Notes From Vacation: Nîmes

From Castillon du Gard, it was a short drive to Uzès and then down the D 979 to Nîmes. Unfortunately there weren’t many places to stop and take in the view through the Gorges of the Gardon. At least there wasn’t much traffic.

I hadn’t expected to wind up in Nîmes but spent a few hours of the afternoon in some of the city’s beautiful parks. Sometimes the best days are the ones that aren’t planned. Les Jardins de la Fontaine was one of the first public gardens, created in the 18th century by military engineer Jacques-Philippe Mareschal and architect Pierre Dardailhon by order of Louis XV. The park extends over 15 hectares and has a number of different garden spaces, including a three-level waterfall and a lily pond. I should have taken more pictures.

Sometimes you see something surprising. This gentleman appears to be a time traveler from the first half of the 20th century. It’s a wonderful thing about France that he didn’t seem out of place at all.

I heard on the news last week that 46% of the French won’t be going anywhere on vacation this summer; the figure goes up every year as fewer people can afford to travel. Those who live near places like this might find some consolation in being able to spend a few days picnicking or relaxing beneath the shade of the trees in the park. It’s not a substitute for getting away, but I can think of worse ways to spend a vacation. Thank Louis XV.

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7 Responses to Notes From Vacation: Nîmes

  1. Archie says:

    Last time in France, we took the TGV from Geneva to Valence and rented a car there. Drove down the coast towards Perpignan, stopped for a wonderful lunch in Tavel on the way, then back around to Aix-en-Provence for a couple of days before returning. Such a beautiful area, and so much more exploring to do!

  2. Interesting stat (and photos!)… see http://www.tourisme.gouv.fr/stat_etudes/4pages/4p18_dgcis.pdf, year round 76% of the French go on vacation, down from 78% yearly average in 2005-2009; but it seems that a significant number of them now avoid leaving in summer time. In the 70s it was common practice for French families to go camping, rent a house or sometimes just a couple of rooms for one month at the same place, so the whole vacation (4 weeks at that time) was focused on summer time, and there were many offers very affordable, yet with minimal equipment (e.g. no shower or bath!). Today most campings have evolved to a significantly more comfortable offer with “mobile-homes”, some of which can be heated; houses to rent have swimming-pools, etc; yet this obviously comes with significant cost overhead, so people only stay one or two weeks to stick to budget. And beyond the French tourists, in Brittany at least, it seems to me that there’s an even more significant lack of foreign tourists, especially from the UK, due to currency; but I also see significantly less Germans, Belgians and Swiss tourists there than in the 80s or 90s. Where do they go now?

    • laura says:

      Thanks for adding this perspective. I had also wondered why more people don’t consider lower-cost options such as those you mentioned that were more popular when we were younger. Honestly, there are still lots of good campgrounds that aren’t expensive at all. Of course if you don’t already have a caravan or tent, then you have the additional cost of buying the equipment, but I think it should still be affordable. Perhaps that kind of vacation doesn’t seem desirable anymore, and people would rather stay home.

      As for the Belgians and Swiss, as far as I can tell, they all go to Provence now, along with the Dutch. The Germans, I have no clue. Probably Italy.

  3. Thanks for this interesting post and photos. Having never been to Europe or having no desire to go there, I enjoy the articles of people I interact with on the net. That way I get the honest to god truth without all the pr. I can relate to this article as I have not taken a vacation since the late 70″s. It has just become to expensive and being retired income has been reduced as well. I look forward to your posts and photos. Thanks for the excellent photos.

  4. Pingback: Vacation: Photos From Provence | The well-prepared mind

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