Browsing Category : France

Life in 19th century Montpellier: the Hotel de Cabrières-Sabatier d’Espeyran


L’hôtel de Cabrières-Sabatier d’Espeyran, Montpellier, France Right next door to the Fabre Museum is the Hôtel de Cabrières-Sabatier d’Espeyran, a town house, which says it is dedicated to decorative arts.  That could mean anything, and in this case it means that they have 19th century rooms, and a basement area with ceramics and metalwork. The house was built in 1873/4 by…

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A Matter of Life and Death: Lives of Gladiators


Gladiators: heroes of the Colosseum, Gladiateurs, héros du Colisée, at the Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes, France   In my usual not-very-efficient way, I’m writing about an exhibition which has now closed.  It was, however, a very neat and well thought out exhibition at the Musée de la Romanité about gladiators in the Roman world, possibly because it’s been on a world…

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Nîmes’ Musée de la Romanité Part Three: At Home and In Town


…continued from Part Two… This part continues to look at the Roman objects on show in the museum, including some extraordinary mosaics and even frescoes…. There is a large section dedicated to funerary stele, which were really interesting.  Although I don’t usually like the use of multimedia technology, I did like the way that some of the stones had moving…

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Exploring Roman Nîmes (on a sizzlingly hot day)


Nîmes, France Nîmes is a very elegant, confident little French town – probably the classiest that I visited on my summer trip.  It has a great ‘French’ feeling, with higgledy-piggledy roads, each as charming as the last, and each pulling you in to be explored. The problem was that it was very hot when we visited, and I’m not very…

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In the Footsteps of Gladiators: Nîmes Amphitheatre


Arena of Nîmes, Arènes de Nîmes, Nîmes, France One of the finest surviving amphitheatres from the Roman world, the Arena, as it’s called locally, is an astonishing structure.  If you have been lucky enough to have seen the Colosseum in Rome, then you’ll see similarities: they are both grand, yet quite dinky, they are both insanely photogenic and they both help…

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Turrets and Saints: Montpellier Cathedral


Cathedral of St Peter, Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, Montpellier, France From the outside, the Cathedral of Montpellier is probably one of the most peculiar I’ve ever seen.  In fact, it really doesn’t look like it should be a cathedral, not least because the ecclesiastical building joins on almost seamlessly with the university building to its side. And somehow, it does suit Montpellier.…

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St Roch: A Church for Montpellier’s Saint


Church of St Roch of Montpellier, Église Saint-Roch de Montpellier, Montpellier, France It’s not often that you can walk in the footsteps of saints. The St Roch church is a product of the 19th century.  It was created by donations from the public and built between 1860-1868 by J Cassan, on the site of a church destroyed during the siege…

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Belleval’s Dream: the Botanical Gardens of Montpellier


Botanical Gardens, Jardin des plantes de Montpellier, Montpellier, France Right in the heart of Montpellier, a skip away from the Cathedral, are the peaceful University-managed botanical gardens.  Visiting in the summer, you get a mixed experience:  it’s sure nice getting out of the heat by hiding under the trees, but a lot of plants aren’t exactly at their most interesting…

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