Must-see places in Nîmes

Immerse yourself in the history and splendour of Nîmes ! In this article, I reveal the must-see treasures to visit in this city steeped in elegance and history. Discover the hidden gems that make Nîmes an unforgettable destination. Are you ready for an adventure ?

The Nîmes Arena

The Nîmes arenas are the jewel of Roman architecture

This Roman amphitheatre was built at the end of the 1st century. It was used to provide entertainment for the population of the colony of Nemausus (the ancient name of the town of Nîmes). It underwent several transformations : during the Great Invasions, it was actually a fortified village where the population came to take refuge ; then in the Middle Ages and until the 19th century, it was a district with its own streets and shops.

This really is THE monument to see when visiting Nîmes ! A true emblem of the town, its only drawback is that it still hosts bullfights. You can see it from the square, without paying, or visit it "from the inside" for €10 per adult, €5 for 7 to 17 year-olds and free for under-7s.

📍 (43.8345560, 4.3596471)

The Square House

This is the best-preserved Roman temple in the world !

This Roman temple was built in the early 1st century and was initially dedicated to Augustus in honour of his two grandsons : Lucius Caesar and Caius Julius Caesar (consuls and military leaders). Over the centuries, the temple became a consular house, a church and finally a museum of ancient art. It is hexastyle.

Like the arena, you can't come to Nîmes without seeing the best-preserved Roman temple in the world. Although it is closed until spring 2022 for renovation work, you can visit it from the outside without any problem. Look up and admire every detail of this fabulous temple...

📍 (43.8382996, 4.3560836)

The Temple of Diana

The most romantic and enigmatic monument...

Much less well preserved than the Maison Carrée, this ruined temple is a Roman monument built in the 1st century. It is centred on the nymphaeum (a pool containing a spring originally considered sacred) and dedicated once again to Augustus. Its original function is much debated : its basilica plan rules out the idea that it was a Roman temple, and the term Diana is not supported by any archaeological or historical data known today. It is possible that it housed a cultural centre, such as a library. In the Middle Ages, it housed a monastery.

Located in the Jardins de la Fontaine, this Roman temple can be visited free of charge. Unfortunately it has fallen into disrepair, but it still retains traces of the past. It's a truly magnificent place that's well worth a visit, especially as the Jardins de la Fontaine are particularly soothing.

📍 (43.8398967, 4.3487300)

The Augustus Gate

This is one of the two gates of the Roman city walls that can still be seen. 

Built in the 1st century, like most Roman monuments in Nîmes, the Porte d'Auguste (formerly known as the Porte d'Arles) was part of the city's long Roman wall, and one of its main entrances. It was one of the entry points to the via Domitia - or Domitian Way in French - (Roman road built from 118 BC onwards to link Italy to the Iberian Peninsula, crossing Narbonne Gaul).

Although it's not the most incredible monument, I think it's well worth a visit. There is a magnificent statue and Roman inscriptions : IMP CAESAR [D]IVI F AVGV[S]TVS [C]O[S] X[I] TRIBV [PO]TEST VIII [P]ORTAS MVROS COL DA[...] (meaning : The emperor Augustus son of the divine Caesar, consul for the 11th time, exercising tribunitian power for the 8th time, gave the gates and walls to the colony).

📍 (43.8394011, 4.3632882)

The church of Sainte-Perpétue and Sainte-Félicité in Nîmes

It is a Roman Catholic church.

This eclectic-style church, typical of the Second Empire, has a 71-metre high spire. It was built to plans by Léon Feuchère, the architect, and Joseph Felon, the decorator. The foundation stone was laid in October 1852 by Napoleon Bonaparte, but the shell was completed in autumn 1862 and the final alterations in 1864. It was consecrated in June of the same year.

If you visit the arena, you're bound to see this magnificent church. I'm a big fan of churches and cathedrals, and I've put it in my Top 10 of all those I've seen, even though it's not the most beautiful in Nîmes. To be seen with a stroll along the esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle...

📍 (43.8356865, 4.3632473)

The church of Saint-Baudile in Nîmes

A religious building dedicated to a Nîmes martyr.

Built in 1867 and 1877 to plans by Bordeaux architect Jean-Jules Mondet, this church is dedicated to Saint-Baudille, a martyr from Nîmes in the 3rd century. It is also the burial place of the 4th bishop of Uzès: Firmin d'Uzès. The neo-Gothic church has two bell towers on the façade, topped by 70-metre-high spires. The general appearance of Saint-Baudile church is reminiscent of the Sacré-Coeur church in Bordeaux, built by the same architect.

In my opinion, it's the most beautiful church in Nîmes and well worth a visit if you're passing through. I really fell under the spell of its architecture, it's really imposing from the outside and its volume is absolutely magnificent! It's worth a visit or a look from the outside, as it's located not far from the Porte d'Auguste.

📍 (43.8397058, 4.3640110)

Must-see places in Nîmes
Capra Pyrenaica 1 January 2024
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