city and prefecture of the Gard department in the Occitanie region of Southern France
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Europe > France > Occitanie > Gard > Nîmes

Nîmes is a city with a population of around 137,000 in the département of Gard in the south of France. It has a stunning Roman temple whose pristine condition is unmatched by any extant ones in Rome. There are a few other fine Roman relics and Diana's Palace.

La Maison Carrée

Understand edit

  • 1 Office de Tourisme et des Congrès, 6 rue Auguste, +33 4 66 58 38 00. Jul Aug: M-F 09:00-19:30, Sa 09:00-19:00, Su and public holidays 10:00-18:00; Apr-Sep: M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su and holidays: 10:00-18:00; Oct-Mar: M-F 09:00-18:30, Sa 10:00-18:00, Su and holidays 10:00-17:00. The Office de Tourisme prints a "Bienvenue" booklet (in English) each year, which isn't available off the shelf, you must ask for it. It has lists of Hotels, Camp Sites, Restaurants and bars. They also print a Travel Guide with descriptions of the sights to see in Nimes. There is also an information point at the Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle.

Get in edit

By train edit

By bus edit

Edgard[dead link] operates buses to Nîmes from Arles (route C30) and the Pont du Gard (route C21). A one-way ticket costs €1.50 per person.

  • 2 Gare Routière (bus station), Rue Sainte Felicite,.

By plane edit

By car edit

You can access Nîmes via Autoroute A9, which runs from the Spanish border, and the Spanish motorway AP-7, in the south, and Orange and the A7 Autoroute in the north, or the A54, which connects Nîmes to Salon-de-Provence in the south-east.

Get around edit

The main sights are all within comfortable walking distance of each other.

See edit

Les Arènes

The three main Roman sites in Nîmes are the Maison Carrée, Magne Tower and the famous Amphitheatre. A combined ticket[dead link] can be purchased for all three for €12 (€10 for children (7-17) or students), only €2 more than the single entry for the Amphitheatre. There is also a combined ticket which includes the Roman Theatre of nearby Orange. Other key sites include the Temple of Diane and the Nîmes Cathedral, both of which are free.

  • 1 Castellum. A former reservoir at the end of the 50 km aqueduct.  
  • 2 Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Castor de Nîmes (Nîmes Cathedral). The main cathedral of the city originates from the 11th century, but has been renovated and adapted many times since. It is believed it was built on top of the former Roman Temple of Augustus of which no trace remains. The building is an interesting mix of Romanesque and neo-Gothic styles.    
  • 3 Jardin de la Fontaine (Fountain Gardens). March/September: 07:30-20:00, October-February: 07:30-18:30, April-August: 07:30-22:00. These beautiful gardens were created in 1745, becoming the first public park in France and one of the first in Europe. It is decorated with a number of waterways and fountains, beautiful statues from Montpellier and the ruins of the Roman Temple of Diane. Climbing the steps or ramps at the back of the park up to the highest point in Nîmes, one finds the Magne Tower. Free.
  • 4 Les Arènes (Roman Amphitheatre), Place des Arènes, +33 4-66-76-77. 09:00-12:30 and 14:00-18:00. a well preserved Roman arena that hosts bull fighting festivals in September. It was built 100 AD to seat 24,000 spectators It seats 10,000 when full and is an amazing site.    
  • 5 Maison Carrée (Square House), +33 4 66 21 82 56. One of the best preserved Roman temples in the former Roman Empire is to be found here in Nîmes. It was constructed approximately 2 CE, not long after the founding of the city by Emperor Augustus. The small interior comprises of a modern theatre, where a well-produced and informative film called Nemausus plays every half an hour on the half hour, giving a good introduction to the early history and foundations of the city. It also a   UNESCO World Heritage Site. Adult €6, child (7-17)/student €5.    
  • 6 Porte d'Auguste (Auguste Gate). Once was the main entrance to the city.  
  • 7 Porte de France.  
  • 8 Temple de Diane (Temple of Diane).    
  • 9 Tour Magne (Magne Tower) (N end of Jardin de la Fontaine).  

Museums edit

Do edit

Buy edit

Eat edit

The local speciality is the "brandade", chopped cod mixed with mashed potatoes, milk, garlic and olive oil. It can be tasted in many restaurants. You can also try the "Gardiane de taureau", a ragout with bull meat and vegetables. As an appetizer, have toasted bread with "Tapenade", an olive puree made with olives, olive oil and garlic.

Budget edit

  • 1 Le caboulot de la sérendipité, 26 Rue Jean Reboul.
  • 2 Mezzo Di Pasta, 38 Rue de la Madeleine.
  • 3 Le Bistrot de Tatie Agnès, 16 Rue de la Maison Carrée.
  • 4 La Terna, 6 Grand Rue.
  • 5 Marmara, 23 Bd Amiral Courbet.
  • 6 Le Petit Duguesclin, 10 Pl. Duguesclin.
  • 7 i Fratelli, 10 Bd Victor Hugo.

Mid-range edit

  • 8 L'Ancien Théâtre, 4 Rue Racine, +33 4 66 21 30 75. A very nice gastronomic restaurant, that serves fine, local, fresh food for a very affordable price. A menu will cost up to €32 (June 2015), including starter, main course, cheese and dessert.
  • 9 The Grill Courtpaille, 341 chemin De L'Hostellerie. Serves grilled traditional French food, and operates on the Parc Hotelier Ville Active.
  • 10 Restaurant U Caffè-Les Olivades, 1 Rue des 3 Maures. French cuisine
  • 11 Théo Café, 15 Rue Régal. French cuisine

Splurge edit

  • 12 Restaurant Skab, 7 Rue de la République.
  • 13 Restaurant Vincent Croizard, 17 Rue des Chassaintes.

Drink edit

Late night bars along Ave Victor Hugo. Lulu is a popular gay bar at 10 Rue Curaterie, open Tu-Sa from 23:00.

Sleep edit

A beautiful and expensive hotel is The Imperator.

All located in the retail park Parc Hotelier Ville Active, about 30 minutes' walk from the town centre (and over the main road from Carrefour hypermarket):

Go next edit

  • Marseille
  • Avignon
  • 1 Le Pont du Gard. If you haven't had your fill of Roman constructions, this impressive aqueduct is 25 km up the A9 from Nimes and clearly signposted from the motorway. In Roman times the aqueduct carried water destined for Nimes.
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