posted on: 14 September, 2018
With more than 300 days of sunshine per year it comes to no surprise that the Romans set up camp in Nimes more than 2000 years ago. And NIMES almost feels like they never left. Many of the Roman monuments are as good as new. From the beautifully preserved amphitheatre, LES ARENES which is still use for concerts and events to the impressive roman temple MAISON CARREES. It is impossible not to stumble over the remains Nimes Roman past. Step by back in time and be amazed….
Museum of Roman Civilisation. Recently opened and the perfect starting point to your weekend break. It brings together the city’s huge collection of Roman antiquities. Some of the most striking exhibits are the frescos and mosaics uncovered during archaeological excavations around the city. After your tour head to the roof top restaurant to get a first taste of Nimes diverse local cuisine. Nimes boats an array of excellent restaurants serving hearty stews, light fish dishes and pastries to die for!
This almost untouched Roman amphitheatre is nothing short of sensational. After your visit you ask yourself why you have bothered visiting the Colosseum in Rome. The arena is still used for festivals, concerts and to out a tent in, bullfights. The latter hopefully not for much longer.
Then take a short stroll (yes everything is in walking distance) over to the MAISON CARREE. A Roman temple unparalleled in the world. It’s unique and looks like it’s been built last week. The temple was dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar, two grandsons of Emperor Augustus who died in their youth. Needless to say, he wasn’t messing about when it comes to spending large on this stunning memorial. In the next 20 centuries it became a granary, church and a tomb for the 16th-century Duke of Uzès , Antoine de Crussol.
A grand 18th century park built around the water source where ancient Nimes was founded. There are regal balustrades, broad stairways, statues and marble vases. One crucial factor for the Romans to settle in Nimes was water. To be precise the discovery of a natural spring. Honouring the gods for their find they built the TEMPLE OF DIANE. An ancient library almost hidden behind a copse of pines. Since a medieval fire it is ruined yet still an impressive site to visit.
LA TOUR MAGNE towers the gardens. In its prime the tower at the top of the Jardins de la Fontaine soared 32 metres, dwarfing every other building in the city. Erected by Emperor Augustus in 15BC it is the last remain of the former city fortification. From the highest point of Nemausus = NIMES it was a massive watchtower controlling the plain north of the city. Climb up and enjoy the amazing views and take a step back in time. Climb down to make more Roman discoveries and recharge your batteries in the park over a glass of wine.
Right next to the Maison Carree and the Jardins de la Fontaine is the tres superb CARREE D’ART. A modern art temple of the 21st century you would expect to find in London or Paris. Our old chump Norman Foster built this steel, concrete and glass creation just across the road from the temple. The galleries host temporary exhibitions by contemporary artists and has another excellent rooftop restaurant! The Nimois like their food served high up. Like it traditional? Then head to to the MUSEE DES BEAUX ARTS. It shows masterpieces from the 1500-1800 centuries and is a treasury of French, Italian, Flemish and Dutch paintings. Needless to say, that Nimes also has an impressive cathedral and a picturesque square around it. (Attention, more Roman remains are next door!) THE PLACES AUX HERBS the medieval market sellers would sell everything from local herbs, meat, fish over to the life stock and their families. Well not quite. Now you can have a coffee at a cafe terraces, potter around the flea market and treat yourself to an ice cream.
After so much culture it’s time for some refreshments! And there’s no better place to go to than Nimes’ indoor food market, LES HALLES DES NIMES. You’ll be wowed by the displays of regional produce. Nimes speciality is the Brandade. A salted cod fish cream which you can put on everything. It’s delicious! And unlike similar markets in Spain, this is where most of the Nimois do their shopping. And just like the whole town there’s a non-touristy feel to it.
Then dive into Nimes bustling nightlife scene! Taste yourself through the fine and surprisingly cheap wines of the Languedoc region. Plenty of bars line the streets of the city centre and you can party with the locals all night long.
Be assured, this weekend trip is a memorable experience. Nimes is no museum or tourist façade. It’s a lived in, lively city full of charm set in beautiful surroundings.
Odd fact: The word, “denim” (de Nimes = from Nimes) generates back to medieval times when this fabric was invented here! So we all got a piece of Nimes at home.
To find out more or to book your trip to Nimes get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
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