Ancient ships that have survived until today are few and far between. Maybe the best known is the Gokstad Viking ship in Oslo, dating back to the ninth century. But far older is the Roman barge at the Museum of Ancient Arles, in Provence. This 2,000-year-old vessel is the highlight of a museum that is a must-see for any lover of Roman history.
With a mint-condition bust of Julius Caesar (check those wrinkles!), beautiful mosaics, jewelry and much more, you’ll want to visit this museum on your next trip to Provence.
Read all about it at France Today!
For lovers of Roman history, the city of Nîmes in southern France is a must-see. It was once a major metropolis in Roman Gaul and today boasts a plethora of important sites: there’s the beautiful Maison Carré temple that Thomas Jefferson used it as a model for the Virginia state capital building, a large and well-preserved amphitheater, a massive Roman guard tower, and more.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Nîmes and now here’s another: the Museum of Romanity that opened in 2018. This museum exhibits thousands of fascinating artifacts and covers over 2,500 years of life in the city. And it’s great for kids as well as adults.
Val and I visited it a few weeks ago and had a great time. You can read my report on this terrific museum in France Today.
What’s 2,000 years old, 100 feet long and used to float?
If you guessed a Roman barge, you win! And you can see one now in the Arles Museum of Antiquity.
Arles was once an important Roman town, a trading center with a major port. Barges with cargo from all over the Empire plied the waters of the Rhone River.
Around 2,000 years ago one of those barges sank. It lay there quietly, covered by mud, until scientists discovered it about ten years ago.
Read the rest of the amazing story of how this barge was recovered and restored in Perfectly Provence.