both present another feature of the Roman civilization with interesting examples of private constructions such as villas. They show us the magnificence of Roman civilization in Provence: wide Roman streets; splendid and huge private houses with mosaics; marble; statues; atria; gardens; pools and private baths…