Nîmes, located in the south of France, is a city rich in history and culture. With its well-preserved Roman monuments, museums, and lively city center, Nîmes is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world.
In this article, we will explore the 14 best things to do in Nimes, from visiting historical sites and monuments to enjoying local cuisine and experiencing the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Whether you are interested in history, or art, or just want to soak up the Provencal sun, Nîmes has something for everyone.
1. Arena of Nimes
The Arena of Nîmes, also known as the Nîmes Amphitheatre, is a Roman amphitheatre located in the city of Nîmes in southern France. It was built in the first century AD, likely between 70 and 90 AD, during the reign of Emperor Domitian.
The arena was built on a natural slope and could seat up to 24,000 spectators. It was primarily used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles, such as animal hunts and mock sea battles, as well as public executions.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the arena was used for a variety of purposes, including as a fortress during the Middle Ages and as a market during the 19th century. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the arena was also the site of bullfights, which continue to this day.
Today, the Arena of Nîmes is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also still used for public events, including concerts and other performances. Over the centuries, the arena has undergone several renovations and restorations, including in the 19th century when it was restored to its original Roman appearance.
There are many reasons to visit the Arena of Nîmes, including its historical significance, impressive architecture, and the wide range of cultural events that take place there. Here are some of the best things to do as a visitor:
- Explore the Arena: Visitors can walk through the arena and explore the various levels and sections, imagining what it was like to attend a gladiatorial contest or another spectacle. There are also exhibits and displays that provide more information about the history and architecture of the arena.
- Attend a Cultural Event: The Arena of Nîmes hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, operas, and theater performances. This is a unique opportunity to experience the impressive acoustics and atmosphere of the arena while enjoying world-class entertainment.
- Visit the Museum of Romanity: The nearby Museum of Romanity is an excellent place to learn more about the history and culture of ancient Rome. The museum features a variety of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that provide insight into daily life in the Roman Empire.
- Take a Walking Tour: Nîmes is a beautiful city with a rich history, and a walking tour is an excellent way to explore its many sights and attractions. Many walking tours include a visit to the Arena of Nîmes, as well as other historical sites like the Maison Carrée and the Temple of Diana.
- Attend a Bullfight: While controversial, bullfighting is still an important cultural tradition in Nîmes and the surrounding region. The arena hosts bullfights during the summer months, and attending one of these events can provide insight into this ancient and complex practice.
Overall, a visit to the Arena of Nîmes is a unique and memorable experience that offers something for everyone, from history buffs to culture seekers to those simply looking to enjoy a beautiful and fascinating destination.
2. Fountain Gardens at Nimes
“Fountain Gardens at Nimes” is a famous painting by the French artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The painting was completed in 1884 and depicts a group of women relaxing and enjoying the sun in the gardens of the city of Nimes in the south of France.
The history of the painting can be traced back to the time when Renoir was living and working in the region. During the 1870s and 1880s, he spent a great deal of time in the south of France, where he was inspired by the vibrant colors, lush landscapes, and idyllic lifestyle of the people living there.
It was during this time that Renoir began to experiment with a new style of painting that would eventually become known as Impressionism. This style emphasized the use of bold, bright colors and loose, brushstrokes to create a sense of movement and energy in the painting.
“Fountain Gardens at Nimes” is an excellent example of Renoir’s Impressionist style. The painting features a group of women, dressed in flowing summer dresses and hats, sitting in the shade of a large tree. The scene is filled with light and color, as the sun filters through the leaves and illuminates the women’s faces and clothing.
The centerpiece of the painting is a large fountain, which is surrounded by blooming flowers and greenery. Renoir uses bold, vibrant colors to create a sense of movement in the water, and the spray of the fountain creates a lively atmosphere in the painting.
Today, “Fountain Gardens at Nimes” is considered one of Renoir’s most famous works and is held in high esteem by art lovers and collectors around the world. The painting is housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it is admired by thousands of visitors each year.
Visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see “Fountain Gardens at Nimes”, there are several reasons why would be worth the trip:
The painting itself is a masterpiece of Impressionist art and is considered one of Renoir’s most famous works. It is a prime example of the style’s use of bold, bright colors and loose, expressive brushstrokes.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest and most renowned art museums in the United States. It has an extensive collection of artwork from around the world, including works by many famous artists like Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso.
The museum is housed in a beautiful building that is an iconic part of the Philadelphia skyline. It is an impressive sight to see from the outside and is just as impressive on the inside.
Visiting an art museum can be a fun and educational experience for people of all ages. You can learn about different artists, styles, and historical periods, as well as gain a greater appreciation for the role that art plays in our society and culture.
Overall, if you are a fan of art or just looking for a fun and educational activity to do in Philadelphia, a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see “Fountain Gardens at Nimes” is definitely worth it.
3. La Maison Carrée
The Maison Carrée is a Roman temple in Nimes, France, and is considered one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world. The temple was built in the 1st century AD and is dedicated to Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar, the grandsons of Emperor Augustus. The name “Maison Carrée” means “square house” in French, and refers to the building’s rectangular shape.
The temple was built during the reign of Emperor Augustus and was part of a larger urban development plan in Nimes. The city was an important center of Roman power in the region, and the temple was a symbol of Roman authority and civilization. The temple was designed by two Roman architects, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Lucius Cocceius Auctus, who were known for their innovative designs.
The Maison Carrée was originally used for religious ceremonies, but it has also served as a town hall, a museum, and a church over the centuries. In the Middle Ages, the temple was converted into a Christian church, and in the 19th century, it became a museum. Today, the Maison Carrée is a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can explore the temple’s interior and learn about its rich history.
Despite being almost 2,000 years old, the Maison Carrée is in remarkably good condition. The temple has undergone several restorations over the centuries, but the basic structure remains unchanged. The temple’s impressive facade is adorned with beautiful reliefs, and the interior features stunning marble columns and intricate carvings. The Maison Carrée is a testament to the skill and ingenuity of the Roman architects who designed it, and it is an important reminder of the power and influence of the Roman Empire.
As a visitor to Nimes, there are several things you can do to fully experience the history and culture of the city. Here are some of the best things to do:
- Visit the Maison Carrée: The Maison Carrée is the most famous attraction in Nimes and is a must-visit for anyone interested in ancient Roman history. You can explore the temple’s interior and admire its stunning architecture.
- Explore the Roman Amphitheatre: The Roman Amphitheatre is another impressive ancient Roman structure in Nimes. You can take a guided tour or explore the amphitheatre on your own and imagine what it was like to watch gladiatorial battles and other spectacles.
- Discover the Jardins de la Fontaine: The Jardins de la Fontaine is a beautiful park in Nimes that features a Roman temple, a large fountain, and several walking paths. You can enjoy a picnic, take a leisurely stroll, or simply relax and enjoy the serene atmosphere.
- Visit the Musée de la Romanité: The Musée de la Romanité is a museum that focuses on the history and culture of ancient Rome in Nimes. The museum features a wide range of artifacts, including pottery, sculptures, and jewelry, and provides a fascinating insight into the lives of the Romans.
- Taste the local cuisine: Nimes is known for its delicious cuisine, including dishes like brandade, gardiane de taureau, and fougasse. You can visit local restaurants and cafes to try these and other traditional dishes and experience the local flavors.
- Attend a bullfight: Bullfighting is a popular tradition in Nimes, and you can attend a bullfight at the Roman Amphitheatre or the Arènes de Nimes. Whether you agree with the practice or not, it’s a fascinating experience to witness the spectacle and the passion that surrounds it.
4. Temple of Diana
The Temple of Diana in Nîmes, France, is an ancient Roman ruin that dates back to the 1st century AD. The temple is located in the center of Nîmes, in the Gard department of southern France.
The Temple of Diana was originally built as a Roman library, which was part of a larger complex that included a forum, a basilica, and a market. It was later converted into a temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Diana, the goddess of the hunt, the moon, and childbirth. The temple was likely constructed during the reign of The Emperor Augustus, and it is thought to have been built by the wealthy nobleman, Caius Cestius.
The temple was constructed using local limestone, and it is believed to have originally had six columns on the front and back, and eleven columns on the sides. The temple was rectangular in shape, with an internal space of around 20 meters long and 10 meters wide.
During the Middle Ages, the temple was used as a Christian church, and it was dedicated to Saint Baudile, the first bishop of Nîmes. In the 16th century, the temple was partially destroyed during the French Wars of Religion, and it was used as a quarry for building materials.
In the 18th century, the temple was rediscovered by archaeologists, and it was restored in the 19th century. Today, the Temple of Diana is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Nîmes, and it is open to the public for visits. Visitors can see the remaining columns, as well as the ruins of the original library, which are still visible inside the temple. The temple is also the site of regular cultural events, including concerts and exhibitions.
There are several reasons why you should visit the Temple of Diana in Nîmes, France:
- Historical significance: The Temple of Diana is an ancient Roman ruin that dates back to the 1st century AD, making it an important historical site. As a visitor, you can learn about the history of the temple and the Roman civilization that built it.
- Architecture: The temple is an impressive architectural structure, with its remaining columns and ruins showcasing the skills and craftsmanship of the ancient Romans.
- Cultural events: The Temple of Diana is not just a historical site, but also a cultural one. It regularly hosts concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural events, which can make for an enjoyable and unique experience for visitors.
- Location: The temple is located in the heart of Nîmes, a beautiful and historic city in the south of France. Nîmes is known for its Roman architecture and history, as well as its charming streets and cultural events.
Overall experience: Visiting the Temple of Diana can be a memorable and enriching experience, whether you are interested in history, architecture, or culture. It can also be a great way to spend a day exploring Nîmes and its surroundings.
5. Tour Magne
Tour Magne is an ancient Roman tower located in the city of Nîmes, France. The tower was constructed in the 1st century BC during the reign of Augustus and served as part of the defensive system of the city.
The tower stands at a height of 32 meters and was originally built as a watchtower to protect the city against invaders. It was also used as a signal tower to communicate with other parts of the Roman empire.
During the medieval period, the tower was used as a fortress and was an important part of the city’s defense system. It was later used as a prison and a powder magazine during the 19th century.
In the 20th century, the tower was restored and opened to the public as a tourist attraction. Today, it offers visitors panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
Tour Magne is an important part of the city’s cultural heritage and is a popular destination for visitors to Nîmes. It serves as a reminder of the city’s rich history and the enduring legacy of the Roman empire.
There are several reasons why one should visit Tour Magne when in Nîmes:
- Historical Significance: Tour Magne is an ancient Roman tower that was built in the 1st century BC. It is one of the oldest structures in Nîmes and a testament to the city’s rich history.
- Panoramic Views: The tower stands at a height of 32 meters, and visitors can climb to the top to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
- Cultural Experience: Visiting Tour Magne is an excellent way to learn about the Roman history of Nîmes and the cultural heritage of the city. It is an opportunity to appreciate the ingenuity of Roman architecture and engineering.
- Accessibility: Tour Magne is conveniently located in the city center and easily accessible. It is a perfect stop for those who are short on time or prefer to explore the city on foot.
- Unique Experience: Climbing to the top of the tower and admiring the views from its summit is a unique experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere. It is an opportunity to make unforgettable memories while enjoying the beauty of Nîmes.
Tour Magne, an ancient Roman tower built in the 1st century BC, is one of the oldest structures in Nîmes, France, and offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. It provides a cultural experience that allows visitors to learn about the Roman history and cultural heritage of Nîmes.
Tour Magne is easily accessible and a perfect stop for those short on time, and offers a unique experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Climbing to the top of the tower is an opportunity to make unforgettable memories while enjoying the beauty of Nîmes.
6. Carré d’Art
Carré d’Art is a contemporary art museum located in the city of Nîmes, in the south of France. The building was designed by British architect Norman Foster and completed in 1993, making it one of the most recent additions to the city’s architectural landscape.
The museum was built on the site of the old Roman forum, which was discovered during the construction process. As a result, the museum was designed to be integrated with the ancient ruins, with a large glass atrium connecting the museum to the archaeological site below.
The museum was commissioned by the local government in Nîmes in the late 1980s as part of an effort to revitalize the city’s cultural offerings. The city had a rich history of art and architecture, including the well-preserved Roman amphitheater and other ancient monuments, but lacked a contemporary art museum.
The museum was named Carré d’Art in reference to its location on the old forum, which was a central square in the Roman city. The square was the site of many public gatherings and cultural events, much like the modern museum is today.
Since its opening in 1993, Carré d’Art has become a major cultural institution in the region, attracting visitors from all over the world. The museum’s collection includes works by some of the most important contemporary artists of the past few decades, including Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Anish Kapoor, among others.
In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions, performances, and other cultural events throughout the year. It has become a hub for contemporary art and culture in the south of France and a must-visit destination for anyone interested in modern art and architecture.
There are several reasons why you should consider visiting Carré d’Art if you are interested in contemporary art and architecture:
- The Building: Carré d’Art is a stunning piece of contemporary architecture, designed by the renowned British architect Norman Foster. It is located in the heart of Nîmes, and its sleek lines and modern aesthetic make it a striking contrast to the city’s ancient Roman monuments. The museum was designed to complement and integrate with the ancient ruins on which it was built, and the resulting building is both beautiful and thought-provoking.
- The Collection: Carré d’Art has a rich and diverse collection of contemporary art from some of the most important artists of the past few decades, including Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Anish Kapoor, among others. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, and installations that explore a wide range of themes and styles. The museum’s curators have done an excellent job of creating an engaging and thought-provoking collection that is sure to captivate visitors.
- The Exhibitions: In addition to its permanent collection, Carré d’Art also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions often showcase the work of emerging artists or explore specific themes or subjects related to contemporary art. Visiting one of these exhibitions is a great way to stay up to date with the latest trends and ideas in the world of contemporary art.
- The Location: Nîmes is a beautiful and historic city in the south of France, known for its well-preserved Roman monuments, beautiful architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Visiting Carré d’Art is a great way to experience the city’s modern side while also exploring its rich history and culture.
Overall, a visit to Carré d’Art is a must for anyone interested in contemporary art and architecture. The museum’s beautiful building, engaging collection, and location in one of France’s most historic and culturally rich cities make it an excellent destination for art lovers and culture seekers alike.
7. Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct located near the city of Nîmes in southern France. The construction of the bridge dates back to the 1st century AD during the reign of the Emperor Augustus. The structure was designed to transport water over a distance of approximately 50 km from the Eure spring in the city of Uzès to Nîmes.
The aqueduct was built on three levels using stone blocks and a sophisticated system of arches and vaults. The lower level had 6 arches, the middle level had 11, and the upper level had 35. The structure was approximately 275 meters long, 49 meters high, and had a capacity of about 40,000 cubic meters of water per day.
The Pont du Gard played a crucial role in providing water to the city of Nîmes, which had a population of around 50,000 people at the time. The aqueduct continued to function until the 6th century AD, after which it was abandoned due to the collapse of the Roman Empire.
In the following centuries, the bridge was used for various purposes such as a toll bridge, a military fortification, and a transport route for goods. The structure underwent several renovations and repairs over the centuries, including the addition of a road on the top level during the Middle Ages.
In the 18th century, the Pont du Gard was recognized for its historical and architectural value and was designated as a national monument. In the 19th century, the bridge was restored and its original purpose as an aqueduct was rediscovered. Today, the Pont du Gard is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also used as a venue for cultural events and exhibitions.
A tourist at Pont du Gard Nîmes (France)
- Explore the Bridge: Visitors can walk across the bridge, take in the incredible views of the surrounding landscape and learn about its impressive construction.
- Visit the Museum: The Pont du Gard Museum is located near the site and is dedicated to the history and construction of the aqueduct. It features multimedia exhibits and interactive displays.
- Take a Tour: Guided tours are available that provide visitors with more in-depth information about the bridge and its history.
- Attend a Show: During the summer months, the site hosts a variety of cultural events, including concerts, theater performances and light shows.
- Hike the Trails: There are several hiking trails that wind through the surrounding countryside, offering stunning views of the bridge and the river below.
- Swim in the River: Visitors can swim in the river that flows beneath the bridge, which is a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing.
- Canoeing and Kayaking: The river also provides an opportunity for visitors to rent canoes and kayaks and explore the area from a different perspective.
- Picnic: There are several picnic areas located throughout the site, offering a peaceful and scenic spot for visitors to enjoy a meal or a snack.
The Pont du Gard in Nîmes, France, is an impressive Roman aqueduct built during the 1st century AD. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the bridge, visit the museum, take a tour, attend a show, hike the trails, swim in the river, go canoeing or kayaking, have a picnic, visit the nearby Roman city of Nîmes, and participate in wine tastings. The site offers an opportunity to learn about the history and architecture of the Roman Empire, as well as enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
8. Castellum Divisorium
Castellum Divisorium is an ancient water distribution center located in Nîmes, France. The structure was built during the Roman era, in the 1st century AD. It was used to distribute water from the nearby spring, located 50 kilometers away from Nîmes, to the city’s various public fountains, baths, and private houses.
The water was brought to the city via a system of aqueducts, the most famous of which is the Pont du Gard, an impressive three-tiered bridge that spans the Gardon River. The aqueduct system was designed to bring water from the spring to the city with the help of gravity, and it took more than 30 years to build.
Castellum Divisorium was the final stop of the aqueduct system, where the water was divided into two main channels. One channel was used to feed the public fountains and baths, while the other was used to supply private homes. The water was distributed through a network of underground pipes made of lead and clay.
The structure was built with local limestone and measures 12 meters in diameter and 5 meters in height. It was surrounded by a circular courtyard, where the water was stored before being distributed. The courtyard was surrounded by a wall and had several openings where the water flowed out.
Castellum Divisorium was in use until the 9th century, after which it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. It was rediscovered in the 18th century and underwent restoration work. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Pont du Gard.
Some of the best things to do at Castellum Divisorium in Nîmes include:
- Admire the ancient structure: Take in the beautiful and historic Castellum Divisorium structure, which was built more than 2,000 years ago during the Roman era. The intricate stonework and design make for a fascinating sight to behold.
- Learn about the aqueduct system: Castellum Divisorium was a crucial part of Nîmes’ aqueduct system that brought water from the nearby spring to the city. Take a guided tour to learn about the fascinating engineering feat of the aqueduct and how it worked.
- Explore the courtyard: The circular courtyard around the Castellum Divisorium is a beautiful space to explore, with water flowing from the various openings in the wall. It’s a peaceful and relaxing space to take a stroll and admire the surrounding architecture.
- Visit the Pont du Gard: Castellum Divisorium is just a short drive from the famous Pont du Gard, an impressive three-tiered bridge that spans the Gardon River. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit and is an incredible example of Roman engineering.
- Take a guided tour: To get the most out of your visit, consider taking a guided tour of Castellum Divisorium. The knowledgeable guides will provide detailed information and history about the structure and its importance in Nîmes’ history.
Castellum Divisorium is an ancient water distribution center in Nîmes, France, built during the Roman era more than 2,000 years ago. It was a crucial part of the city’s aqueduct system, distributing water to public fountains, baths, and private homes.
Visitors can admire the intricate stonework and design of the structure, explore the circular courtyard, and take a guided tour to learn about the fascinating engineering feat of the aqueduct system. Castellum Divisorium is also conveniently located near the Pont du Gard, another impressive example of Roman engineering, which is a must-visit for tourists. Taking a guided tour is recommended to fully understand the significance of this ancient structure.
9. Les Halles de Nîmes
Les Halles de Nîmes is a market hall located in the historic center of Nîmes, France. The market hall has a long and interesting history that dates back to the 19th century.
In the early 1800s, Nîmes was rapidly growing and becoming an important commercial center in southern France. In order to accommodate the growing demand for fresh produce and other goods, the city council decided to build a covered market hall in the heart of the city.
Construction began in 1850 and was completed in 1862. The market hall was designed by architects Gaston and Louis Bourdon, who also designed several other important buildings in Nîmes.
The market hall was built in a neoclassical style, with a central dome and four wings that housed different types of merchants. The market was open every day of the week, and vendors sold a wide range of products, including meat, fish, vegetables, cheese, and wine.
Over the years, Les Halles de Nîmes became an important gathering place for locals and visitors alike. It was a hub of activity and commerce, with vendors hawking their wares and shoppers bargaining for the best deals.
In the 20th century, the market underwent several renovations and updates. In the 1960s, a new wing was added to the market, and in the 1990s, the market underwent a major restoration to modernize its facilities.
Today, Les Halles de Nîmes remains a popular destination for locals and tourists who come to shop for fresh produce, artisanal foods, and other goods. The market is open every day except Monday, and it continues to be an important part of the city’s cultural and culinary heritage.
Les Halles de Nîmes is a lively and bustling market that offers visitors a wide range of activities to enjoy. Here are some of the best things to do in Les Halles:
- Shop for Fresh Produce: Les Halles is the perfect place to find fresh, seasonal produce. From juicy fruits to crisp vegetables, you can find a variety of locally sourced produce that is both healthy and delicious.
- Sample Local Delicacies: Les Halles is known for its selection of artisanal foods, such as cheeses, charcuterie, and breads. You can sample these delicious delicacies and even pick up some souvenirs to take home with you.
- Enjoy a Meal: Several restaurants and food stalls are located within Les Halles, where you can enjoy a traditional French meal or a quick bite to eat. Many of the vendors use fresh ingredients sourced from the market itself, ensuring that your meal is of the highest quality.
- Take a Cooking Class: Several cooking schools and workshops offer classes within Les Halles, where you can learn how to cook traditional French dishes using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
- Attend a Food Event: Throughout the year, Les Halles hosts several food-related events, such as wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and food festivals. These events are a great way to experience the local cuisine and culture.
- Enjoy Live Music: Les Halles often hosts live music events, where you can listen to local musicians perform while enjoying a meal or browsing the market stalls.
- Admire the Architecture: Les Halles is housed in a stunning neoclassical building with a central dome and four wings. Take a moment to appreciate the intricate architecture and design of the market hall.
10. Nîmes Cathedral
Nîmes Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Castor, is located in the city of Nîmes in the south of France. It is one of the oldest and most historically significant churches in the region, with a rich history dating back to Roman times.
The original church on the site was built in the 5th century by bishop Castor of Apt, who was a prominent figure in early Christianity. This early church was likely a small, modest structure that served the needs of the local community.
However, over the centuries, the church underwent many changes and renovations. In the 11th century, it was rebuilt in the Romanesque style, with a new nave, transepts, and apse. Later, in the 14th and 15th centuries, it was expanded and remodeled in the Gothic style, with the addition of chapels, towers, and a new façade.
Throughout the Middle Ages, Nîmes Cathedral was an important religious and cultural center in the region. It was the seat of the Bishop of Nîmes, and hosted many important religious and political events. It was also a popular pilgrimage site, with many visitors coming to venerate the relics of Saint Castor and other holy figures.
During the French Revolution, Nîmes Cathedral was heavily damaged and looted by revolutionary forces. Many of its valuable treasures and decorations were destroyed or sold off, and the church itself was used as a stable and military barracks.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the cathedral was restored and renovated several times. Today, it is a popular tourist destination and a vibrant center of religious and cultural life in Nîmes. Its beautiful architecture, rich history, and stunning artwork continue to attract visitors from all over the world.
As a tourist visiting Nîmes Cathedral, there are several things to see and do:
- Explore the cathedral’s architecture: Nîmes Cathedral boasts a unique blend of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, with elements dating back to the 11th century. Take some time to admire the intricate details of the façade, the soaring nave, and the ornate chapels.
- Admire the stained glass windows: The cathedral’s stunning stained glass windows are a highlight of any visit. Some of the windows date back to the 14th and 15th centuries, while others were added during the cathedral’s restoration in the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Visit the crypt: Beneath the cathedral’s apse lies a crypt that contains the relics of Saint Castor, as well as other important religious figures. The crypt is open to visitors and offers a glimpse into the cathedral’s long history.
- Attend a concert or service: Nîmes Cathedral is still an active place of worship, and visitors are welcome to attend mass or other religious services. The cathedral also hosts regular concerts and cultural events throughout the year.
- Explore the city: Nîmes is a beautiful and historic city with many other attractions to see. Take a stroll through the Jardins de la Fontaine, visit the Roman amphitheater, or explore the many shops and restaurants in the old town.
11. Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle
Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle is a public square located in the heart of Nîmes, a city in the southern region of France. The square is named after Charles de Gaulle, the iconic French military leader, and statesman who played a pivotal role in shaping France’s political and military history.
The history of the Esplanade dates back to the 18th century when it was used as a parade ground by the Royal Dragoons, a prestigious cavalry regiment of the French army. In the 19th century, the square was used as a market and a venue for public events and exhibitions.
During World War II, the Esplanade played a significant role in the resistance movement against the German occupation of France. It was the site of several key resistance meetings and rallies, and the square was often used to spread anti-Nazi propaganda.
In 1959, the Esplanade was officially named after Charles de Gaulle, in honor of his contribution to the liberation of France and his leadership during the war. The square underwent extensive renovations in the 1960s and 1970s, with the addition of a modernist fountain and several sculptures.
Today, the Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle is a bustling public space that serves as a hub for cultural events and activities. It is home to several important buildings, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Prefecture of the Gard department, and the Carré d’Art, a contemporary art museum.
The Esplanade is also a popular gathering place for locals and tourists, with its wide open spaces, stunning views of the city, and numerous cafes and restaurants. It is a testament to the enduring legacy of Charles de Gaulle and the enduring significance of his leadership and contributions to French history.
12. Augustus Gate
The Augustus Gate, also known as the Porte d’Auguste, is an ancient Roman triumphal arch located in the city of Nimes, France. It was built in the early 1st century AD to celebrate the conquest of Gaul by the Roman general and emperor Augustus.
The arch was originally part of the city’s defensive walls and marked the entrance to the city from the east. It was constructed in honor of Augustus’ victory over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, which established Augustus as the first Roman emperor and secured his control over the Roman Empire.
The Augustus Gate was built using locally quarried limestone and is decorated with various reliefs and sculptures, including depictions of the gods Apollo and Diana, as well as several allegorical figures representing the provinces of Gaul. The arch is also adorned with inscriptions commemorating Augustus’ military achievements and listing the various public works he financed throughout the Empire.
Over the centuries, the Augustus Gate fell into disrepair and was even used as a prison during the Middle Ages. It was not until the 18th century that the arch was restored to its former glory, thanks to a major renovation project ordered by King Louis XIV of France.
Today, the Augustus Gate is one of the most well-preserved examples of Roman architecture in France and is a popular tourist attraction in Nimes. It is also one of the many ancient Roman sites in the region, which includes the nearby Arena of Nimes and the Maison Carrée, a well-preserved Roman temple.
Porte d’Auguste, or the Augustus Gate, is a fascinating ancient Roman monument in the city of Nimes, France. Here are some of the best things to do and see at the Porte d’Auguste:
- Admire the Architecture: The Porte d’Auguste is a beautiful example of ancient Roman architecture, with intricate carvings and decorative elements. Take some time to admire the arch’s impressive size and design.
- Take Photos: The Porte d’Auguste is a great spot for taking photos, both up close and from a distance. The arch looks particularly impressive against the blue skies of southern France.
- Learn about Roman History: The Porte d’Auguste is a tangible piece of Roman history, and there are many opportunities to learn about the significance of the arch and the role it played in ancient Roman society. There are often informational signs posted in the area that provide interesting historical context.
- Visit Nearby Sites: The Porte d’Auguste is located in the heart of Nimes, and there are many other fascinating Roman sites to explore nearby, including the Arena of Nimes and the Maison Carrée.
- Explore the Surrounding Area: The Porte d’Auguste is situated in a charming part of Nimes, with many cafes, shops, and restaurants nearby. Take some time to wander around the surrounding streets and soak up the local atmosphere.
- Attend Festivals and Events: Nimes is known for its lively festivals and events, including the Feria de Nimes, a huge bullfighting festival that takes place every year. If you’re visiting during a festival, be sure to check out the events happening near the Porte d’Auguste.
13. Golf Nimes-Campagne
The Golf Club of Nîmes Campagne is a prestigious golf club located in the heart of the French region of Languedoc-Roussillon. It is known for its exceptional courses and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The club has a rich history, dating back to the 19th century, when golf first began to gain popularity in France.
The Golf Club of Nîmes Campagne was founded in 1899, making it one of the oldest golf clubs in France. The original course was designed by Scottish golf architect Tom Dunn, who also designed courses at St. Andrews and other famous golf destinations. The course was later expanded and redesigned by the renowned French golf architect Michel Gayon in 1976.
Over the years, the Golf Club of Nîmes Campagne has played host to many prestigious events, including the French Open and the Mediterranean Open. It has also been a popular destination for golfers from around the world, who come to enjoy the club’s challenging courses and beautiful surroundings.
Today, the Golf Club of Nîmes Campagne continues to be a popular destination for golfers of all levels. The club offers a range of membership options, as well as golf lessons and clinics for beginners. It also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including tournaments, charity events, and social gatherings.
Overall, the Golf Club of Nîmes Campagne is a testament to the enduring popularity of golf in France, and a reminder of the sport’s rich history in this beautiful part of the world.
Some activities that people often enjoy at the Golf Club of Nîmes Campagne:
- Play a round of golf: The club boasts two 18-hole courses and a 9-hole course, providing plenty of options for golfers of all levels.
- Take golf lessons: The club offers lessons and clinics for beginners or anyone looking to improve their game.
- Enjoy the views: The courses at the Golf Club of Nîmes Campagne are set amidst beautiful countryside, providing stunning views for those who prefer to relax and take in the scenery.
- Attend an event: The club hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including tournaments, charity events, and social gatherings.
- Dine at the club’s restaurant: The club has a restaurant that serves delicious French cuisine and overlooks the golf courses.
- Visit the pro shop: The pro shop at the club offers a wide range of golf equipment and apparel.
- Take a walk: The grounds of the club are picturesque and offer a peaceful setting for a leisurely stroll.
14. Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes
The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes is a museum of fine arts located in the southern French city of Nîmes. It was established in 1821 and has since become one of the most important cultural institutions in the region.
The museum’s origins can be traced back to the late 18th century, when a group of local artists and collectors began to organize exhibitions of their work in the city. These exhibitions were initially held in private homes and public spaces, but in 1821 they were formalized with the opening of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes.
The museum’s initial collection was small, consisting primarily of works by local artists and a few pieces acquired from the Louvre in Paris. However, over the years the collection grew significantly, thanks in large part to donations from local collectors and artists.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the museum underwent a period of expansion and renovation. A new wing was added to the building in 1887, and in 1910 a major renovation was carried out that modernized the galleries and added new exhibition spaces.
Today, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes is home to a diverse collection of art from the 16th century to the present day. The collection includes works by French and international artists, as well as a significant collection of ancient art from Greece and Rome.
The museum is also home to a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, which showcase contemporary art, photography, and other forms of visual culture.
Overall, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes is an important cultural institution in the region, and a must-visit for anyone interested in art and history.
- I don’t have personal preferences or experiences. However, here are some things you can do in Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes:
- Admire the art collection: The museum has an extensive collection of art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. Take your time to explore the different galleries and appreciate the beauty and history of the artworks.
- Visit the Roman gallery: The museum has a section dedicated to ancient art from Greece and Rome, including impressive mosaics and statues. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the region.
- Attend a temporary exhibition: The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions, showcasing contemporary art, photography, and other forms of visual culture. Check the museum’s website to see what’s on during your visit.
- Take a guided tour: The museum offers guided tours in English and French, providing a deeper insight into the collections and exhibitions. The tours last about an hour and are led by knowledgeable and passionate guides.
- Participate in a workshop: The museum organizes various workshops for adults and children, including drawing classes, sculpture workshops, and creative writing sessions. These activities are an excellent way to engage with the museum’s collections and get creative.
- Explore the gardens: The museum is located in a beautiful 18th-century building with lovely gardens. Take a stroll around the grounds and admire the fountains, statues, and lush greenery.
- Grab a bite at the museum café: After your visit, stop by the museum café for a cup of coffee or a light meal. The café is located in the courtyard and offers a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
14 Best Things to Do in Nîmes (France)
- Arena of Nimes
- Fountain Gardens at Nimes
- La Maison Carrée
- Temple of Diana
- Tour Magne
- Carré d’Art
- Pont du Gard
- Castellum Divisorium
- Les Halles de Nîmes
- Nîmes Cathedral
- Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle
- Augustus Gate
- Golf Nimes-Campagne
- Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes