Two Roman amphitheatres and a Roman aqueduct in a ride out from Marseille on my bike. Ideal motorbiking weather: a cool and hazy dawn which developed to warm sunshine. Tyres, bike and rider all run better in the warmth, 24°C by the end of the afternoon with just a light wind.
The Pont du Gard, now "protected" by expensive parking (20€!!!) and a visitor centre, remains impressive both for its own construction but also as a key component in a water supply system for the city of Nîmes, more than 20 km distant by road, an amazing project that continued to supply Nîmes with fresh water long after the Romans had been vanquished.
The arenas at Nîmes and Arles, now joined by a good clear road that is superb to run on a sportsbike, were separated in Roman times by the formidable river, now called the Rhône. Otherwise it would not have been necessary to build and keep supplied with entertainments two amphitheatres so close in geography.
So coffee and croissant for breakfast at my most local boulangerie in Marseille, a pain au chocolat and coffee at a biker-friendly boulangerie near Orgon, a couple of bikes parked outside belonging to the baker and his assistant. Picnic lunch on a bank of the river Gardon, which is bridged by the Roman aqueduct. And an afternoon coffee in the garden in Arles of a biker mate.
Riding back on the fast route across the Carmargue, I was struck by the sight of sleek young black taureau in the fields one side, fattening up for the ring and the table; on the other, the dark silhouettes of two blast-furnaces, grimly reminiscent of recent news pictures from Wales. Days out in the spring sunshine are fantastic but reality isn't really so far away.
All three sites are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage sites.