Nîmes is the prefecture of the Gard department in the Occitanie region of southern France. It is located about 60 km from Montpellier and is easily accessible by train.
Nîmes was called Némausus by the Celts and was located in the area of influence of Massilia (Marseille). In 121 BC it was conquered by the Romans and included in the Roman provinces. Many monuments were built by the Romans because Nîmes was a vital city with many inhabitants. This is also the reason for the nickname "the most Roman city outside Italy". In the Middle Ages, Nîmes experienced many different regiments, such as the Umayyads, Normans and Visigoths. In the 16th century, Nîmes was one of the capitals of the Huguenots, who established themselves here in relatively large numbers despite all the persecution and oppression. However, there were many conflicts between the religions and later also between the political views of the Bonapartists and the Royalists. Fortunately, the city finally prospered again in the 17th century and is now well known as the "French Rome". Visit Nîmes for a day and discover for yourself the historical atmosphere of the city!
Things to see and do:
The Pont du Gard: This is an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge built in the first century AD and completed after 15 years. It carried water over 50km to Nîmes and is 49m high. It crosses the river Gardon, so that after the fall of the Roman Empire, the bridge was still used as a toll bridge to cross the river. The Pont du Gard is the highest and best preserved Roman aqueduct bridge. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Amphitheatre of Nîmes: It was built during the 1st century AD. It is 133 m long, 101 m wide and can accommodate 25,000 spectators. Built in the image of the Colosseum, it was a very important monument for the city. It was transformed into a fortress in the 5th century and gave shelter to the citizens. Today, you can attend various shows, performances and plays.
Maison Carrée: This is a fully preserved classical Roman temple, like the Pantheon in Rome. Built between 20 and 12 BC during the reign of Emperor Augustus, the Square House was an important temple in the Forum. It has remained intact because it was dedicated to the church and transformed into a convent during the 5th century. J
Jardins de la Fontaine: These pompous gardens are decorated with monumental vases, baroque statues, fountains and water basins. They were built in 1745, but also include two ancient Roman monuments: the temple of Diana and the Magne tower.
Nîmes Gastronomy: Nîmes is ideally situated between the Cevennes, the sea and Provence. Its gastronomy has therefore blended all these flavours to create very original and tasty southern dishes! Nîmes has many places where you can taste the specialities of the region. You can stroll through the markets, the halles and the restaurants to taste typical dishes such as gardiane de taureau, brandade de morue, croquants villaret, caladon and many others! Don't forget your cameras to take colourful pictures!
How to get there? Accent Français offers excursions every weekend, so check our programme regularly HERE. If you want to go on your own, a train will take you there (30 minutes from the Saint Roch station)
If you liked Nimes and you want to discover other cities full of history, read our article on the fortified city of Carcassonne!