Salvete parentes comitesque!
On Thursday, we went to Nimes, a city that is often called the “French Rome.” Nimes was the capital of the Roman Gallic province and was formed around the sacred spring of Nemausus, a Celtic god. When the Caesar tried to conquer Northern Gaul, their allies in southern Gaul assisted them by providing auxiliary troops. Their leader, the Gaul Adgenix, who fought in many battles with the Romans for 25 years, built the city of “Nemausus,” modern-day Nimes, with the funds he received from Augustus in his war chest upon his decommission. Nimes became the regional capital and was a center of Roman culture, art, and commerce.
When we arrived in Nimes we were met at the train-station by Lana’s uncle Laurent, who set up a citywide scavenger hunt for us. We began the hunt with clues leading to the Arena, where we listened to the audioguide to find the next hint. We followed the clues to the Place d’Horloge where we decoded a secret message hidden in the placard explaining the tower. We used our French skills to ask for directions to the Fountain d’Assas where we measured the cubic volume of the water in the fountain using the different materials we had (a 10-cm ruler, Gigi’s leg, and eyeliner). We discovered that it was 30 m3, which corresponded with the clue telling us to go to the Temple of Diana. We then climbed the tower and stopped for lunch. After our quick break, we read some poems by Martial. To continue the scavenger hunt, we put together a puzzle and proceeded to the Musée Carrée. We went to the terrace where we spotted our next clue, which led us to a church. Then we went to the port of Augustus, near another church, where we followed three successive clues, including one that had us use the direction Augustus was pointing (southeast towards Carthage) to determine that the final stop was the Maison Carrée. We watched a reenactment movie about the founding of Nimes (see above) and took the train home at the end of a fun day!
Avete atque vale!