Nîmes Things to Do

  • Amphithéâtre (Nimes, France)
    Amphithéâtre (Nimes, France)
    by Redang
  • Boulevard Victor-Hugo
    Boulevard Victor-Hugo
    by black_mimi99
  • Maisin Carree
    Maisin Carree
    by Dabs

Most Recent Things to Do in Nîmes

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    Porte d'Auguste

    by black_mimi99 Written May 23, 2014

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    Porte d'Auguste

    Originally flanked by two towers, this gate has two wide passages for chariots and two narrower ones for pedestrians. The bronze copy of a statue of Augustus gave the gate its name. On the ground, note the line marking the contours of the former castle that it was part of during the Middle Ages.

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    Boulevard Victor-Hugo

    by black_mimi99 Written May 23, 2014

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    Boulevard Victor-Hugo

    During the summer, the foliage of the hackberry trees creates an overarching tunnel effect. Lined on side by the Lycée Daudet school and Romano-Byzantine church of Saint Paul, and the other side by the terraces of large traditional cafés, this is the boulevard where everything happens in Nimes.

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    Grand Temple

    by black_mimi99 Written May 23, 2014

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    Grand Temple

    The Church of the Dominican monastery was built between 1714 and 1736. The church is officially assigned to protestant worship and takes the name of great temple. In 1821, the organs of the temple are built.

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    Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Castor

    by black_mimi99 Written May 23, 2014

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    Cath��drale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Castor

    Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Castor is a Roman Catholic cathedral, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to the local saint Castor of Apt.
    Originally built towards the end of the 11th C. and consecrated in 1096 by Pope Urban II, the cathedral has been renewed several times, in particular during the 19th C. in the Romanesque-Byzantine style. On the gable of the west front is an interesting Romanesque relief frieze, with scenes illustrating the story of the Creation, which is stylistically related to St Gilles and may date from the second half of the 12th C.

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    Tour Magne

    by black_mimi99 Written May 23, 2014

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    Tour Magne

    Above the Jardins de la Fontaine rises the 114m/374ft high Mont Cavalier, with subtropical plants and shady footpaths. On its summit stands the Tour Magne, a 30m/98ft high Roman monument, dating from the year 15 B.C. It's the largest of a chain of towers that once punctuated the city's 7km-long Roman ramparts. At the top of its 140 steps, there's an orientation table to help you interpret the panorama over Nîmes.

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    Jardins de la Fontaine

    by black_mimi99 Updated May 23, 2014
    Jardins de la Fontaine
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    The elegant Jardins de la Fontaine conceal several Roman remains, including the Source de la Fontaine – once the site of a spring, temple and baths – and the crumbling Temple de Diane , located in the gardens' northwest corner. They were laid out in the 18th C. in the area of the former fortified ramparts and include the ruins of an ancient sanctuary of a sacred spring. The gardens extend over several levels, the lowest forming the water-basins and the waterways joining them. Groups of life-size Baroque statues give atmosphere to this attractive feature.

    On the western edge of the Jardins de la Fontaine under old trees stands the so-called temple of Diana (it was in fact not a temple), a partly ruined, but harmoniously proportioned square building, which presumably formed part of the Roman baths and has been dated to the first half of the second century on account of its decorations. The three aisles formerly had barrel-vaulting. As the building had been used as a church since the Middle Ages, it was severely damaged during the Wars of Religion and its ruins later used as building stone.

    A 10-minute uphill walk brings you to the crumbling shell of the 30m-high Tour Magne.

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    Esplanade de Gaulle

    by black_mimi99 Written May 23, 2014
    Esplanade de Gaulle
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    To the east of the amphitheater extends the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle, a spacious square busy with traffic. Here stands the Fontaine Pradier, a marble fountain of 1848 representing a personification of Nîmes.

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    The Arena

    by black_mimi99 Updated May 23, 2014
    The Arena

    The Nîmes Arena is the best preserved amphitheatre of the Roman era. The Nîmes Arena dates back to the end of the 1st century AD, built under Emperor Augustus, and is a perfect illustration of the degree of perfection attained by Roman engineers in designing and constructing this type of extremely complex building. It is oval in shape, and measures 133m long, 101m wide and 21m high.
    Two quarries, Barutel and Roquemaillère (located near the town), were used to supply the stones for the construction.

    The façade consists of two levels of sixty superposed arches and an attic, separated by a cornice. At the top, pre-drilled stones were positioned to overhang so that long poles could be positioned over the arena. A huge canvas canopy was then attached to these poles, thereby providing protection for the spectators against the sun and bad weather.

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    Maison Carrée

    by black_mimi99 Written May 23, 2014

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    Built by Emperor Augustus in honour of his two adopted sons Caius and Lucius Caesar. The Maison Carrèe is one of the most well-preserved Roman temples in the world. Standing on a podium, it is a splendidly maintained Roman temple which was erected at the time of Augustus between 20 and 12 B.C. In the Middle Ages the building was used on occasions as a convent; in the 18th C. it was thoroughly restored, then during the French Revolution sold to the Département as national property. An art museum was established here back in 1824.

    Tall Corinthian columns bear the richly ornamented entablature with a frieze finely decorated with acanthus (front section missing). Fifteen steps lead up to the pronaos (antechamber) and the cella on the same level, which today serves as an exhibition room.

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    Nimeño II Statue

    by black_mimi99 Updated May 17, 2014

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    Nime��o II statue
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    The statue of a bullfighter in front of the arena that stands proudly outside the Roman Arena (Arenes) known as Christian Montcouquiol ("Nimeño II").
    Nimeno, as he was normally called, was born in Germany and became a legend in the bullfighting sport.
    The young matador suffered a career ending injury when facing a bull named Pañalero. Unable to accept the fact he could no longer be a matador, he took his own life at the age of 37.

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    Amphitheatre

    by black_mimi99 Written May 17, 2014

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    Amphitheatre

    Once inside, there was seating capacity for nearly 24,000 spectators thanks to the 34 rows of “cavea” (terraces), which were supported by semi-circular vaults.
    Under these vaults, five circular galleries and 162 stairwells and “vomitoires” (corridors leading to the terraces) enabled spectators to rapidly access their seats. The games, gladiator fights and Venatio (animal hunts) were open to everyone. They were laid on for the people of the town and its surrounding area by the high dignitaries and magistrates of the “civitas”.

    The amphitheatre was designed so that everyone had an unrestricted view of the whole arena.
    Several galleries were located beneath the arena, and were accessed by trap doors and a hoist-lift system. As a result, the decorative effects, animals and gladiators could access the arena during the games.

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    Pont du Gard

    by Dabs Updated Aug 27, 2013

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    Located very close to Nimes is the Pont du Gard, an aqueduct built by the Romans. It's the singularly most impressive Roman sight in this area of southern France, the 18€ parking fee seems a bit steep but it covers up to 5 people (not that there was anyone counting the number of people in your car). If you come in on foot or bicycle there is no charge but it's quite a distance to walk if you don't use their lot.

    You can walk along the lower level of the bridge but not the top level, climbing up to the top level really wasn't worth the effort. For a nice picture of the bridge, we walked over the bridge and then down to the river level. You can swim in the area after the bridge, we also saw people kayaking and canoeing so there are obviously rental places along the river.

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    Pont du Gard

    by antistar Updated Jun 6, 2013

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    Pont du Gard

    Not strictly in Nimes, but accessible from it, this impressive Roman construction is the only remaining three tier Roman aqueduct in the world. Buses to the Pont du Gard run regularly from behind the train station in Nimes, take about an hour, and cost about 10 euros for a return ticket. It's a local bus, not a tour, so you'll need to organise your visit yourself. The bus drops you a short walk away from the aqueduct, and it isn't terribly well sign-posted, so you will probably have to ask the bus driver, or the locals, for some help.

    The curious thing about this aqueduct is how it appears on the five euro note. The new European currency was meant to depict typical European architecture, but wasn't mean to depict any specific building. This was because they didn't want to show any favouritism to any one nation or city. Someone obviously had the bright idea of showing an Roman aqueduct, a structure found across Europe and symbolic of a shared history. The only problem is the model they decided to draw had three tiers, and as I mentioned earlier, the only one of these in existence is in Nimes.

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    Tour Magne

    by Dabs Updated Mar 13, 2013

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    The 3rd attraction on our pass was the Tour Magne (Great Tower) which involved a bit of a climb through the garden and up the hill. And of course since it's a tower, another 100 or so steps to get to the top. The area at the top of the tower isn't very large, we were sandwiched in between two groups of school kids, once the 2nd group arrived, we headed back down. I didn't notice it going up, but going down, the staircase is not enclosed like it is in most towers so you can see all the way down from the top step so it's not a good choice for those with extreme fear of heights.

    The Great Tower is part of the old city walls, the only tower left standing from the ancient city walls built by Augustus. It was built on the highest point of the city and offers a great view over the city of Nimes

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    Maison Carree

    by Dabs Updated Mar 13, 2013

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    Maisin Carree

    I don't know that this is a must see attraction but it was included on our pass and it was a nice break from the heat. The interior of the building holds a small theater where you watch a 3D movie about the heroes of Nimes.

    The building itself is of interest though, it is an extremely well preserved Roman temple built in the 1st century AD

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Nîmes Things to Do

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