Roman traces wherever you go.Älgbert Elgson
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The city of Nîmes dates back to an old Celtic settlement. The original name Nemausus comes from the Celtic spring deity and the nearby spring with the same name.
The area was conquered by the Romans as early as 121 BC and Roman soldiers settled in and around Nemausus. The city quickly became an example of Gallo-Roman culture.
Many buildings still bear witness to the former importance in the Roman Empire.
The Romans built an amphitheater in Nîmes based on the Grand Colosseum in Rome and it could accommodate about 24,000 people. Today the arena still has around 13,000 seats and is still used for all kinds of events. Bands like Metallica or Rammstein have performed in this old building at the “Festival de Nîmes”. Bullfights and history games are also held here at regular intervals.
The Arènes is one of the best preserved of its kind, is open to tourists all year round and, with audio guides in various languages and information boards offers an informative insight into the life of the Romans and especially gladiators.
Traces of Roman history can be found everywhere in the city. The markings embedded in the ground at the places where the city wall once ran, the famous Maison Carrée, a temple built at the city forum or the remains of the city gates, no matter where you look you will encounter Roman traces.
This also applies to the Tour Magne, an old watchtower of the Celts, which the Romans integrated into the city walls. Today you can climb the tower as a viewing platform and have a wonderful view over the old town of Nîmes.
It was not only the Romans who left their mark on the cityscape. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the city was redesigned in many places. During this time, the Jardin de la Fontaine was also created. This stretches from Tour Magne down to Avenue Jean Jaurès, the city’s boulevard. The source that gave the city its name and the Diana Temple have been integrated into the French parkland. In the rest of the old town you can see signs of this renewal in architecture in many places, which has remained in the cityscape to this day.
How to get there?
Nîmes is very easy to reach by train, as the city is located directly on the main line from Avignon to Montpellier. The train station is very central and therefore the old town can be explored on foot.
If you want to travel by car, you should inform yourself in advance about the location of the parking garages. The streets and alleys are often very narrow and designed as a one-way street.
We recommend using the parking garage directly at the train station, as it is easy to reach and well located for a city tour.
The city of Nîmes can convince in many ways. On the one hand there are the beautiful buildings, on the other hand the fact that it is a really lively city center. It is not as sterile as other tourist cities in France. You can also see that someone lives here.
If you want to enjoy typical French baked goods and sweets, you should definitely visit the Boulangerie Croquants Villaret on Rue de la Madeleine.
We were here: 2019
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