Showing posts with label Montmajour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montmajour. Show all posts

Roman Provence

After barbarians from northern Europe defeated the Roman armies at the Battle of Arausio (today's Orange) in 105 BCE, Consul Marius intervened in the region of Arles where, for logistical reasons, he had a wide ditch dug called Fosses Mariennes at the mouth of the Rhône before crushing the barbarians. After his subsequent victories, Marius abandoned the use of the new waterway to the Marseillais who thus extended their influence to Arles, now a port for both river and sea. As a reward for supporting Marius's nephew Julius Caesar against Marseille in 49 BCE during the civil war. Caesar records his approach to the city which he designates by Arelate in the Bello Civico I.36.4: "Naves longas Arelate number XII facere institute (He had twelve warships built in Arles)." These vessels, built in less than a month, allowed him to win his battle against Marseilles on June 12, 49 BCE. To reward Arles for this help, he instructed Tiberius Claudius Nero , father of the future emperor Tiberius, to found the Roman colony of Arelate in the autumn of 45 BCE for men of the 6th Legion, and this was reflected in the colony’s official name: Colonia Julia Paterna Arelatensum Sextanorum, or Julius’ Paternal Colony of the Sixth at Arelate. The settlers of this new province were given territory taken from that of Marseilles. The first governor of Arelate was Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus. 
Upon Caesar's assassination his nephew and adopted son, the future emperor Augustus, renamed the colony Colonia Julia Paterna Arelate Sextanorum, and visited the town himself around 40 BCE to organise this bastion of Roman power which then imposed itself against its rival Marseille. With the creation of the colony, the people of Arles, freed from the tutelage of Marseilles, became true Roman citizens with the possibility of taking part in the deliberations of the people in the assemblies of the capital when they went there. As such, the Arlesians were registered as one of the tribes of Rome, the Teretina tribe. 
Arelate was an important city in Roman times, of which it has preserved many vestiges, in particular the arenas and the necropolis of Alyscamps. Strabo in 18 AD referred to the commercial role of the city, and a little later Pliny the Elder mentioned Arelate Sextanorum. From the beginning of the century a Roman road, the via Agrippa, linked the city to Vienne and Lyon. Benefiting for more than five centuries from a strategic geopolitical situation on the Rhône, from successive urban plans and the support of several emperors, it became  one of the first Christian centres of Gaul and imperial residence and then, at the end of the 4th century, a praetorian prefecture. Besieged in 425, 430, 453, 457 and 471 , the city was finally taken by the Visigoth king Euric for the first time in 472 and then definitively in 476.
During the Second World War Arles became the victim of five aerial bombings in the summer of 1944 in which the city lost its station, its two bridges and 28% of its habitat. Also destroyed were two churches, Saint-Julien and Saint-Pierre-de-Trinquetaille, whilst the amphitheatre, the ramparts and Notre-Dame-de-la-Major werev rendered seriously damaged
Arles Roman amphitheatreThe Roman amphitheatre in Arles in the 19th century and in 2015 with Drake Winston two years after the completion of the restoration campaign led by Alain-Charles Perrot, Chief Architect of Historic Monuments. Nearly 25 million euros were devoted to this restoration which lasted ten years and which was, at that time, one of the largest sites on Heritage in France. The amphitheatre itself was built around 80 -90 by the orders of the Emperor Domitian as part of the Flavian extensions of the city. The amphitheatre of Arles is the most important monument of the ancient Roman colony that remains some two millennia after its construction. Roman engineers had to build the amphitheatre of on the hill of Hauture; to do this, they had to first demolish the Augustan enclosure erected a century earlier. The arena takes up the classic characteristics of this type of construction and was inspired by the Colosseum in Rome which had just been completed. Like it, an evacuation system via numerous access corridors, an elliptical central stage surrounded by bleachers, arcades over two levels for a total length of 136 metres. At each level, a circular gallery gave access to the bleachers by stairs alternating with vertical passages. The building could accommodate 25,000 spectators. In 255 the Emperor Gallus had games organised here in celebration of the victories won by his armies in Gaul. At the beginning of the 4th century , Constantine had great hunts and battles depicted there on the occasion of the birth of his eldest son. Later, Majoran gave several shows there. Finally, we know from Procopius that in 539 Childebert, king of Paris, having visited the south of Gaul, wanted the games of the ancients to be renewed in his presence. By the end of the 6th century however, the arena had to adapt to the return of insecurity to transform itself into a bastide , a sort of urban fortress which, over time, had four towers and in which are integrated more than two hundred dwellings and two chapels. 
The doctor and geographer Jérome Münzer passing through Arles in 1495 wrote of how “poor people live in this theatre, having their huts in the hangers and on the arena."  King François I, visiting the city in 1516, expressed surprise and regret to find such a building in such a sad state. This residential function was perpetuated over time before the expropriation started at the end of the 18th century  was finally completed in 1825 at the instigation of the mayor at the time, Baron de Chartrouse . The arena rediscovered its original function in 1830, during an inaugural party on the occasion of the celebration of the taking of Algiers, with the bullfighting show which earned it its current common name of Arènes. It took another decade on December 30 , 1840 that the Archaeological Commission demolished the last houses backing onto the amphitheatre. Today it hosts many shows, bullfights , Camargue races (including the golden cockade), theatrical performances and musical performances as a way of combining the preservation of ancient heritage and the cultural life of today. Summer sees a return to basics for the amphitheatre when every Tuesday and Thursday, a team of professionals brings Roman customs and customs to life, presenting gladiator fights to the public.
Bombing of ArlesGerman forces occupied Arles when they took over all of France including its "free zone" administered by the Vichy Government in November 1942 as a precaution when the allies invaded North Africa. Within the months before the allied landing in Southern France in August 1944 a large number of bombing raids were carried out by the allies in order to destroy railway lines and stations and cut the bridges across the Rhone to hinder the German retreat. Arles had endured eight raids between 25 June and 15 August which inflicted great damage to the buildings and a considerable number of civilian deaths. Van Gogh's Maison Jaune was destroyed (see below) as most of the bridges along the Rhone were bombed. The bombing was actually carried out by groups from the Free French Airforce - thus ironically by Frenchmen themselves - flying American B26 Marauder medium bombers. As the Germans retreated up the west bank of the Rhone this had been quite unnecessary.
One such bridge in Arles which remains destroyed is the so-called Lion Bridge. The plaque on its façade reads
The bridge was built in 1868 to allow trains of the PLM company [Paris-Lyon Marseille] to link Arles to Lunel cross the Rhone river, which is already quite wide at this point. This line in particular was dedicated to dispatch the coal produced in the Cevennes mountains.  The bridge was destroyed on the 6th of August 1944, during a bombing.  All that remains of the bridge are its pillars and imposing sculptured lions. The lion sculptures are the work of Pierre Louis Rouillard.
The pillars remain standing. The arrival of German troops in Arles brought immediate changes to the town's administrative and social landscape. Contrary to the notion that the occupation was merely an imposition of German rule, Paxton asserts that Vichy France was a willing collaborator. This complicates the situation in Arles, as it was a place caught between two regimes. Both the Nazis and the Vichy government sought to exert influence, and their interests often converged. For example, stringent anti-Semitic laws were quickly enacted, affecting the town’s Jewish population profoundly. Property was seized, and individuals were rounded up for deportation, mirroring the broader Holocaust policies implemented across Europe. Concurrently, the imposition of a strict curfew and other civil restrictions created a stifling atmosphere that deeply impacted everyday life. Economically, the occupation years were a period of scarcity and hardship for Arles. The Germans requisitioned a significant portion of the town’s resources, from food to machinery, contributing to a dire situation that was exacerbated by the absence of many men who had either fled or been conscripted. Vinen argues that this contributed to a ‘shadow economy’, where black markets and informal trading became prevalent as people sought to survive. Even though this alternative economy offered some relief, it also led to a dramatic increase in crime rates and corruption, complicating the moral landscape of the town. 
Van Gogh's Trinquetaille Bridge Van Gogh's Trinquetaille Bridge of 1888, since replaced after being bombed during the war- note the tree in both. Both bridges that linked the Trinquetaille district to Arles were destroyed respectively on August 6, 1944 and August 15, 1944 by Allied bombing, which completely isolated the district from the rest of the city. The area itself was bombed the war with the main destruction suffered in Arles occurred in 1944 by six Allied bombardments during the fighting for the liberation of Provence. The objectives were the destruction of the bridges, but several districts, notably La Roquette, La Cavalerie and Trinquetaille, were damaged. Trinquetaille alone saw 405 buildings destroyed, involving over a thousand homes with only the bell tower of the Saint-Pierre church still standing. In June of 1987, this painting sold for $20.2 million making it the second highest price ever paid for a painting at auction. Living in Arles, he was at the height of his career, producing some of his best work: sunflowers, fields, farmhouses and people of the Arles, Nîmes and Avignon areas. In less than fifteen months he had produced about an hundred drawings, produced more than 200 paintings and wrote more than 200 letters. The canals, drawbridges, windmills, thatched cottages and expansive fields of the Arles countryside reminded Van Gogh of his life in the Netherlands. Arles brought him the solace and bright sun that he sought for himself and conditions to explore painting with more vivid colours, intense colour contrasts and varied brushstrokes. He also returned to the roots of his artistic training from the Netherlands, most notably with the use of a reed pen for his drawings.
Arles Langlois Bridge Van Gogh then now
In front of the Langlois Bridge at Arles, the subject of four oil paintings, one watercolour and four drawings by Vincent van Gogh. The works, made in 1888 when Van Gogh lived in Arles, represent a melding of formal and creative aspects. Van Gogh used a perspective frame that he built and used in The Hague to create precise lines and angles when portraying perspective.Van Gogh was influenced by Japanese woodcut prints, as evidenced by his simplified use of colour to create a harmonious and unified image. Contrasting colours, such as blue and yellow, were used to bring a vibrancy to the works. He painted with an impasto, or thickly applied paint, using colour to depict the reflection of light. The subject matter, a drawbridge on a canal, reminded him of his homeland in the Netherlands. He asked his brother Theo to frame and send one of the paintings to an art dealer in the Netherlands. The reconstructed Langlois Bridge is now named Pont Van-Gogh.
Van Gogh had been 35 when he made the Langlois Bridge paintings and drawings. The Langlois Bridge was one of the crossings over the Arles to Bouc canal. It was built in the first half of the 19th century to expand the network of canals to the Mediterranean Sea. Locks and bridges were built, too, to manage water and road traffic. Arles Langlois Bridge Van Gogh then now
Just outside Arles, the first bridge was the officially titled "Pont de Réginel" but better known by the keeper's name as "Pont de Langlois". In 1930, the original drawbridge was replaced by a reinforced concrete structure which, in 1944, was blown up by the retreating Germans who destroyed all the other bridges along the canal except for the one at Fos-sur-Mer, a port on the Mediterranean Sea. The Fos Bridge was dismantled in 1959 with a view to relocating it on the site of the Langlois Bridge but as a result of structural difficulties, it was finally reassembled at Montcalde Lock several kilometres away from the original site. According to letters to his brother Theo, Van Gogh began a study of women washing clothes near the Langlois Bridge about mid-March 1888 and was working on another painting of the bridge about April 2. This was the first of several versions he painted of the Langlois Bridge that crossed the Arles canal. Reflecting on Van Gogh's works of the Langlois Bridge Debora Silverman, author of the book Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Search for Sacred Art comments, "Van Gogh's depictions of the bridge have been considered a quaint exercise in nostalgia mingled with Japonist allusions." Van Gogh approached the making of the paintings and drawings about the bridge in a "serious and sustained manner" with attention to "the structure, function, and component parts of this craft mechanism in the landscape."
Café Terrace on the Place du Forum Van Gogh
Van Gogh's Café Terrace at Night and the site today with Drake Winston, now renamed the Café Van Gogh. Café Terrace at Night is one of three Arles paintings that feature Van Gogh's distinctive star-filled sky. Starry Night Over the Rhone and Starry Night complete the trilogy. He had painted the café terrace scene on location rather than from memory.Jared Baxter argues the painting contains allusions to The Last Supper by Leonardo. In fact, a close study of the painting reveals that the main characters include one central figure with long hair surrounded by twelve individuals, plus a cross shines in the background of the composition, and van Gogh has included additional cross-like shapes throughout the artwork. A shadowy figure slipping through the doorway may symbolize Judas. A religious allusion wouldn't be too out of character for van Gogh. Before devoting his attention to painting, Van Gogh  had expressed a desire to "preach the gospel everywhere," and his father, Theodorus van Gogh, was a pastor for a Dutch Reformed church. Around the time of working on Cafe Terrace at Night, van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo van Gogh, explaining that he had a "tremendous need for, shall I say the word - for religion," with direct reference to the painting. 
Maison Jaune 
The Maison Jaune, also the subject of Van Gogh, didn't survive the bombing and no longer exists. The place without the house looks almost the same. Although Van Gogh's building is gone a placard on the scene commemorates its former existence.
Marshal Petain and Admiral Darlan in front of the Town Hall with Petain's portrait on the façade when France was fighting the British and Americans in North Africa. By 1945 they had switched sides and Petain had been replaced with the portraits of Churchill, FDR, Stalin and, protecting national sensibilities, de Gaulle.
Arles amphitheatre 
Petain's image displayed at the amphitheatre. The central photograph shows German officers in 1944.

Bombed during the war with wife and son at the reconstructed spot today.

The Barbegal aqueduct
At the Barbegal aqueduct and mill, a Roman watermill complex located near Arles, described as "the greatest known concentration of mechanical power in the ancient world." It was built to supply drinking water from the mountain chain of the Alpilles to Arelate on the Rhône River. Within ten miles north of Arles at Barbegal, near Fontvieille, where the aqueduct arrived at a steep hill, the aqueduct fed two parallel sets of eight water wheels to power a flourmill. There are two aqueducts which join just north of the mill complex, and a sluice which enabled the operators to control the water supply to the complex. The mill consisted of 16 waterwheels in two separate descending rows built into a steep hillside. There are substantial masonry remains of the water channels and foundations of the individual mills, together with a staircase rising up the hill upon which the mills are built. The mills apparently operated from the end of the 1st century until about the end of the 3rd century. Described as the world's oldest biscuit factory, scientists now believe the enormous Roman Barbegal factory was used to mass-produce snacks to feed second century sailors during long voyages at sea.
Arles Barbegal aqueduct
Father and son's photo of mom between arches
Chapel of Saint-Gabriel de Tarascon 
Chapel of Saint-Gabriel de Tarascon  then now
At the Chapel of Saint-Gabriel de Tarascon, a Romanesque chapel located southeast of Tarascon. It was built in the third quarter of the 12th century and constitutes one of the finest examples of Provençal Romanesque art inspired by antiquity, decorated with biblical scenes including above the door Adam and Eve and the snake curling around the tree of knowledge of good and evil, along with Daniel with lions. It's surprising that this church of such great architectural quality is located away from Tarascon without being able to attach to the monument any pilgrimage that could justify it. In fact, the place was in Roman times at the meeting point of two important branches of the Via Herculea, the name given to a mythical road that lead from the Strait of Gibraltar in Spain to the Col de Montgenèvre in the Alps, crossing the Pyrenees, skirting the Mediterranean coast and passing through Narbo (Narbonne). and Nemausus (Nîmes ). This route was replaced in Roman times by the Via Domitia and the Via Augusta. Archaeological research around the chapel has brought to light the foundations of houses which have shown the extent of the ancient settlement, making it possible to find an early Christian cemetery which allows us to affirm that these activities did not disappear with the barbarian invasions.The chapel itself has suffered numerous kinds of violence passing the centuries, including bombing by the Allies during the Second World War.    
On October 6 105 BCE the Battle of Orange took place. The Teutons, allied with the Cimbri, the Ambrones and the Helvetii crushed the Roman legions of the consul Gnaeus Mallius Maximus and of Quintus Servilius Caepio in front of Arausio. The treasure of the Volques, which they had pillaged at Toulouse , was thrown into the Rhône by the victors. The historian Orosius wrote:"They threw into the river gold, silver, weapons, cuirasses, vases even after having broken them, the clothes of the corpses were lacerated and the horses still alive were thrown into an abyss". Provencia and the road to Rome were open to them, but the coalition split to move towards Spain or go up towards Gaul. Many think that the gold from the Volques de Toulouse, thrown into the Rhône by the Cimbri, is still at the bottom of the river.
Roman arch Orange then now
At the triumphal arch of Orange, a Roman monumental arch from the beginning of the  1st century, which marked the northern entrance to Arausio (today hui Orange) on the Via Agrippa- the national road 7 before its decommissioning. It was possibly erected during the reign of Augustus
between the years 20 and 25 to honour the veterans of the Gallic Wars and Legio II Augusta. It was later reconstructed by emperor Tiberius to celebrate the victories of Germanicus over the German tribes in Rhineland. The arch contains an inscription dedicated to emperor Tiberius in 27. The arch is decorated with various reliefs of military themes, including naval battles, spoils of war and Romans battling Germans and Gauls. Almost all the surfaces of the arch are covered with reliefs, among which representations of weapons and tropaia predominate. A Roman foot soldier carrying the shield of Legio II Augusta is seen on the north front battle relief for example. There are also battle reliefs of victorious Romans fighting defeated Gauls, as well as subordinate reliefs from the field of Roman religion . Fixing holes for the attachment of metal letters, which approximately determine the occasion and time of the construction of the building, allow the inscription to be reconstructed, even if its interpretation is disputed.
In the Middle Ages, the monument was fortified to serve as an advanced bastion at the entrance to the city. The arch was converted into a fortress in the 13th century and fitted with an eight metre high tower. It was then owned by Raymond I des Baux, the prince d'Orange, and belonged to the Principality of Orange until 1725 .
Roman arch Orange then nowHow the arch appears from Hubert Robert's 1789 painting The Ruins of Nîmes, Orange and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence showing the dilapidated state of the arch and how much today is a product of extensive restoration. The seemingly good state of preservation of the arch, which to the layman appears to be largely intact evidence of ancient architecture, is thus the result of over 200 years of restoration and renewal. As early as 1721, a prince de Conti, probably Louis Armand II de Bourbon  had the tower erected on the arch in the 13th century demolished. In 1725, the pilasters in the western and central passages and the western archivolt of the south side were renewed, as was the left half-column of the south side. In order to secure the building, the upper part of the west side was bricked up in 1772. In 1808 Alexandre Reux, departmental architect of Vaucluse, carried out safety and conservation work on the arch. As part of this work, the pilasters, impost capitals and archivolts of the western passage on the south side were added, and the south-east corner was completely restored. In addition, the pilasters on the north side were added and the extensions leaning against the western facade were demolished.  When the Route Nationale 7 was expanded in 1809, a square was created with the arch in the middle, around which the road ran on both sides.  
A later view of the arch can be seen on the right from Victor Cassien and Alexandre Debelle's Album du Dauphiné, from 1839. The arch was further restored in the 1820s by the architect Auguste Caristie who began by clearing the buttresses and medieval additions, before proceeding to a non-aggressive reconstruction of the monument, replacing the unusable parts or missing in an identifiable way; the entire west side of the arch, which was badly damaged, was completely redesigned using only two antique components. The additions to the north side included the corner columns, parts of the weapon relief located above the western passage, the corner pilasters of the lower attic and the western pedestal of the upper attic. Roman arch Orange then nowOn the badly damaged south side, he had the western semi-columns and all profiles renewed. With the exception of the east side, which is still best preserved, the entire entablature on the arch above the blind columns was renewed. Caristie made sure that the additions and renewals were identified as such and did not elaborate on the ornamentation. This downright modern approach to monument preservation was discarded during the restorations between 1950 and 1957. Now the additions, which can be recognised as modern, were subsequently ornamented and artificially weathered by means of sandblasting. Since then, it has hardly been possible to distinguish between the antique inventory and the modern additions.
 The last cleanup of the arch was completed in June 2021; from 2015 to 2017, drainage works made it possible to clean up the bottom of the arch, at the level of which rainwater sometimes stagnated. Trees have since been felled and the road redeveloped, so that vehicles pass less closely. On this occasion, adjustable lighting was installed, making it possible to engage in the current fad of illuminate the arch in different colours, in particular those of the French flag.
The ancient Roman theatre in Orange was built early in the 1st century AD. It is one of the best preserved of all the Roman theatres in the Roman colony of Arausio (or, more specifically, Colonia Julia Firma Secundanorum Arausio: "the Julian colony of Arausio established by the soldiers of the second legion") which was founded in 40 BCE. Playing a major role in the life of the citizens, who spent a large part of their free time there, the theatre was seen by the Roman authorities not only as a means of spreading Roman culture to the colonies, but also as a way of distracting them from all political activities.  Mime, pantomime, poetry readings and the farce was the dominant form of entertainment, much of which lasted all day. Magnificent stage sets became very important, as was the use of stage machinery, to keep commoners entertained. The entertainment offered was open to all and free of charge.  As the Western Roman Empire declined during the 4th century, by which time Christianity had become the official religion, the theatre was closed by official edict in 391 CE since the Church opposed what it regarded as uncivilised spectacles. After that, the theatre was abandoned completely. It was sacked and pillaged by the barbarians and was used as a defensive post in the Middle Ages.
Orange Roman theatre reconstruction
The theatre as it appeared and today
 The foundation of Nîmes goes back to antiquity with Strabo and Pliny writing of a Celtic tribe would have settled in the region and would have founded, on the territory of the city of Nîmes, the ancient capital of the Volques Arécomiques. The victory won over the Arverni by Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus and Quintus Fabius Maximus, in 121 BCE, decided the fate of the city. Indeed, the anxiety caused them by their turbulent neighbours induced the Volci to offer themselves to the Romans and place themselves under their protection. This did not, however, allow them to escape the devastation caused by the irruption of the Cimbri and the Teutons. The colony founded by Octavian Augustus under the direction of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was only definitively organised in the year 27 BCE. The Colonia Augusta Nemausus was endowed with numerous monuments and an enclosure about five miles in length, enclosing the third urban area of ​​the Gauls (provinces of Germania included) over 220  hectares.
The development of the city of Nîmes further intensified due to its geographical location, since the city was crossed by the via Domitia and the Heraclean way. The via Domitia would become essential in the economic development of the city since its led from Italy to the Iberian peninsula. During the 1st century  BCE Nîmes gradually broke away from the influence of Marseilles to gradually enter into the orbit of Rome. After the conquest of Marseilles by Caesar, the Romanisation of Nîmes accelerated further with the city then receiving the title of Colonia Augusta Nemausus, allowing the city to keep a certain autonomy without the Romanisation being slowed down. Architecturally, the city took on an increasingly Roman form with an important appearance of several buildings of a public nature. Similarly, dwellings are shifting more and more from the hills to the plain which became a true symbol of the urban expansion of Nîmes.
crocodile Nimes
A crocodile chained to a palm tree with the inscription COL NEM, for Colonia Nemausus, (the colony of Nemausus, the local Celtic god of the Volcae Arecomici) can be seen all over the city, from elegant representations on the balcony of the town hall to more prosaic examples on the cast iron manhole covers scattered along the old winding streets of the town centre. According to one plausible theory the origins of this emblem may go back more than 2,000 years to September 31 BCE when the fleet of Octavian, nephew of Julius Caesar and future emperor, defeated that of Mark Antony and Cleopatra in the naval battle at Actium. By the time of the Battle of Actium, Mark Antony was based in Egypt. He was personally and politically united with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra who was present at the Battle, and they both fled  back to Egypt after their defeat. Consequently the victory at Actium would have been viewed as the defeat of Egypt, not just the defeat of Mark Antony himself, a point Augustus stressed regularly not least in the erection and dedication of Egyptian obelisks in Rome. This victory, and Antony's subsequent suicide in Egypt in 30 BCE, left Octavian in undisputed control of Rome and all its territories. The crocodile was frequently used to represent Egypt and a chained crocodile surmounted by a laurel crown (as worn by the Roman Emperor) quite clearly symbolised the submission of Egypt to Roman control. But his official reign as Rome's first emperor is usually considered not to have begun until January 27 BCE when among many other honours offered to him by the Senate he accepted the title of 'Augustus', which he adopted as his personal name and by which he was known for the rest of his long life. Veterans of the Roman legions who had served Julius Caesar in his Nile campaigns, at the end of fifteen years of soldiering, were given plots of land to cultivate on the plain of Nîmes.
The Maison Carrée during the Nazi occupation and today. During its construction, the Maison Carrée was dedicated for Augustus to the glory of his two grandsons, the consuls and military leaders Lucius Caesar and Gaius Julius Caesar. Over the centuries, the temple notably became a consular house, a church and then a museum of ancient arts. Today it is the best preserved Roman temple in the world. The Maison Carrée is a Corinthian and pseudo- peripteral hexastyle building , which measures 13.54  metres in width by 26.42  metres in length. Its thirty columns, each nine metres high, enclose the interior structure which is comprised of a cella, preceded by a pronaos whose ceiling is modern. Originally, one had to enter the cella through a large door almost seven metres high. The temple was built on a high podium which gave it a dominant position on its environment. Access to the cella is via a single staircase of fifteen steps; the number of steps always odd which was reserved for priests. The function of the cella was to house the statue of the honoured god or gods. The ceremonies took place around an altar placed in front of the entrance. Its architecture was directly inspired by the Temple of Apollo in Rome, of which the Maison Carrée is a reduced model. As far as the decoration is concerned, it is essentially formed by the entablature and the capitals of the columns that support it. Its composition includes an architrave divided into three bands and adorned with a scrollwork frieze. On the right the wife and son inside, where no trace of the original decor has been preserved, although it has been reconstructed. They're beside the large 6.87 metres high by 3.27 metres wide door leading to the surprisingly small and windowless interior, where the shrine was originally housed which when we visited was used to house a tourist-oriented film on a the Roman history of Nîmes. Building a religious building presupposes an authorisation from the authorities, in this case from Augustus. Its execution, even if it is entrusted to regional teams, would have been strictly supervised as only models inspired by the official creations of Rome could be built. The Corinthian order decoration of the colonnade are faithful to the model of the temple of Mars Ultor in Rome. The frieze is composed of winding scrolls of acanthus, imitating the frieze of the Ara Pacis in Rome. Maison Carrée  Nazi occupationThe temple carried on its frontispiece , inscribed in bronze letters sealed in the stone a dedication which has since disappeared but, thanks to the arrangement of the still visible sealing holes, the great Nîmes scholar Jean-François Séguier managed in 1758 to recompose the original text: "To Caius Caesar consul and Lucius Caesar consul designated, son of Augustus, princes of youth." Gaius and Lucius were the sons of Agrippa and Julia, the disgraced daughter of Augustus. Agrippa was Augustus' closest adviser and assistant who was the patron of the city of Nemausus, serving as the official defender of the interests of the city and of the community of citizens before the Senate of Rome. When he died he passed on the patronage to his eldest son Gaius. On the death of Gaius and Lucius, the people of Nîmes, with the agreement of the authorities in Rome, decided to dedicate this temple to them. Thanks to the first line of this dedication, it is possible to date the completion of the Square House between the years 2 and 3, according to the date of the consulship of Gaius and Lucius. The second line, placed later, dates from years 4-5. 
Maison Carrée  restorationThe GIFs here of us show the temple before and after its impressive restoration which took no less than four years and more than 44,000 hours of work for the teams of the architect of historical monuments, Thierry Algrin, to complete. From 2006-2007, the south facade of the Maison Carrée benefited from a renovation which allowed it to regain a sometimes disputed whiteness. This long work continued in 2007-2008 with the west facade, in 2008-2009 with the east facade and finally, in 2009-2010 for the main facade, on which it was planned to restore the bronze letters of the original dedication. Due to its multiple uses over the past 2000 years, the decor of the interior of the Maison Carrée has not been preserved; only its exterior appearance is intact. Certainly the post-Roman history of the building is eventful; in fact, it's almost miraculous that it has come to this day in such good condition. From the 11th to the 16th centuries, the Maison Carrée was used as the consular house of Nîmes; a sort of town hall during the time in the Middle Ages when certain aldermen of the South of France were called consuls. The building was then known as the Capitole or Cap-duel when it then underwent numerous transformations to adapt it to the needs of its new occupants. Maison Carrée  restorationThe Nîmes historian Léon Ménard gives a description of these transformations imposed on the ancient Roman temple: “First the interior was divided into several rooms, and even into two floors; vaults were formed there, a chimney was built there, which was leaned against the east wall, and a spiral staircase against that of the west. In addition, to light these new apartments, several square windows were made there . The consuls subsequently added something to this order. They had the vestibule closed by a wall, which went from one column to the other, so other windows were opened and a cellar was made in the underground vault of the vestibule. The porch was also knocked down." It became a dwelling house, a stable and then a church of the Augustins. It was intended by the Duchess of Uzès to serve as a tomb for her husband, Antoine de Crussol. During the French Revolution it served as the meeting place of the Directory and then became the prefecture of the Gard department between 1800 and 1807. Restored, like the other monuments of Nîmes in the 19th century, the Maison Carrée bears engraved in Roman letters on the western flank a short text in Latin: "Repaired by the munificence of the king and the money offered by the citizens, 1822." 170 years later in 1992 the Maison Carrée received a new roof, a faithful reproduction of the antique original, made up of large flat tiles ( tegulae ) and hand-moulded canal tiles (imbrices).
Nazis Nimes theatre
Germans marching past the former theatre which was destroyed by fire in 1952. Only its remarkable ionic colonnade was preserved and relocated to the Caissargues rest area on the A54 between Nîmes and Arles.
nterior of the Temple of Diana in Nîmes
Interior of the Temple of Diana in Nîmes
a large oil painting intended to decorate a living room in the Château de Fontainebleau from the series Principal Monuments of France by painter Hubert Robert and how it appears today. The Temple of Diana is a Roman ruin located in Nîmes accessible by the Jardins de la Fontaine. Today the building is believed to have been the library of a complex of facilities dedicated to Augustus which included a small theatre. It's dated from the 1st century CE, but it might have been partly redesigned in the following century. Hubert Robert made several versions of it, including an initial one from 1771 probably taken from a sketch made from memory in Rome and which includes several imaginary details (bas-relief of the tympanum, coffers of the vault, inversion of the pediments of the niches, columns, statues, et cet.), some reinforcing the fantasy ruin aspect (missing lintels on the left as on all versions while they are still in place today or even in 1826 as Charles Léopold Émile Henry's view suggests). The paintings have been kept in the Louvre Museum since 1822 following the legacy of the painter's widow. 
nterior of the Temple of Diana in NîmesIts atmospheric ruins probably date from the Antonine period in the 2nd Century. It's not clear what the real purpose of this building was, but it was probably not a temple. It's been suggested that it might have been an Imperial cult centre or even a library.Juxtaposed against the Roman grandeur of the adjacent Maison Carrée and the modernist Carré d'Art, the Temple of Diana embodies a continuity of historical identities, from Roman Gaul to Vichy France and beyond. The site's wartime history is especially complex. During the period of Vichy governance and Nazi occupation, the Temple of Diana took on conflicting roles. During the era of Vichy France and Nazi occupation, the Temple of Diana, along with other significant historical sites, was co-opted for various propaganda efforts aimed at fostering a unified national identity. Such architectural monuments were used to support the ideological framework that the Vichy regime was constructing. This regime yearned for a return to a mythic, cohesive national past that they believed the temple symbolised. However, in doing so, they inadvertently created a space that invited subversion. On the one hand, it served as a place of solace and inspiration for members of the Resistance, who viewed it as a symbol of enduring French culture and civilisation. On the other hand, the Vichy regime, eager to tie its ideology to a grand French past, often used it for propagandistic purposes. The site thus became a contested space, symbolising the struggle for the soul of France itself. Jackson argues that the Vichy regime's selective veneration of French history, including sites like the Temple of Diana, was a deliberate attempt to cultivate nationalist sentiment, which ironically also fostered spaces that would harbour the Resistance. The regime’s ideological paradox is encapsulated by the temple; while attempting to control and define the narrative of French identity, it inadvertently provided a haven for forces that would eventually lead to its downfall. The Temple of Diana's wartime history further complicates France's collective memory, emphasizing the necessity to approach such sites with nuanced understanding, beyond simplistic narratives of collaboration or resistance. It serves as a poignant reminder that historical sites are not just passive settings where events unfold; they are dynamic spaces that participate in shaping the socio-political fabric of their times.
Arena of Nîmes Roman amphitheatreThe Arena of Nîmes is a Roman amphitheatre built around 70 CE. As the Roman Empire fell, the amphitheatre was fortified by the Visigoths and was surrounded by a wall. During the turbulent years that followed the collapse of Visigoth power in Hispania and Septimania, not to mention the Muslim invasion and subsequent conquest by the French kings in the mid eighth century, the viscounts of Nîmes constructed a fortified palace within the amphitheatre. In 737, after failing to seize Narbonne, Charles Martel destroyed a number of Septimanian cities on his way north, including Nîmes and its amphitheatre, as asserted in the Continuations of Fredegar. Later a small neighbourhood developed within its confines, complete with one hundred denizens and two chapels. Seven hundred people lived within the amphitheatre during the apex of its service as an enclosed community. The buildings remained in the amphitheatre until the eighteenth century, when the decision was made to convert the amphitheatre into its present form. 
Nazis Nimes la fontaine PradierLocal Frenchmen enthusiastically saluting the occupying Germans in front of la fontaine Pradier. In November 1940 the Nîmes Committee (Coordinating Committee for Camp Aid) was created, headed by American Dr. Donald Lowrie, representing the International YMCA. It aimed to support and save refugees throughout France, writing and distributing numerous reports regarding conditions in the camps. Members of the organisations united under the Committee established contacts, developed procedures, created networks of cooperation, and established orphanages and safe houses that served as a pre-existing infrastructure available for rescue efforts when the deportation crisis struck in August 1942, allowing them to deal directly both with Vichy officials and the French public at large. Of its remarkable work, Bob Moore emphasised the level of cooperation it was able to forge between different Christian groups as well as that between Jewish and non-Jewish agencies as a “crucial factor” in the rescue and survival of French Jews, with Lucien Lazare concurring, explaining how such "organisations active in the camps had become familiar with the administrative and police machinery and knew its weak points. Trust and by now longstanding cooperation between the activists of various humanitarian associations grouped with the Nîmes Committee facilitated the rapid formation of rescue networks.” 
On the other hand, just under an hundred individuals were known to belong to collaborationist organisations in and around Nîmes with approximately 270 members of the local Groupe Collaboration promoting closer ties with the Nazis. Postwar, De Gaulle’s Intelligence Service reported that, around Nîmes, the JEN- Jeunes de l’Europe Nouvelle- helped the Gestapo locate those who had dodged the labour draft. 
Nevertheless, France's active involvement in the Holocaust was seen here with the Nîmes and Avignon roundups of Jews on April 19, 1943 which would culminate in the mass murder of 22,000 French Jews. Already by 1942 42,000 Jews were deported from France and systematically murdered. It has since transpired that a list of every Jew resident in Nîmes during the occupation was discovered in the private papers of local historian Lucien Simon. Under the address section of twelve of the names, it was marked "Chantiers de la Jeunesse". Only one of the twelve men, Philippe Presberg, was ever located, and he agreed to be interviewed in February 2009. It is known that two of the men, Prosper Chich and André Lévy, were deported to Auschwitz after the SS began large scale arrests of Jews not only in Nîmes but Avignon, Carpentras and Aix. The arrested Jews were then taken from Marseilles to Drancy. In the final year of France's collaboration, 12,500 Jews were deported from France and murdered, making the total number of Jews deported and murdered in France to be 75,000 out of a population of 375,000 Jews in the country- a full quarter of the population. Not surprisingly, there is little information about Nîmes during this time, a conspiracy of silence that began to be confronted from the 1990s onwards when increasing demands for plaques related to the Holocaust became louder. One result of this can be seen at the main railway station dedicated to the memory of deported children located in the entrance hall on the western wall.
The statue of Pan in front of German soldiers in the Nymphaeum.

Birthplace of Bernard Lazare, French Jewish literary critic, political journalist, polemicist, and anarchist who was among the first Dreyfusards. Given his reputation for combativeness and courage, Lazare was contacted by Mathieu Dreyfus to help prove his brother's innocence. Lazare devoted his time exclusively to the case, publishing his first paper, The Dreyfus Affair – A Miscarriage of Justice in Belgium in November 1896. In it, Lazare refuted the accusation point by point and demanded the sentence be overturned. The first version of the text was a savage attack on the accusers, ending with the phrase "J’accuse", later made famous by Émile Zola.
Pont du GardPont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct crossing the Gardon River near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard. It's part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50-kilometre system built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Nemausus. It used to be dated to Augustus, but new excavations suggest the aqueduct was built 40–80, probably under Claudius. Because of the uneven terrain between the two points, the mostly underground aqueduct followed a long, winding route that required a bridge across the gorge of the Gardon River. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all elevated Roman aqueducts, and is unique in having three tiers of arches, standing 160 feet high. The whole aqueduct descends in height by only 56 feet over its entire length, whilst the bridge descends by a mere inch – a gradient of only 1 in 3,000 – which demonstrates the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve using only simple technology. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 44,000,000 imperial gallons of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It continued to be used possibly until the 6th century, some parts for significantly longer, but lack of maintenance after the 4th century meant that it became increasingly clogged by mineral deposits and debris that eventually choked off the flow of water.  After the collapse of the Roman Empire and the aqueduct's fall into disuse, the Pont du Gard remained largely intact due to the importance of its secondary function, as a toll bridge. For centuries the local lords and bishops were responsible for its upkeep, in exchange for the right to levy tolls on travellers using it to cross the river, although some of its stones were looted and serious damage was inflicted on it in the 17th century. 

Glanum mausoleum then nowAt the Mausoleum of the Julii, located across the Via Domitia, to the north of, and just outside the city entrance, dating to about 40 BCE, and is one of the best preserved mausoleums of the Roman era. It's considered a cenotaph erected in memory of a man of the Julii family who was granted citizenship and his name by Julius Caesar for his service in the Roman army, following the conquest of Gaul. Henri Rolland suggests that it was a mausoleum dedicated to the memory of Gaius and Lucius Caesar, grandsons of Augustus. With the Arch of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence a few metres away, it forms what is traditionally called the “Antiques of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence”.  A dedication is carved on the architrave of the building facing the old Roman road, which reads:    SEX · M · L · IVLIEI · C · F · PARENTIBVS · SVEIS  (Sextius, Marcus and Lucius Julius, sons of Gaius, to their forebears).  It is believed that the mausoleum was the tomb of the mother and father of the three Julii brothers, and that the father, for military or civil service, received Roman citizenship and the privilege of bearing the name of the Julii, one of the most distinguished families in Rome. The mausoleum is built in three stages in which the upper stage, or tholos, is a circular chapel with Corinthian columns containing two statues wearing togas, presumably the father and grandfather of the Julii. The heads of the statues were lost at an earlier date, and replaced in the 18th century. This upper part is linked to the celestial world, through the round symbolic shape of the tholos. It houses the statues of the deceased and probably of his son. They are called the togati, upright and dignified, wearing the toga, the emblem of their Roman citizenship, obtained thanks to the exploit illustrated on the bas-reliefs of the first level. The conical roof is decorated with carved fish scales, traditional for Roman mausoleums. The frieze beneath the conical roof is decorated with carvings of acanthus leaves, used in Roman mortuary architecture to represent eternal rebirth. The middle stage, or quadrifons, is an arch with four bays. The archivoltes, or curved bands of decoration on the tops of the arches, also have acanthus leaves. At the top of each arch is the carved head of a gorgon, the traditional protector of Roman tombs. The frieze at the top of the quadrifons is decorated with carvings of tritons, carrying the disk of the sun, and with sea monsters. The four pillars arranged in a square support arcades, and thus form a tetrapyle, an arch with four openings. The top of this structure is decorated with a frieze of sea creatures surrounding a central sun disk, on each east, south and west side, the north side being devoid of a sun disk. This intermediate part makes the transition with the terrestrial world which it leaves after the fury of the battles, and ends with its high frieze at the border of the world of the living, bordered by the ocean whcih is symbolised by sea creatures on its four points. Glanum mausoleum then nowThe lowest part of the mausoleum is decorated with carved garlands of vegetation, theatre masks and cupids or putti, and with mythical or legendary scenes. Because the lower part doesn't contain a burial chamber, the monument is therefore a cenotaph . The sides of the square base are engraved with historical and mythical scenes; here Drake Winston is standing at the south face and as the relief appears in a 19th century photograph from Jean-Eugene Durand. It depicts the legend of the Calydonian boar hunt, led by Meleager, with Castor and Pollux depicted as horsemen. One horseman is wounded and dying in the arms of a companion.
Glanum mausoleum then now

Standing on the west face, showing a battle with no clear mythological reference. A horseman is depicted in a bad position in a melee, protected by the central character's shield. On the left of the scene a group of characters with no apparent connection to the battle in civilian clothes; in fact, on the bottom-right a young boy is shown reading a document. This group is interpreted as the family of the deceased, receiving their certificate of Roman citizenship. In this interpretation, the battle would illustrate a brilliant action of the deceased, in the centre of the bas-relief, fighting in the Roman army and gaining Roman citizenship as a reward for this achievement. 
As for the southern face, it is clearly inspired by the Amazonomachy, the mythical war between the Greeks and the Amazons. Here a warrior is taking trophies from a dead opponent as an infantryman unhorses an Amazon warrior, and the figure of Fame recites the story of the battle to a man and woman. Finally, the eastern face is again easily identifiable as a battle scene from the Trojan War and the fight to recover the body of Patroclus.
Glanum arch then now
Glanum arch then now In front of the neighbouring arch with the mausoleum behind me. It dates from the early years of the reign of Augustus and is considered the oldest of the Roman arches in Narbonne Gaul. On the passage of the main route through the Alps, it marked the entry of Glanum. Its perfect proportions (12.5 metres long, 5.5 metres wide and 8.6 metres high) and the exceptional quality of its carved decoration denote a Greek influence. stood just outside the northern gate of the city, next to the mausoleum and was the visible symbol of Roman power and authority. It was built near the end of the reign of Augustus. The upper portion of the arch, including the inscription, are missing.  The sculptures decorating the arch illustrated both the civilisation of Rome and the dire fate of her enemies.  The panel to the right of the entrance shows a female figure seated on a pile of weapons, and a Gaullish prisoner with his hands tied behind him. The panel to the left shows another prisoner in a Gaullish cloak, with a smaller man, wearing his cloak in the Roman style, placing his hand on the shoulder of the prisoner. On the reverse side of the arch are sculptures of two more pairs of Gaullish prisoners. The upper parts have since been destroyed. 
Glanum arch restoration
Among the decorative pictorial elements of the arch that do remain, the two-figure reliefs on the sides of the passages stand out and have always been the subject of discussion and interpretation. Each captured barbarian with his arms tied behind his back is accompanied by another figure. A tropaion, a symbol of victory originally erected on the battlefield, occupies the centre of the image on all four reliefs, all of which are integrated into the spaces between the columns in such a way that the feet of the figures stand on projecting cornices about a quarter of the way up the columns. These gradually taper downwards and give the impression of crowning altar-like statue pedestals which served to support the tropaia. The relief on the left of the north-west facade shows, next to the man in chains, a smaller person wearing a fringed sagum, who is laying his left hand on the right shoulder of the larger barbarian, who is shown in front. On the relief on the right, next to the barbarian depicted in a three-quarter view from behind, there is a female figure seated on a pile of weapons. On the other hand, the two reliefs on the south-eastern facade depict standing, captive barbarians turning away from the tropaion. If they were all interpreted equally as captive barbarians, they would be seen as Gauls, Germans or personifications of the Roman provinces of the empire.
If one distinguishes between the male and female figures, the female ones could be understood as Roma, Gallia or Britannia. For the most part, submission was seen as the central theme of the pictorial programme, which is most evident in the gesture of the laying on of hands on the north-west side. Pierre Gros suggested, however, that this gesture should not be seen as the removal of the defeated opponent, but as a sign of reconciliation, an invitation to share in the advantages of the Roman Empire, pronounced by an already Romanised Gaul. If so, the female figure sitting on the pile of weapons is therefore not the defeated Gallia, Gallia devicta, but rather the victorious Rome as a symbol of the pax Romana. However, it was countered that the female figure wears a fringed coat, which is untypical for Roma. Meanwhile the Victories on the north-western side which one saw when entering the city, carry a laurel wreath and palm branch, whilst the Victories on the city side hold Roman standards in their hands. Thus peace and wealth are promised by walking towards the city, whilst war and underdevelopment follow when leaving the city.
 Looking towards the archaeological site, seen from the south. In 49 BCE Caesar captured Marseilles, and after a period of destructive civil wars, the Romanisation of Provence and Glanum began. In 27 BCE when Augustus created the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis, Glanum was given the title of Oppidum Latinum, giving the residents the same civil and political status as Roman citizens. A triumphal arch was built outside the town between 10 and 25 BCE, near the end of the reign of Augustus, (the first such arch to be built in Gaul), as well as an impressive mausoleum of the Julii family, both still standing. In the 1st century BCE, under the Romans, the city built a new forum, temples, and a curved stone arch dam, Glanum Dam, which is the oldest known dam of its kind, as well as an aqueduct which supplied water for the towns fountains and public baths. Glanum was not as prosperous as the Roman colonies of Arles, Avignon and Cavaillon, but by the 2nd century CE it was wealthy enough to build impressive shrines to the Emperors, to enlarge the forum, and to have extensive baths and other public buildings clad in marble.
Nearby are two houses, one on the right with Hellenic peristyles, the other on the road which used to be decorated with a mosaic representing a capricorn. They flanked a small market square with the sanctuary of the goddess Bona Dea. The peristyle (courtyard) and columns with Corinthian capitals survive from the northern house of the antae pillars, from the southern house of Attis from the 2nd century BC. an atrium with a shallow impluvium (water basin) surrounded by columns, of which only the bases survive. The house with antae with its rooms laid out around a courtyard with a pool. It is named after two pilasters decorated with Corinthian capitals, called antae. The house of the antae was designed in the style of Greek houses around the Mediterranean, two stories high with three wings and a peristyle of twelve Tuscan columns, seven of which were reassembled, built around a small basin fed by the rainwater from the roof, which channeled the water into a cistern, then, thanks to an overflow, into the sewer that ran under the street slabs. Behind us is the staircase which was to serve the floor reserved for the bedrooms. Opposite this staircase was a vestibule that overlooks the street. The living rooms revolved around the courtyard: culina (kitchen), triclinium (dining room), office of the master of the house, etc. and benefit from daylight. In the room framed by the two antes, was to be the laraire: the altar of the gods "Lares". If, of the decoration visible in situ, only a few coloured coatings remain within the room currently closed by a barrier, it is necessary to imagine that all the walls were painted in very bright colours, and that the floors were entirely covered with mosaics.
 On the south, next to the pelastre, was a large swimming pool. Water was fed into the pool through the mouth of a stone theatrical mask I'm sitting beside which was responsible for filling the natatio. The original is now in the nearby museum in St. Remy but a reproduction sits in its original position. In Roman antiquity, natatio refers to a larger swimming pool, usually located outdoors. A natatio is usually found in the construction context of larger thermal baths (especially the so-called Imperial Baths), but also in villas. The wife is shown on the right in front of the baths, with a section of the hypocaust shown in the background. The thermal baths were built following a simple layout, from 75 BCE. They were a focus for social life in antiquity, and a major Romanising factor. The remains of the thermal baths are on the east side of the street. The baths were enlarged towards the end of the 1st century and decorated with marble under Lucius Verus. The older, northern part consisted of three rooms- the caldarium (hot bath room), the laconium (dry sweating room) with a hypocaust that has been reconstructed today seen here behind the wife, and the frigidarium (cold bath room), in the foundations of which a water pipe can still be seen.  

Behind are the remains of one of two twin temples, albeit one larger than the other, shown as they might have appeared and today. They were built at around 20-10 BCE during the reign of Augustus in honour of the subsequently deified emperor and his family. It is the discovery of the marble portraits of Octavia and Livia (respectively sister and wife of Augustus) that allowed archaeologists to confirm this. In 1995, a corner of the smaller of the two temples, consisting of three columns and some elements of the entablature and the facade, in the style of the first years of the reign of Augustus, were reconstructed to give an idea of ​​the proportions of the building. In fact, only the base is from the period whilst the podium, the columns, the entablature and the pediment have been restored identically to the fragments that were discovered during the excavations. These temples respect the Corinthian order, like many others in the neighbouring towns of Arles and Nîmes.
 Walking down the city’s main street which covers the town drains for much of its length. Glanum did not survive the collapse of the Roman Empire. The city's period of prosperity came to an end when it was sacked during the barbarian invasions that shook Gaul during the second half of the 3rd century . The town was overrun and destroyed by the Alamanni in 260 CE and subsequently abandoned, its inhabitants moving a short distance north into the plain to found a city that eventually became modern day Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. After its abandonment Glanum became a source of stone and other building materials for Saint-Remy. Since the Roman system of drains and sewers was not maintained, the ruins became flooded and covered with mud and sediment under the alluvium flowing from the neighbouring Alpilles. It was rediscovered by archaeologists in the 20th century with excavations beginning in 1921 under the direction of Jules Formigé and Pierre de Brun, followed later by Henri Rollandfrom 1941 to 1969. Since then, archaeologists are no longer on site permanently, but return from time to time for new research. The last excavations were preparatory to the restitution of the forum inaugurated in 2008. 
Montmajour Abbey
At the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Montmajour, a Benedictine abbey founded in 948 about three miles northeast of Arles. From the end of the 10th century, it became one of the richest abbeys in Provence and the monastery developed, between the 11th century and the beginning of the  18th century  with the construction of a series of religious and military buildings. It was eventually abandoned at the end of the 18th century and then severely degraded after the Revolution. Whilst the abbey's mediæval and Romanesque architectural features make it a monument of historical interest, its experience during the war and under Vichy and Nazi occupation offers a unique lens through which to examine the conflict's impact on religious institutions, cultural heritage sites, and local communities.
One of the most compelling aspects of Montmajour's experience during the war was its transformation from a sacred religious site into a symbol of nationalist ideology. As Jackson argues, the Vichy regime was keen to imbue national history and monuments with a reactionary interpretation of French identity. Montmajour Abbey, already significant for its historical and religious heritage, became a poster child for the kind of "true" French culture that the Vichy regime aimed to protect and promote. During the early years of the occupation, state-sponsored visits were organised, and the abbey featured prominently in Vichy propaganda. The site became a touchstone for the regime's moral and ideological narrative, particularly its focus on tradition, authority, and Catholic values. Yet, even as it was co-opted for state propaganda, Montmajour remained a sanctuary of sorts. As Vinen elucidates, monastic sites across France served as refuges for those escaping various forms of persecution, whether Jews, Communists, or members of the Resistance. The abbey's relatively isolated location made it a less likely target for raids, and its clerical guardians, part of a religious institution historically committed to providing sanctuary, were often sympathetic to those in need. Even though the Church's role in Vichy France was often morally complex, as Paxton contends, places like Montmajour provide instances where religious ethics could counterbalance ideological complicity.
Check out the incredible restoration
The darker facets of Montmajour's significance during this period cannot be overlooked. Whilst the abbey did serve as a sanctuary, it also became a space where the Vichy regime's toxic ideologies were perpetuated. Mazower notes that France's collaborationist stance towards Nazi Germany extended beyond mere political expediency, reflecting a genuine affinity for authoritarian, anti-Semitic, and anti-Communist policies among significant sections of the French populace. Montmajour's exploitation as a propaganda tool thus betrays a degree of societal complicity in the perpetuation of fascist ideologies. It becomes an uncomfortable reminder that many in France were either passive or actively supportive of Vichy's authoritarian leanings. Even if some members of the religious community resisted, their institution was utilised to legitimise a regime whose policies led to the deportation and death of thousands of Jews and other minorities.
Another crucial dimension of Montmajour's experience during the war and under occupation was its role as a repository of art and cultural heritage. As Zerner asserts, the Nazi occupation brought about significant art looting across France, often with the tacit or active participation of Vichy officials. Given Montmajour’s standing as a historical monument, the site faced the danger of plunder and appropriation of its invaluable artefacts. While some relics and artworks were pre-emptively moved for safekeeping, as Petropoulos notes, others remained in situ, vulnerable to Nazi appropriation strategies aimed at seizing “degenerate” or “enemy” art to either destroy it or display it for ideological purposes. The abbey's cultural assets weren't merely vulnerable to physical seizure. As Fritzsche highlights, Nazi propaganda often aimed at rewriting the cultural and historical narratives of occupied territories. Montmajour could have easily been co-opted into a revised, German-centric narrative of European history, much as other French cultural sites were. It is therefore significant to note that despite these threats, Montmajour's integrity as a historical and cultural monument was largely preserved, albeit at the cost of its temporary transformation into a symbol of Vichy ideology. The relatively successful preservation effort is also indicative of the priorities and perhaps limited resources of the occupying forces, which were more focused on political and military objectives than cultural looting in this particular context. However, this doesn't absolve the Vichy regime's role in facilitating art theft elsewhere, as detailed by Nicholas. The regime's willingness to collaborate with Nazi Germany in appropriating art from French Jews and other minority communities reveals yet another dark facet of its ideologies, which were, in essence, manifestations of fascism in French soil.
Undoubtedly, the most somber aspect of Montmajour's wartime experience was its role in the machinations of the Holocaust. As established by Hilberg, the French police, acting under Vichy orders, were instrumental in the arrest and deportation of Jews to extermination camps. Whilst Montmajour itself was not a concentration camp, its close proximity to transit routes and its function as a propaganda hub indicate that it was inextricably linked to the mechanisms that facilitated the Holocaust. To argue otherwise would be a disservice to historical accuracy and memory. Indeed, Montmajour's relatively untouched physical state during and after the war offers a stark contrast to the obliterated lives and communities that were a direct result of the ideologies it briefly helped to sustain. Browning notes that Vichy's anti-Semitic policies, which included statutes on Jewish status and property confiscation, were not merely forced upon them by Nazi occupiers but were, in many instances, self-initiated. In this regard, Montmajour becomes a symbol of France's moral failures during this period; a monument to a time when parts of the French populace, administration, and even its cultural institutions were complicit in crimes against humanity. The abbey, thus, serves as a cautionary example that challenges the narrative of universal French resistance against fascist ideologies. Examining it through this lens allows one to unpack the complexities of French society during the war, particularly the tension between resistance and collaboration that was often influenced by a multitude of social, economic, and political factors.
The Vichy regime's actions have been a subject of much debate among scholars like Paxton, who argue that the collaboration was more ideologically driven than often admitted. Montmajour, by virtue of its historical significance and wartime function, adds an architectural dimension to this discourse. The fact that it survived the war relatively unscathed can be construed as a physical embodiment of the survival of fascist sympathies within certain sections of French society, even after the fall of the Vichy regime and the end of the occupation. This latent underbelly of extremist ideology reveals itself in subtle and overt ways and should not be ignored when assessing the broader sociopolitical landscape of France during and after the war.
Montmajour Abbey, a symbol of mediæval grandeur, became a lens through which the multifaceted experiences of France under Vichy and Nazi occupation can be critically evaluated. While its function as a propaganda hub might seem relatively benign compared to the more grievous acts perpetrated during the war, its utility in furthering fascist ideologies positions it as an accomplice to a much larger, darker narrative. The abbey, like France itself, thus embodies a complex interplay between resistance and collaboration. Examining its wartime history allows for a nuanced understanding of French society, particularly in relation to the extent of collaboration and the ideological underpinnings that facilitated it. The survival of Montmajour and its art is not merely a story of resilience but also a testament to the complex and often disturbing priorities of both the occupiers and the Vichy regime. Thus, while Montmajour stands today as a remarkable architectural feat, its walls also speak to a time when it was complicit in furthering ideologies that led to some of the most heinous crimes of the 20th century.

At a Neolithic grave site nearby, the Hypogée du Castelet (also referred to as the Grotte-dolmen Arnaud). It's a gallery tomb southwest of Fontvieille, near Arles. Set in an oval man-made mound on the north side next to the Arles-Fontvieille road, it's cut into the rock and seasonally filled with marshy water. The Hypogée du Castelet is about 20.0 metres in length with a partially covered anteroom 25 metres long and two metres deep with steeply inward-sloping walls at the top making it about 2-3 metres wide. The ceiling, in which there is a round opening that was added later, consists of large panels. It dates from about 2500 BCE and is typical of the Arles area. However, artificial rock chambers are also found in other parts of southern France and on the Marne, as well as on Sardinia, Sicily, Malta and the Balearic Islands.
During the war, its secluded and fortified nature made it an ideal location for the storage of arms and the organisation of Resistance activities. The French Resistance is often hailed for its bravery and ingenuity, exemplified in the creative uses of ancient structures for modern warfare. However, historians such as Furet argue that the glorification of the Resistance often overshadows the complexities of collaboration and accommodation that characterised much of France's wartime experience. The Hypogée du Castelet, in this regard, serves as an interesting counterpoint to Furet’s argument. Its utilisation by the Resistance is well-documented, suggesting that not all historical or sacred sites were manipulated for propaganda or fascist activities. While it is true that the Resistance made use of the Hypogée du Castelet, the site also witnessed darker chapters of French history during the Vichy regime and Nazi occupation. Documents indicate that Vichy authorities were aware of ancient sites being used for Resistance activities, leading to the surveillance and at times desecration of such places.
Arch of Carpentras then now
At the Arch of Carpentras, another Roman triumphal arch from the beginning of the first century, in homage either to the emperor Tiberius or in memory of his father, the founder of the colony dating from 30 BCE which carried two names: “Colonia Julia Meminorum” and “Forum Neronis”. During the construction of his Arch, the city was one of the 22 most important Gallic cities. It marked the entrance to the forum, an official public square where all the important buildings of the city were gathered such as the curia, basilica, etc.. The architecture of the Arch is similar to the Arch of Augustus (or Arch of Susa). Rarely, the reliefs are on the side faces of the Arch, a trait shared with that seen in Orange. A single opening, supported on fluted pilasters, and two side faces carved with trophies accosted by captives. For both facades the trophies , consisting of weapons and clothing, are suspended on a tree with two branches on either side stand two captives. As can be seen in my GIF comparing the relief with how it appeared in an engraving from 1800, the eroded stone which is of soft limestone extracted from local quarries, affects visability. On the west side shown here,  On the west face shown here, the reliefs present a trophy decoration. A tree trunk is surrounded by two chained captives. The one on the right is beardless and equipped with a Phrygian cap and a belt that holds a long-sleeved tunic surmounted by a long coat (an Iranian costume as represented by the Romans). At his feet lies a two-edged axe. The other captive is dressed in an animal skin that covers his body. It may be a Greek or Hellenised king or tyrant. At his feet is a sica in the shape of a bird's head. These reliefs thus symbolise the defeat of Orientals and Nordics. 
 After the Roman era, the arch became part of the side porch of the later cathedral of Carpentras, included in the outbuildings of the former bishopric and enclosed within the kitchens of the palace of Cardinal Bichi in 1645.

Aix en Provence
Aix en Provence war then now
An American signal corps cameraman preparing to film troops. Founded in 122 BCE under the name of Aquae Sextiae by the Roman garrison of Gaius Sextius Calvinus, Aix subsequently became the capital of the county of Provence. Calvinus subsequently set up here, near the thermal springs, a camp which quickly became a city, named Aquae Sextiae ("Waters of Sextius"), in order to ensure the safety of commercial transport between Rome and the Phocaean city of Massalia. Already before then Livy had already referred to “duobus deinde proeliis circa Aquas Sextias eosdem hostes delevit.” 
The town was home to France's only wartime internment camp, Camp des Milles, when, at the start of the war in 1939, this building was used to house Germans and Austrians who were living in the area such as Nobel Prize Laureate Otto Fritz Meyerhof and surrealist Max Ernst. It began September 9, 1939 when the first fifty "enemies of the state" arrived. The internees, shown arriving on  the left and the site today, lived there in very precarious conditions, as evidenced by the German writer Lion Feuchtwanger, amongst others, who was interned there twice. The Minister of the Interior, Albert Sarraut , had no regard for the genuine anti-fascists that most of them were, having fled to France already before 1936 from the anti-Semitic and anti-intellectual policies of the Nazis. Considered paradoxically as "enemy subjects", the internees were victims of a mixture of xenophobia, absurdity and ambient administrative disorder.  After the French capitulation the camp was used to hold Jews and enemies of the Axis. From July, the camp was quickly overcrowded with 3,500 internees by June 1940. During this period, foreigners from the camps in the South-West were transferred to Les Milles, in particular former members of the International Brigades in Spain, as well as Jews expelled from the Palatinate, Württemberg and Baden-Baden. Between August and September 1942, the French deported the remaining Jewish people in the camp to Auschwitz. Around five trains left from the railway track that ran beside the building. Over two thousand people including one hundred children were deported in this convoy, the youngest being just a year old. Of this event the Camp Chaplain, Pastor Henri Manen, recollected
 What was particularly painful to see was the sight of the little children. Because strict orders were given at the last hour such that above two years, all had to leave with their parents... Very small children, stumbling from fatigue in the night and in the cold, crying from hunger... poor little ones five- or six-year-old men valiantly trying to carry a bundle around their waists, then falling asleep and rolling on the ground, they and their bundles – all shivering in the night dew; young fathers and mothers crying silently and for a long time in the realisation of their helplessness in front of the suffering of their children; then the order to leave was given to leave the yard and go to the train.
All this happened even before the German invasion of the southern zone on November 11, 1942. On December 4, 1942, the camp was requisitioned by the Wehrmacht and the 170 internees who were still there were transferred to the La Ciotat camp. Camp des Milles was definitively closed on March 15, 1943 and transformed into an ammunition depot.