Yesterday was Armistice Day, so everything in town was closed and I didn’t have to work. I did see the ceremony in the morning (photos later), but it was pouring rain the rest of the day. Due to this, we played Trivial Pursuit (in French, I don’t know if I was much help, even if my team won. It was the Genius Edition, to add to that challenge.), Uno, Jungle Speed, and Monopoly. I will call them language exercises to make it sound like I am not on one long extended vacation here. Because that is definitely what it feels like, with a few spots of work that gets in the way. I’m already looking for ways to stay in France, although we’ll see if that works out.
Last week I visited Orange in Provence. Fun fact, Orange is apparently the warmest city in France based on average temperatures. It is best known for its Roman ruins, the most celebrated being the Théâtre antique d’Orange.
The Théâtre antique d’Orange is one of the best preserved Roman theatres, despite it having been used as a prison and even being filled with houses as it got enveloped by the town. These have since been destroyed. I always find it interesting how history is valued. Would the theatre be torn down if dinosaur bones were discovered beneath it? Maybe that’s a bad example, but in France it seems like no building can be built where one has not already stood, and how do you rank Roman above Middle Ages? I guess the oldest usually wins. Then again, no one would tear down Fontainbleau if Roman ruins were found under it. I guess the Louvre found the best solution with the castle remains that you can see in the basement.
An audioguide came with the tour. Although most of the time it gave interesting information when I typed in the designated numbers, other times it just played dramatic music. However, I did get to learn fun facts about how Louis XIV wanted to move the above wall to Versailles, how the statue of the Roman leader shown in this picture had a removable head, and that the increasingly pornographic nature of the later plays is what got the theatre shut down in the end. I always find it interesting when people think that the world is getting more profane when I think the Romans already outdid everyone.
Connected to the theatre, although less well preserved, are the remains of Le Temple and L’Hémicycle. It used to have a grand entrance to the theatre, but little of it remains. Across the street, there was also a museum that had some better preserved remains of statues and artificats from the theatre and temple. I didn’t get to stay long, though, because the woman working there closed it for her two hour lunch break.
For a time, Orange was once a minor principality of the Netherlands. Apparently, Lous XIV reclaimed it. I walked throughout the town and saw a few other monuments, like the old Roman forum wall and the remains of the Prince d’Orange’s castle. I then took the train back to Valence.
Snowboarding season is coming up and I am excited!