Vanessa Zhâ & Olivier Poels 07:24, 08 October 2023

Gastronomy, leisure... Every weekend at 6:50 a.m., Olivier Poels and Vanessa Zha present a product, a producer and all the good plans to re(discover) a region.

This morning we're heading south for a weekend in Rome... but not in Italy in Nîmes

Rightly nicknamed the little French Rome... doubly so since Sa Maison Carrée has just been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And it has seduced and inspired many in 2000 years: including Louis XIV: he is on his way to his wedding in St Jean de Luz, he stops in Nîmes, and he is so captivated by the Maison Carré that he orders it to be dismantled and rebuilt in Versailles. Luckily for Nîmes, the architects found it in too bad a place to be able to dismantle and reassemble it.

Originally, what was this Maison Carrée for?

It was a temple dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar, the adopted grandsons of Augustus. The 1st Roman temple dedicated to the imperial cult. And then it will cross the centuries serving as a church, a prefecture, even stables, but all the while remaining in an exceptional state of preservation. A miracle: this was one of the arguments of his candidacy.

Other Roman remains to discover in Nimes

Of course, the amphitheatre, "the arena" as they are called, which come back to life during the traditional Roman Days in May. These arenas are now reflected in the glass façade of the Musée de la Romanité, just opposite. And there you make a leap of 2000 years in unique antique collections. Inescapable.

And to complete the Roman loop, all you have to do is go to the Pont du Gard ... I guess

That's it! Bridge that is part of the Ancient Route Unesco - the only site in France that has been selected for this route. It belongs to the Roman Genius, it was built with 3 rows of arches superimposed one on top of the other... ... all this to supply water to the Roman city Nemausus- Nîmes – A modern city with baths, fountains, running water in rich houses, salubrious streets.... .... Imagine 40,000m3 of water per day flowing from a spring near Uzès to Nîmes, over 50km and for 5 centuries!!


The Royal Hotel in a former 19th century convent on the Place d'Assas. From 90 euros per night.






The main variants? Some contain egg, different ways of cooking eggplant (fried, steamed), breaded in some cases. Most of the time, tomato sauce is added, but it is not mandatory. Cheeses: pecorino, mozzarella, scarmozza?

The Recipe

Serves 4

  • 4 aubergines
  • 50 cl tomato coulis
  • 1 ball of mozzarella from the Buffala
  • 50 gr grated Parmesan cheese
  • Basil
  • Flour
  • Olive oil

Cut the aubergines into slices or strips of about 1 cm / salt the slices and let them drain for 15 minutes / pat the aubergines dry and flour them very lightly / fry them in olive oil for 1'30 (45sec on each side) / cut the mozzarella into thin slices / in a casserole dish, alternate layers of aubergines and mozzarella by pouring a little tomato coulis and slipping in chopped basil / sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 30' to 200°