Sunny Nimes is one of those cities you just fall in love with. Deep blue skies, wonderful restaurants, Roman architecture, beautiful green spaces and a laid-back lifestyle make this one of the most fascinating places to visit.
The Roman Connection
The famous Roman arena is the beating heart of Nimes. Built at the end of the first century, in its heyday, this place would have seated all 24,000 inhabitants of what was even then a vibrant city. Today it seats 17,000 and there’s plenty of entertainment from festivals, concerts, opera, theatre, bullfights and more.
One of the most famous annual events held here is the Roman Games held each spring. Rent a toga for a few Euros, do up your sandals and channel your inner Roman as you enjoy the spectacle – gladiator fights, chariot races, and parades.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the arena you’ll find the magnificent temple called Maison Carrée a white stone building that was once a part of the Roman forum, now an art gallery.
In the gorgeous Jardin des Fontaines are the ruins of a Roman library. As well as of Roman baths. Today the park is perfect for relaxing under the shade of the beautiful lime trees or enjoying a game of boules.
Tour Magne is the last of 80 towers that were once embedded in the city walls. You can get a fabulous view of the city from here.
Tip: Buy a combined ticket with entry to the Nimes Arena, Maison Carrée, Tour Magne and the Roman theatre at Orange, it’s valid for a month and saves you money and queuing.
Eating out in Nimes
In the summer people here eat dinner late at night when the air has cooled down – it gets very hot during the daytime. Try the Brasserie Le Napoleon which opened in 1813 and is an institution in Nimes. Fabulous interior, cool pavement tables, and a fabulous menu.
For lunch, locals love the shaded terrace restaurant of the Carré d’Art Museum which offers spectacular views of the city and a great, seasonal menu.
2018 sees the opening of the brand new Musée de la Romanité. It’s one of the largest contemporary architectural projects in France and will reveal the history of Arles from the 7th century BC through the Romans to the Middle ages – it promises to be one of the coolest cultural visits in Provence.
Nimes Tourist Office website for more details
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