Get culture at the Musée de la Romanité
Located opposite the Arena of Nîmes, the Musée de la Romanité (Museum of Roman History) covers 25 centuries of history and displays some 5,000 pieces of archeology. Journey through the history of the Occitan city, discovering the influence of Roman civilization up to the present day. After the visit, treat yourself to a gourmet break at the museum's brasserie, La Table du 2, whose menu is created by the double Michelin-starred chef Franck Putelat, or have a drink on the rooftop bar and soak in the panoramic views of the city: the architect of the museum, Elizabeth de Portzamparc, wanted to create a living space in its own right. She's more than succeeded, as the Museum of Roman History has become one of the key spots to visit in Nîmes!
Do as the Romans do at the Maison Carrée
Rising like a dream on the corner of two streets is the Maison Carrée. With its architecture inspired by the temples of Apollo and Mars Ultor in Rome, this monument seems straight out of the days of Julius Caeser or Nero. This is the only temple in the ancient world to have been fully preserved, thanks to its multiple transformations over the centuries. Indeed, the Maison Carrée was in turn stable, church, departmental archives and, more suitably, a museum! You can almost hear the swish of the togas and clap of sandals standing in front of the columned edifice.
Go back in time at the Arènes de Nîmes
Measuring 133 meters (436 feet) long, 101 meters (331 feet) wide and 21 meters (68 feet) high, the amphitheater of Nîmes, also called Arènes de Nîmes, is a must-see stop in the city! In the past, the theatre was used to host gladiator or animal fights, but today it is for various cultural events. Of course, the arenas are open to visitors. If you are a lover of architecture and history, you'll be speechless visiting this landmark that seems to be lifted right from Gladiator.
Wander in the Jardins de la Fontaine
The loveliest place in Nîmes to go for a walk, the Jardins de la Fontaine are also historic! Created in the 18th century on a hill in the center of the city, the gardens cover part of the ancient site of the original water source of the city. This is why, as you walk, you will come face to face with vases and statues testifying to the gardens' aquatic past. Classified as a "Remarkable Garden" by the Ministry of Culture, the Jardins de la Fontaine are ideal to get lost in and to enjoy the benefits of flora on the body and mind. To look out for: the rock garden, the Mazet garden and the aquatic plants of the Montgolfier basin.
Dream about the "hôtels particuliers" mansions
Nîmes is home to many "hôtels particuliers" (private mansions), each more spectacular than the last, which act as stone-and-mortar testimontials of history. Among them, spot the the Hôtel de Bernis with its 15th century Gothic facade, the Hôtel de Régis for its Roman funerary stelae, or the Hôtel de Fontfroide from the 17th century with its majestic staircase sporting magnificent banisters. Fans of artisinal touches will also love the ironwork ramp of the Hotel Boudon, dating from the 18th century.
Take a break at the L’Imperator
Located a stone's throw from Maison Carrée, Maison Albar Hotels L'Imperator is a 5-star hotel created in 1929, completely renovated in 2019. Here, everything can be summed up in three words: luxury, calm and pleasure. Everything is calibrated to please, especialy the Art Deco style rooms and suites, bathed in light and dressed in fine materials (marble, wood and natural stones). L'Imperator has two swimming pools, a cocktail bar, a brasserie and a gourmet restaurant, the menu created by chef Pierre Gagnaire. Let yourself be carried away by the sweetness of life in Nîmes, in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and Ava Gardner, two prestigious guests of L'Imperator.
Getting to Nîmes