The Imperator, an impressive hotel in Nîmes


Occitanie Entertainment and NightlifeCities

Entrée de l'hôtel L'Imperator à Nîmes.
© Stefan Kraus - Entrée de l'hôtel L'Imperator à Nîmes.

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 13 February 2024, updated on 15 April 2024

In Nîmes, there are the Arenas, the Maison Carrée and the Magne Tower, magnificent Gallo-Roman remains. Since 1929, there is also an iconic hotel, known to all feria aficionados. Ernest Hemingway, Ava Gardner, Picasso, El Cordobés and all the greatest bullfighters have stayed there. After a spectacular renovation, the Imperator has just reopened its doors, offering its 5 stars under the great sun of the south of France, in Occitania.

Distinguished by the prestigious affiliation Leading Hotels of the World, on a par with some of the great Parisian Palaces, L'Imperator is the new address in Nîmes. On the edge of the quays, a stone's throw from the Maison Carrée, the Jardin de la Fontaine and not far from the Musée de la Romanité, this mythical hotel in the capital of the Gard, founded by the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits at the beginning of the last century, has been given a new lease of life.

L'une des 53 chambres de l'hôtel L'Imperator, à Nîmes.
© Stefan Kraus - L'une des 53 chambres de l'hôtel L'Imperator, à Nîmes.

The Maison Albar Hotels brand has entrusted its architectural metamorphosis to Atelier COS, also involved in the renovation of the Ritz in Paris and the Cheval Blanc in Courchevel. Inside, Marcelo Joulia, from the Naço agency, has sublimated the decor, transforming the Imperator into an irresistible 5-star boutique hotel where charm and French art de vivre are combined with roundness, audacity and elegance.

An oasis in the city

Once past the pop glass roof over the entrance, welcome to the intimacy of a house that has managed to maintain its standing. The Art Deco imprint of the origins has been preserved, such as the historic lift and the monumental grand staircase, but sublimated by contemporary touches without forgetting the nods to the city of Nîmes and its bullfighting tradition. 53 rooms, including 4 suites, and soon 8 private houses with terraces, welcome couples and families in an oasis of tranquillity in the heart of the city of Nîmes

You walk in the footsteps of legendary personalities. The great American writer Ernest Hemingway, the Hollywood actress Ava Gardner and the bullfighter El Cordobés have all stayed there, and the Imperator has always been the place to be during the Nîmes férias. Notice to aficionados! The greatest bullfighters in the world always take up residence there, at Whitsun and in September, between two bullfights or novilladas at the nearby Arenas.

Restaurant de l'hôtel L'Imperator, à Nîmes.
© Jean-Claude Azria - Restaurant de l'hôtel L'Imperator, à Nîmes.

One can prefer the calm to the clamour of the party. In terms of relaxation, L'Imperator offers its guests a 350 m² spa under the expertise of Codage, the French brand of customised cosmetics. Massages, hammam, sensory shower, indoor pool, jacuzzi, barber shop... To each his own moment of well-being. In the summer, the mild Mediterranean climate of Occitania also promises delicious moments by the sublime outdoor pool, as if levitating above the large garden.

The sense of celebration

To add flavour to the stay, the three-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire is also pulling out all the stops. True to his creative, atypical and gourmet cuisine, he has signed the menus of the gastronomic restaurant Duende (opening planned for autumn 2019), the brasserie L'Impé and the Bar Hemingway, in tune with the beautiful energy of Nîmes. Férias, Flamenco Festival, concerts in the Arenas, Great Roman Games, Nîmes Thursdays... All year round, the Imperator is the precious accomplice of the great cultural and festive events animating the city.

For those who wish, the party can even continue in the hotel's mythical interior garden where, in keeping with tradition, beautiful Hispanic sounds will resound with gipsy guitarists and Sevillian dancers. Olé!

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