Today was another public holiday, unfortunately same old for me as I don't work Wednesdays anyway. The buses were flying little French flags though, which I thought was cute. For fairly obvious reasons, they're pretty obsessed with the world wars here. Every town, big or small, has its war memorial. My school alone has two war memorials (!) which were draped with flags yesterday - apparently there was a remembrance ceremony in the morning, but I didn't make it along. Coincidentally, I had to say the word 'Vichy' in a dictation to a class yesterday. So I mispronounce one French word (which like pretty much every place name in French, turns out not to conform with the norms of French pronunciation (well, at least in my probably inaccurate book) - rhymes with fishy, who knew?) and that's license for the class to crack up like it's the most hilarious thing ever. But it's okay for zem to talk laike zeees...
So anyway, after my laundry was done I ventured out into what was another gorgeous, warm day. Ahhh, I really am lucky to live on the Cote d'Azur :) Whenever I see the weather on TV there's pretty much three bands - rain in the north, cloud in the middle, and sunshine down here! I mean, Nice has its off days too, but overall it's pretty sweet. I headed down to the park and finally managed to find the archaeological museum hiding in a corner that I never knew existed. It was free (yay) and practically deserted, which are always plus points. It wasn't the most exciting place I've ever been, but it was pretty interesting to see the exhibits and photos of archaeological digs and reconstructions of buildings etc. etc. and know that they were actually from right here where I live. From the looks of it, the Roman settlement up here (called Cemenelum, presumably the origin of the suburb's name - Cimiez) was a pretty happening place, with an amphitheatre, pretty extensive baths, graveyards (yeah, those count as 'happening') and later a Christian basilica. Photos and so forth here.
The best bit is that you can walk through the museum and out into the ruins (those that aren't currently being restored) and just walk all around the site. I hadn't actually realised you could do this - from the park, you can only vaguely see them from behind a fence and trees, so it was a nice surprise, and very peaceful and pleasant on a lovely day like today. I definitely think my Dad would enjoy a walk around here, so that's another thing on the itinerary :)
Oh and there was a sarcophagus inscribed something along the lines of 'to my beloved husband Marcus, the best of men, with whom I lived for 20 years, 8 months and 9 days' which I thought was very touching. Also another one that was to 'our daughter, who died prematurely at the age of 19'. It's funny how difficult it is sometimes to realise that people in those days could marry for love and do things like count the days of their relationship, or that despite the high mortality rates, they could still consider dying at 19 as 'premature'. I suppose that's the real value of museums like this - they offer a small window into the past which somehow manages to make it so much more concrete and immediate than it would be if you read it in a book (or on my blog I suppose...) Semi-appropriate for Armistice Day then - remembering all the dead of Cimiez today.