The 2nd largest Roman arena in the world, after Rome. They have many bullfights and entertainment today because the area is very fond of bulls and horses ... It is centrally located in Nimes, which has many sights worth seeing and visiting, such as Le Maison Carrer, the Cathedral ....
Throughout our trip through Provence we have seen unique landscapes, charming cities, wonderful sights - our exquisite descriptions could continue, but Nîmes has given me something special. The strange thing is that there is nothing particularly special about it, but simply a joy overflowing in the streets that has filled my soul, perhaps because it is so natural. It has a very charming old town, with restaurants and terraces, where you can breathe happiness. I think the evolution of a city of "stone" that has managed to overcome the historical legacy and has reinvented itself is wonderful. Boulevards like Victor Hugo, places like the Marche, pedestrian streets full of life and joy that enchant the visitor. I'm warning you - I'm not saying that it is necessarily the most beautiful place but it has a something special, at least for me ;). Note: Nîmes is known as a "City of Art and History", I have explained what this means in another post.
The Maison Carree ('Square House') is the name given to the Roman temple in the historic centre of Nimes, where the city's forum originally was located. It's of the 1st century and, despite its small size, it's excellent preservation is remarkable. It's probably the only preserved Roman temple not wholly or partially in ruins. This Corinthian style temple, in addition to its original use, has had many functions throughout its long career, ranging from a Christian church to an official building during the Revolution. Today, it houses a multimedia space. Unfortunately, during our last visit, the most spectacular part, the facade, was covered by scaffolding. Despite its name, it's not square, but rectangular.
It is situated on the high part of the city of Nimes, a city in southern France and capital of the department of Gard. The city of Nimes is full of beautiful monuments, narrow streets full of small churches and chapels. Other points to note are the Colosseum, "Le Maison Carre" .. etc..
The Ancient Romans chose to put a colony here, at the foot of the hills close to the pure, crystalline water of the Nemausa. Today, the ancient source of water flows through the Jardins de la Fontaine to reach the springs of the same name. Fontaine is a charming spot where you can experience the Provencal lifestyle, where people come to refresh and relax during the hot Mediterranean summers. A great place for locals and visitors alike.
Nimes Cathedral is the main religious building in Nimes. Originally Romanesque in style, it now incorporates various architectural elements due to several years of damage done to it during the religious wars. The interior is false Byzantine style with some genuinely baroque chapels. The temple is nothing too special but it fits well in the center of the old town in a friendly and lively area. There are other churches in Nimes that are more beautiful or striking but this is the principal place of worship.
This is the name given to the contemporary art museum located next to the famous Maison Carree in Nimes, designed by another great architect: Norman Foster. With this project, Nîmes constituted a space for contemporary artistic installations, which was lacking, and a way to revive its cultural landscape.
Even nowadays, I still get excited about seeing architectural and urban projects. A couple of weeks ago when I was back home, we stopped to have lunch in Nimes, and we stumbled upon L'Arbibus (The Marquis), an urban contemporary work created by the French architect Philippe Starck in the year 1987. Starck was inspired by an ancient Roman symbol which is found on both the coin and on the shield of the city, and features the two symbols of the city, the crocodile and palm tree. The marble design is a small line of solid cubes that reach the tree and are the tail and neck, and a large bucket, supported by its four vertices showing the animal's body. It is well worth going here to take a few pictures. In the center is the Norman Foster and outside the coliseum Kurokawa Japanese.
Arriving in a new city, I often visit the tourist offices before in order to save a brochure and maps of the city, so the people can recommend me the basics, because I'm always in a hurry. I was surprised at the Nimes office,where I found cutting-edge design, light colors, bright lighting, and very a well presented small souvenir shop that included the coin with the shield of the city, the crocodile and palm tree. They didn´t speak Spanish, though , so we tried speaking in some French and English, but I managed to find out the essentials.
Situated in a secluded corner of The Gardens of the Fountain, the ancient temple is the most enigmatic monument of Nîmes. The origin of its name is a mystery, but the building has been fairly well preserved due to its use as a Benedictine church between the tenth and sixteenth centuries.
Nimes was an important Gallo-Roman city. For this reason, it was an important historical legacy of this era, and you must visit the famous Arenas banner. The Porta Augusta allowed access to the city via city walls. It was the arrival point for the Via Domitia. It dates back to the 1st Century AD and, as its name suggests, the work of the first Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. Nowadays it is in fairly mediocre condition, although the structural elements have been preserved (several arcs) which allow to get a rough idea of the magnitude and splendor that it must have displayed in its time. It is located in a typical Parisian style boulevards that surround the old city and both contrast with the classic and serene atmosphere of the latter.
At the time of the Reformation, Protestants - the majority in the city at the time - used this cathedral for worship, as well as the other churches in the city. It has been renovated several times over the centuries, and its walls date back to ancient medieval castles. Today it can hold about 700 people.
Opened in September 1977, it currently has capacity for 500 people spread over 5 rooms. It is the only art house cinema in town, and also the only place where you can watch a movie without French dubbing. There's a ground floor where you can buy a coffee, too.
The love of bullfighting can be seen in the south of France, and nowhere more so than in Nimes. Facing the famous arena is a statue of the matador Nimeño II, one of the most famous local bullfighters. This promising matador was savaged by a bull on September 10, 1989, and became a paraplegic. Although he gradually regained some mobility, he could never return to the ring, and hanged himself in his garage in 1991.
Le Prol, a bar in the centre of Nimes, is frequented by artists, students, musicians and philsopehrs ... located just behind the cinema, it has a charming courtyard under the shade of banana and fig trees. You can enjoy some delicious wine, and the staff are very friendly and knowledgeable.
One of the most famous Nimes attractions which has given the city some fame is Maison Carree, the old but well-preserved Roman temple. This building dates from 5 AD and was dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar. It's certainly one of the major things to see in Nimes. But besides the Maison Carree there are many other places to visit in Nimes. For example, the Amphitheatre, a great work from the first century, and the Temple of Diana, a beautiful and enigmatic building located in the shade of the Garden of La Fontaine. This garden is another one of the most spectacular attractions in Nîmes. Its majestic fountains and manicured gardens will leave you impressed.
There's lots of stuff to do in Nimes besides seeing these ancient monuments. A good starting point is the old town. You can start by strolling down Madaleine Street, the city's commercial artery, past Place l'Horloge and Place aux Herbes, along the streets of du Chapitre, l'Aspic, Bernis, and Market Square. There are tons of things to do in Nîmes, and visiting Place aux Herbes is one of them. It houses the Cathedral of Our Lady and St. Castor, which was originally Romanesque. In addition to seeing the city's many monuments, other Nîmes activities include sampling the local fare, like cod brandade, a creamy pasta with unsalted cod, oil, and milk.
Are you still wondering what to do in Nimes? Be sure to check out minube.