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  • The terraces

    The terraces

    Arena of Nîmes © Hemis.fr

  • The facade of the amphitheatre

    The facade of the amphitheatre

    Arena of Nîmes © Hemis.fr

  • The interior galleries, providing access to the terraces

    The interior galleries, providing access to the terraces

    Arena of Nîmes © Hemis.fr

  • Statue of Nimeño II

    Statue of Nimeño II

    Arena of Nîmes © Hemis.fr

  • The facade of the amphitheatre

    The facade of the amphitheatre

    Arena of Nîmes © Ville de Nîmes

Located in the south-east of France, the city of Nîmes is home to one of the world’s best-preserved Roman amphitheatres. During the summer, it constitutes the beating heart of this city in the Gard Department.

Built at the end of the 1st century AD, the Nîmes amphitheatre has aged extremely elegantly. The exceptionally well-preserved condition of the monument makes it one of this Roman city’s main attractions, along with the Maison Carrée temple and the Tour Magne (Magne Tower) which overlooks the Jardins de la Fontaine (fountain gardens).

From the outside, visitors can admire the 21 metre-high facade and its 120 arches divided over two levels. Inside, the terraces, whether destroyed or reconstructed, help you to imagine the electric atmosphere that once prevailed here during the very popular gladiator fights, at a time when the site could hold up to 24,000 spectators.

The amphitheatre: an entertainment venue for the Romans

During Roman times, Nîmes amphitheatre played host to many shows organised to entertain the inhabitants from the city and the surrounding areas. Gladiator fights were particularly popular, as well as hunting, which involved setting the animals free inside the arena, which the men would then proceed to fight.

Although listed as World Heritage since 1840, the amphitheatres of Nimes have far from lost their status as entertainment venues; every year, numerous shows are organised here, attracting visitors from all around the region.

Corridas, shows and the Roman Games

This amphitheatre constitutes one of Nîmes’s main performance venues. During the famous ‘Férias’ celebrating Pentecost and the Harvest Festival, they play host to several bullfighting shows (the corridas), which are very popular among professionals. In summer, the amphitheatres come alive to the rhythm of the concerts that are held here.

Finally, in an attempt to revive its history, since 2010 this city has organised the Grands jeux Romains (Great Roman Games). Historic reconstructions, shows and parades are organised for this event, during which the participants wear period dress.

Not to be missed

 

  • The facade of the amphitheatre;
  • The interior galleries, providing access to the terraces;
  • The concerts organised inside the amphitheatre every year.