By GERRY BARKER
Photos/Video by Gerry Barker
Day Six on our AmaWaterways' "Colors of Provence" river cruise finds us docked in Vienne, located between the wine regions of Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône. Once again, the Romans and their buildings take centerstage. In fact, our tour is titled, "Footsteps of the Ancient Romans."
But before we walk, we must ride, so we start by boarding a tram that will take up winding, narrow streets to Mount Pipet, a high point that offers sweeping views of the city and river, and a bird's eye view of the well-preserved Roman amphitheater below us. The site of a one-time fortress during the Middle Ages, it now houses a statue and a chapel dedicated to Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette.
Off in the distance you can see the ruins of La Bâtie Castle, built in the 13th century by Archbishop Jean de Bernin. Listed as a historic monument in 1926, it s the last remnant of the town's medieval fortifications.
Bet-you-didn't-know: "At the Council of Vienne, which was convened there in October 1311, Pope Clement V abolished the order of the Knights Templar."
For the walking portion of the tour, we explore the Roman amphitheater we just saw from the top, and which now hosts events such as a world-famous jazz festival, and see the Augustus and Livia Temple, built in honor of Caesar Augustus, son of Julius Caesar, and his wife, Livia. We also view the Saint- Maurice Cathedral, a Gothic church that took more than 500 years to build -- that's over 250 years more than America has been a country.
Speaking of America, take note of the plaque at the temple honoring the visit of Thomas Jefferson in 1787.
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