National Geographic : 1951 Jul
2 Compagnie Acrienne Frangaise Twenty Thousand Frenchmen Pack the Ancient Amphitheater in Nimes to See a Bullfight This Roman arena, about 20th in size among 70 surviving, is one of the best preserved. In places the mortarless masonry is 105 feet thick. Thirty-four tiers of seats rise in four sections originally set aside for nobles, knights, plebeians, and slaves. Visigoths made the ring a fortress, adding towers and moats. Squatters of a much later era turned it into a tenement. Twenty feet of rubbish covered the ring when restorations began in 1813. Here the author saw a spectacular performance of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in French. picturesque place in the world . . . every fea ture in it sharply defined . . . well balanced and carefully composed, the whole effect arti ficial, theatrical, impossible." Setting out next morning on foot to explore Le Puy, we were startled to see four men run ning directly toward us, shouting and waving sticks. Simultaneously a lady, seated at a cafe table on the sidewalk, screamed and leaped backward, spilling her coffee and upset ting her chair. A grunting pig darted from under the tables, barely missed Mary, and with a neat maneuver reversed his field. After a lively chase, the men caught up with the errant porker and maneuvered it squealing into a truck by its tail and one ear (page 7). When Old Friends Meet Crossing a wide modern boulevard lined with sidewalk cafes, we dodged two nuns on bicycles with robes billowing out behind them. Flags and banners fluttered in the old part of town in honor of the local holy week. In a narrow street of shops we paused to buy cherries from a buoyant, gesticulating shopkeeper clattering about in wooden clogs. One place assailed our nostrils; it sold nothing but cheese. A little comedy was enacted when two old men suddenly came face to face. Apparently they had not met for years. They embraced fondly, kissed each other on both cheeks, pulled each other's ears, spanked each other, then shook hands for half a minute, oblivious of bystanders who paused to smile. A crowd was gathering before an altar set up at the far side of the sloping Place du Mar touret. Our guide, small, blond Madame Marguerite Crespy, led us up a wide flight of stairs in the Hotel de Ville, or City Hall. Here she produced a huge key that admitted us into the impressive council chamber. Against the wall we saw a copy of the orig inal flag of the United States. It had been given to Le Puy on June 14, 1918, by the Washington Campground Association of Bound Brook, New Jersey. The presentation was in memory of Lafayette, whose birthplace, the Chateau of Chavaniac, is less than 20 miles away.