Famed for its beautifully preserved Roman monuments, Nîmes City Centre boasts a fascinating history dating back 2,000 years. It was originally established in the 1st century BC as Colonia Nemausus and was an important stop on the Via Domitia that connected Italy with Hispania.
Things to do in Nimes City Centre
A highlight of Nîmes City Centre is Les Arenes, a Roman amphitheatre that has provided a setting for gladiator fights and live music concerts for thousands of years. Join a guided tour to learn about its elliptical design and the more than 120 staircases that connect to its galleries. To experience the Nîmes Amphitheatre in all its glory, coincide your visit with the Grands Jeux Romains or the annual Feria de Pentecôte.
Dominating the city centre is the Nîmes Cathedral, which is believed to have been constructed atop the former temple of Augustus in the 11th century. It combines Romanesque and Gothic architectural elements in its design and was almost completely reconstructed in the 19th century. The cathedral stands alongside the Musee du Vieux Nîmes, where you'll find antique furnishings, textiles and fine art displays.
Beautifully illuminated at night is the Maison Carree, which is considered one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world. It is fronted by six Corinthian columns and is said to have inspired Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia State Capitol. Facing the temple is the glass-and-steel Carre d’Art, a contemporary art museum designed by the British architect Norman Foster.
Getting around Nimes City Centre
Nîmes Airport is just 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre and has limited flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. The much larger Montpellier-Mediterranee Airport is 40 minutes away. Trains connect from Paris to the Nîmes railway station, from where most of the city centre’s sights can be accessed on foot.