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Nîmes

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La Maison Carrée de Nimes

Nîmes [1] is a city with a population of around 142,200 in the département of Gard in the south of France. It has a stunning Roman Coliseum that is second only to Rome's. There are a few other fine Roman relics and Diana's Palace.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

You can access Nîmes via Autoroute A9 or A54.

By train[edit]

The SNCF connects Nîmes to Montpellier and Avignon by TER (regional train) and Paris, Valence, Lyon, Lille and Spain with the TGV.

By bus[edit]

Edgard [2] operates buses to Nîmes from Arles (route C30) and the Pont du Gard (route C21). A one-way ticket costs 1,50€ per person.

By plane[edit]

Nîmes-Garons Airport [3]is located around 20km from the city centre. Ryanair [4] operates regular flights to Nîmes from London (Luton) and Liverpool in England and Brussels (Charleroi) in Belgium. Prices for a one-way flight start from 8€ per person (including tax). In the summer, Iberia [5] also operates flights to Nîmes from Palma de Mallorca on Saturdays. A shuttle bus [6] runs between the airport and Nîmes city centre (5€ per person for a one-way ticket).

Get around[edit]

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

See[edit][add listing]

Les Arenes at Night
  • Les Arenes (Roman Ampitheatre), Place des Arènes, 04-66-76-77. 9 am - 12.30 pm and 2 pm - 6 pm. a well preserved Roman arena that hosts bull fighting festivals in September. It was built 100 AD to seat 24,000 spectators It currently seats 10,000 when full and is an amazing site.  edit
  • Maison Carré, a very well preserved first century Roman temple that would make Nîmes worth a visit even if there were nothing else to look at or enjoy in the city. It currently shows a 3D film of heroes of Nîmes.
  • Jardin de la Fontaine, home of Nîmes' other important Roman monuments, beautiful statues, and temple of Diane, which is to the left through the main entrance. Free entrance. The grounds close at sunset, in summer open till 10 pm.
  • Culturespaces [7] operate the Arenes de Nîmes, Maison Carrée and the Tour Magne and offer a combined ticket.

The Office de Tourisme [8] prints a 50 page English booklet entitled "Bienvenue" each year, which isn't available off the shelf, unless you specifically ask for it. It contains lists of Hotels, Camp Sites, Restaurants and bars. They also print a Travel Guide with descriptions of the sights to see in Nimes.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Musée du vieux Nîmes, 04 66 36 00 64.
  • Cathédrale de Saint Castor, in place aux Herbes. City's most appealing museum.
  • Musée archéologique, Blvd 13 Amiral Courbet. Columns, mosaics, sculptures, etc.
  • Musée des Beaux-arts, Rue de la cité Foulc 20-22. Flemish, Italian, French works as well as Roman Mosaic.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • 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.
  • L'Ancien Théâtre is a very nice gastronomic restaurant, that serves fine, local, fresh food for a very affordable price. A menu will cost up to 32€, including starter, main course, cheese and dessert.
  • If you are in a budget, go try La Truyes qui Filhe, a self-service that serves simple meals for little money, and reminds the visitor of an antique tavern - the place was built in the 14th century, and the name is the old French for "The runaway sow"! Only open on lunchtime.
  • The Grill Courtpaille [9] serves grilled traditional French food, and operates on the Parc Hotelier Ville Active.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Late night bars along Ave Victor Hugo. Lulu is a popular gay bar at 10 Impasse Carutarie, open Tuesday till Saturday from 11 pm.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

A beautiful and expensive hotel is The Imperator.

The FUAJ youth hostel [10] has very friendly and informative local staff.

The Holiday Inn [11], Mercure [12], Ibis [13], Kyriad [14], Nimotel [15], Balladins [16] and the Hotel Formule 1 [17] are 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).

Get out[edit]

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