Russ logo

All information gathered first-hand, since 1995




Bronze matador in front of the

Arena (Les Arènes)

The Roman Arena of Nîmes is the best preserved of the Roman amphitheaters in Roman Provence.

The Arena was renovated in 2006-7, improving visitor access and adding audio-guides.

Photo-03 is a view of one of the passages around the lower part of the Arena.

You can see a 3D video film depicting gladiators in the Arena at the Maison Carrée.

Entry Fees (2012).
Arena 7.90; Maison Carrée 4.60; Tour Magne 2.80 euros. All three: 10.00 euros.

This is the Maison Carrée, a

Maison Carrée

The Maison Carrée in the center of Nîmes was built in 16 BC by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, the original patron of Rome's Pantheon. One of the best preserved temples anywhere in Rome's former empire of Roman Provence, the Maison Carrée was dedicated to Gaius Julius Caesar and Lucius Caesar, Marcus Agrippa's two sons and the adopted heirs of Augustus.

The original inscription dedicating the temple to Gaius and Lucius was removed in Medieval times, but reconstructed in 1758, reading: "To Gaius Caesar, son of Augustus, Consul; to Lucius Caesar, son of Augustus, Consul designate; to the princes of youth."

The temple owes its preservation to the fact that it was rededicated as a Christian church in the fourth century, saving it from the widespread destruction of temples that followed the adoption of Christianity as Rome's official state religion. It subsequently became a meeting hall for Nîme's consuls, a canon's house, a stable during the French Revolution and a storehouse for the city archives. It became a museum after 1823.

"Maison Carrée" in French means "retangle", deriving from the archaic term carré long, meaning a "long square", or rectangle - a reference to the building's shape.

The Maison Carrée inspired Paris' La Madeleine (the Eglise de la Madeleine) and the Virginia State Capitol in the United States.

Entry Fees (2012).
Arena 7.90; Maison Carrée 4.60; Tour Magne 2.80 euros. All three: 10.00 euros.
There's no actual Roman building visible inside the Maison Carrée; instead you get 20+ minute video (in 3D) of Roman life in Nîmes, with emphasis on gladiators.

Jardins de la Fontaine in Nîmes

Jardins de la Fontaine

These 18th-century gardens (Gardens of the Source) are a magnificent site in Nîmes, built in 1745 by the former western defensive ramparts of the city. The park is build around the mythical Sanctuary of the Sacred Spring and the ancient monuments of the Temple of Diana and the Tour Magne.

The Jardins de la Fontaine are a beautiful site to visit, and a peaceful environment after a busy day sightseeing and shopping in the center of Nîmes.

The water gushes up out of natural springs at a rate of 10-20 litres per second in a dry period to 20 cubic meters per second in the Spring. The water is actually from a 50 square kilometer watershed in the garrague surrounding Nîmes, and collectes in a series of rock caverns beneath this site.

Nîmes Roman Tour Magne, on hilltop

Tour Magne

Roman tower on the hilltop northwest of the center of Nîmes. From the center, walk up Bvd Victor Hugo to Square Antonin. Then go along the Quai de la Fontain, following alongside the lovely canal. Cross through the Jardins de la Fontaine and continue up the hill through the lovely forested park, to the top.

The inside of the Tower is, of course, renovated, but retains the spirit of the original. Inside the circular stone walls, a tight circle of steps goes up the center, with a total of 140 steps (according to our count) to the top.

From the top you have a great panoramic view, east-south-west, across the town of Nîmes. The town is pretty flat, and more of historical interest that picturesque. We had a hazy day so the view wasn't great.

Entry Fees (2012).
Arena 7.90; Maison Carrée 4.60; Tour Magne 2.80 euros. All three: 10.00 euros.


Discover more in ProvenceBeyond


History of Nîmes

Prehistoric: There's a menhir at Courbessac, to the northeast of Nîmes.

Celto-Ligurian: Nîmes was originnally Nemausus, the capital of the Celtic tribe Volques Arecomici.

Gallo-Roman: The town became a Roman colony under Augustus (63 BC - 14 AD), and increased in wealth under Roman rule during the rule of Agrippa and Hadrian.

Medieval: Nîmes was evangelized in the 3rd century, and then underwent a few centuries of being ravaged by Barbarian Invasions.

The town went through a period of being ruled by a Bishop and Viscounts, vassals if the Counts of Toulouse. In 1229, during the Albigeois Crusades (1209-1255), Nîmes was incorporated into France.

The Reformation in the 16th century was welcomed by Nîmes. In 1567, a large number of the town's Protestants were massacred by the Catholics.

When La Rochelle capitulated at the end of the Siege of La Rochelle (1627-1628), Nîmes submitted to the rule of the king, Louis XIII.

The Nîmois were called "manjo merlusso", mangeurs de morue (cod eaters).


Tourist Office

6 rue Auguste (facing the north side of the Roman Temple, La Maison Carrée)

Tel : 04 66 58 38 00; Fax: 04 66 58 38 01

Web: www.ot-nimes.fr

Dates

Market day: Mon.


Hiking

• GPS: 43.83459, 4.360864

Maps

IGN (1/25,000) #2942 O "Nîmes"

The GR700 hiking trail between St Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire) and Saint Gilles (Gard) on the edge of the Camargue passes through Nîmes. The GR700 follows the route of the very ancient Chemin de Regordane (Voie Regordane), the 9th-century Pilgrims route between Paris and St Gilles in the Camargue.

North of Nîmes the GR700 goes via La Calmette to cross the Gardon at Saint Anastasie/Russan. It continues north along with the GR6 Hiking Trail along the Gardon past Vézénobres and Alès.

South of Nîmes the GR700 passes the village of Génerac to St Gilles, on the Rhône-Sête Canal at the northwest corner of the Camargue.


Transportation Nîmes

Nîmes Local Urban Buses

  • Nîmes has an excellent urban bus system, including a 'TramBus'. Any bus trip on an urban line cost only 1 euro. You pay the driver when you get on. Bus times, for the appropriate lines, are shown at each bus stop.
     
    Nîmes urban bus info is available on www.tangobus.fr - click on the small map (Plan des Réseax) for a PDF map of the bus lines. We saved the PDF onto our iPhone as a handy reference while wandering around the town.

Arles, Nîmes Bus

  • Frequent service is available for the links Arles - Camargue Airport, and Carmargue Airport - Nîmes.

Bus B21: Nîmes, Pont-du-Gard, Uzes, Bagnols-sur-Cèze

  • Gard department bus line B21 connects Nîmes, Pont-du-Gard, Uzès, Bagnols-sur-Cèze.
    Approximate trip times are: Nîmes - Vers Pont-du-Gard 1h; Nîmes - Uzès 1h30; Nîmes - Bagnols-sur-Cèze 1h50.
    The complete route is: Nîmes, Marguerittes, St Gervasy, Bezouce, Ledenon, St Bonnet-du-Gard, Remoulins, Pont St Esprit, Castillon-du-Gard, Valliguieres, Vers Pont-du-Gard, Collias, Sanilhac- Sagries, Uzès, St Siffret (Terres Planes), St Hippolyte-de-Montaigu, La Capelle-Masmolene, Pouzilhac, Gaujac, Connaux, Laudun, Bagnols-sur-Cèze.
    There's a connecting route between: Bagnols-sur-Cèze, St Nazaire, St Alexandre, Pont St Exprit.
     
    Bus route map, Nîmes area-2 (Uzès, Bagnols-sur-Cèze) is available on www.edgard-transport.fr/plan/?rub_code=8&zone=2&#flash (flash)
    Bus schedules are on www.edgard-transport.fr/horaires/?rub_code=23Select B21, Pont St Esprit, Nîmes

Bus E51: Nîmes, Beaucaire, Avignon

  • Gard department bus line E51 connects Nîmes and Avignon.
    The complete route is: Nîmes, Rodilhan, Manduel, Redessan, Jonquières-St-Vincent, Tarascon, Beaucaire, Vallabregues, Aramon, Theziers, St Pierre-de-Mezoargue, Boulbon, Vallabregues, Barbentane, Rognonas, Avignon.
    Approximate trip time is: Nîmes - Avignon 1h30.
     
    Bus route map, Nîmes area-3 (Beaucaire, Tarascon, Avignon) is available on www.edgard-transport.fr/plan/?rub_code=8&zone=3&#flash (flash)
    Bus schedules are on www.edgard-transport.fr/horaires/?rub_code=23Select E51, Nîmes, Avignon

Bus E52: Nîmes, Uzes, St Quentin-la-Poterie

Department 30, Gard Buses

Nimes - St-Remy

  • Bus transportation between Nîmes and St Rémy-de-Provence is via:
    - Nimes - Arles; Arles - St Rémy, or
    - Nimes - Avignon; Avignon - St Rémy

Nearby Places


Nearby Hotels


Sources

    Some historical content taken (and rewritten) from Wikipedia.

Nearby Places

Nearby Hotels