Monday, August 19, 2013

[Vieux Nice] Colline du château: a free guided tour

(Photo Susan Hudson)

Jusqu'à la fin du mois de juillet, des visites guidées sont proposées sur le site des fouilles de la colline du Château. (lire détail dans notre article du 15 juillet) Susan Hudson notre blogueuse britannique a suivi Rym, la guide. Voici le récit de sa visite, en anglais.
If you are interested in history and archaeology then this 45 minute tour of the ruins within the Colline du Chateau with guide Rym is for you.
Rym sets the scene by explaining that there were two towns - Nikaia and a nearby rival Cemenelum (whose ruins are in nearby Cimiez).
The Colline was the site of a regrouped 10-12th century town which was double fortified and as the inhabitants increased in number they spilled down into the area that we know as Vieux Nice today. It contained a cathedral and a fortified citadel which were eventually destroyed by Louis XIV.

(Photo Susan Hudson)

Archaeological student volunteers, not only from Nice but all over France, are now excavating the sites. Firstly we looked at the Cathedral area where the floors and remaining walls are being revealed. Some columns and doorways were pointed out, then we were taken inside the site to have a closer look.
Two volunteers were painstakingly sifting through soil material and so far pieces of ceramics and pottery, coins and bones have been discovered. All the tools used for the excavation were neatly laid out, these have to be carried away at the end of each day.
Parts of broken columns were laid to one side, their inscriptions to be deciphered at a later time.
Then we walked up to the Citadel where, on one side of the wall, the dent left by a cannon ball could easily be spotted.
A stunning panoramic view
At the very top a smaller excavation site could be seen, then a stunning 360 degree panoramic view of Vieux Nice, the Baie des Anges, Mont Boron and the surrounding mountains.
This must be the site of the Governor's residence Rym told us.
This free guided visit in French is at 2pm Monday to Friday until the end of July, starting in front of the ruins of the Cathedral.
Use the complementary lift if you do not want to walk up.

                                                                                                                                         Susan Hudson




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