Nîmes: A Roman City in the South of France

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I think it's safe to say that it is in everyone's travel list to visit Rome. The Colosseum, the ruins, the temples for roman gods and all things roman! Well, I didn't get to visit Rome... not yet anyway but while I was doing research for Languedoc Rousillon, a french region in the south known for their wines, for my French class and I stumbled upon this Roman city called Nîmes (it's pronounced with a silent S) Seeing that it will be the closest I could get to Rome for now, I booked my ticket and went to explore this small city of Nîmes.

The train ride was 4 hours long and it was quite comfortable. Too comfortable that I fell asleep and missed my stop and ended up having to buy another ticket back to Nimes. I was so annoyed at the start but I didn't let it get to me because I had a full day ahead of me! I went to three main sites and for the entire thing I only had to pay €11! (link at the end) All the sites were near each other so there's no need for a car or bike. Just be sure you're wearing your walking shoes because you'll be doing a lot of walking through out the day.

Arènes de Nîmes

This is an unmissable monument. It was the first place I went to and it was where I bought the tickets. They also provided those recorded phone tours so you can listen to interesting facts about the ampitheatre as you go around. Given my petite height, I found it hard getting to the top seats of the arena because the steps were big. Also I got confused how to get up there. There were a lot of stairs and I honestly didn't know whether or not it would lead me up or down. Kind of like the grand staircase in Harry Potter but they were immobile. When I got to the top I could just imagine the atmosphere when the seats were flooded with viewers, shouting and cheering on their champions who were fighting to their deaths.

Maison Carrée

If you want to know how this Roman city emerged in the south of France then you should visit here. The entire day I was wondering how this city was here and the little movie they showed inside answered it all. If you're also hungry, there are a lot of good restaurants surrounding Maison Carrée. Expensive or on a budget they're all there. 

La Jardin de la Fontaine

Out of all the places I visited during the day, this was my favourite. There were a lot of people but the trees and plants that covoured the area were just simply beautiful. I first thought it was an old roman bath house but it was too pretty to be a bath house. The water was filled with giant koi fishes and swans. The sun was out and scene just made it the perfect day to be walking around the park. You can also find the Temple of Diana here.

To get to Tour de Magne, you'll have to go up these stairs and a few ramps and more stairs...

Tour de Magne

Again my petite legs struggled to walk up... up Tour de Magne. The narrow spiral staircase was quite the obstacle since there was only one way to get up the tower and it was also the only way down. When I got at the top, I didn't even bother to marvel at the view but find a seat and sit down with the oldies (Damn I need to get fit!). 
I know it doesn't look that tall here but if you did the walk I did to get here you too would be catching your breath.

Tour de Magne overlooks the city of Nîmes

Here are a few more pics of that spontaneous trip 

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to visit the roman aqueduct, Pont du gard, because it was too far but it definitely is a must-go-to when you are in Nîmes, especially during the summer. Despite most of my trips being based in France this trip to Nîmes really made me feel I wasn't, which is why it's so far my favourite voyage. 

A bientôt, Dawn

Helpful Links:

Tour Tickets can be bought online or at any of the sites mentioned above except at the Jardin de la Fontaine,
Information about Nimes: http://ot-nimes.fr/en

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