Nimes is an ancient city in southern France and while the concrete-heavy outskirts may come off somewhat uninspiring to travellers, it’s definitely worth it to push on. As you get closer to the city centre you’ll be met with some of the most well-preserved Roman buildings—some of which are still in use today! Get to know the history of the place and you’ll inevitably come across a mention of this city’s contribution to fashion, known famously around the world now as denim. Explore Nimes and fall in love with this uniquely French city that is teeming with history, charm and adventure.

Brief History

Nimes may be one of the most attractive towns in Mediterranean France as it is located in between the sea and the Cevennes hills. It is a city that was established by the Romans way back when and is about 40km from the coastline and to this day is home to some of the best preserved Roman ruins in all of France. Beyond the ruins, Nimes is a great place to visit to see the majestic old towns and gardens. There is also the Cevennes National Park to the north where you can see all manner of animals and hike your way around the area. Nimes is located on the Paris-Lyon-Barcelona route and is also on the Mediterranean coastal route between Italy and Spain making it an easy spot to stop in on your travels through France and the rest of Europe.

Top 5 Sights

  1. Maison Carré – This Roman temple dates back to the fourth or fifth century BC and was dedicated to Emperor Augustus. It is incredibly well preserved and has been used over the centuries as horse stables, a meeting chamber and even an archive. Choose any of the cafes across the street from it to relax and take in the simplicity of its architecture.
  2. Les Arenes – It’s difficult not to compare Les Arenes to the Coliseum in Rome with this structure’s two stories of vaulted arches. In fact, it is one of the most intact amphitheatres to be found throughout the entire world today. Over 20,000 people can fit in the massive stadium and to this day it is still used for bull fights, pop concerts and sporting events. Les Arenes in Nimes is an incredible example of a well preserved Roman amphitheatre.
  3. Carré d’Art – Carré d’Art is Nimes’s museum of contemporary art made of glass and chrome. It was designed by a British architect and was instigated as a part of a grand plan to rejuvenate the small city. It’s an impressive museum and if you are in Nimes, it is worth the visit.

  4. Pont du Gard – No visit to Nimes would be complete without a trip to the Pont du Gard, just 20km or so northeast of the city. The aqueduct was constructed some time during the first century AD to supply the city with fresh water from the Eure River. Three tiers of arches span an unbelievable 275m across the Gardon River at a height of 49m.
  5. Uzès – While this sight isn’t within city limits, it is worth a quick outing to see. Easily taken in on a round trip from Nimes also including the Pont du Gard mentioned above, it’s a place to wander around antique shops and sit in shady squares sipping “café au lait”. Make sure to see the old ducal castle and the Tour Fenestrelle, a local equivalent of Pisa’s Leaning Tower, while you’re out there.

History and culture clash in the ancient city of Nimes, where you’ll never run out of things to try or adventures to experience. Compare the travel insurance plans from Cover-More Travel Insurance before you take off to protect your holiday, your investment and your health.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Wolfgang Staudt.