In 2013 we travelled through Southern France and were particularly keen to gain an understanding of the history of the region.
We visited the wonderfully preserved medieval city of Carcassonne.
We also wanted to see some of the main sites of the Roman occupation. High on our list was Nimes.
The Pont du Gard near Remoulins is particularly impressive.
To complete the Roman themed part of the trip we planned to visit Arles to the south of Nimes in the Camargue with its famous Roman amphitheatre.
When we checked our accommodation booking the night before we were due to travel there we discovered that I had not in fact booked a hotel in Arles but one on Ales, a lesser known town half an hour to the north of Nimes.
We figured that maybe we’d already gotten the gist of the Romans over the last few days so we might as well see what Ales had to offer. It was also in the direction we were then planning to head.
Hmmm? Well, I guess Ales doesn’t get the visitors of Arles because the Romans, and apparently just about everyone else since then, had avoided it.
The local cathedral was undergoing restoration so maybe by now it will have been completed and worth a visit.
As we wandered the streets, presumably with an out-of-town touristy look about us, we received a consistent look from locals which was as if to say, “Why are you here? This isn’t a tourist town”. [Note: it was not necessary to be able to speak French to understand this look]
Despite the obvious lack of attractions people were friendly. There is a small restaurant precinct where we had a pleasant meal at the le Coq Hardi restaurant. The food was good and staff pleasant and efficient.
Even though there was no Roman amphitheatre or medieval castle in Ales we enjoyed our short, slightly bemused stay in Ales.