Located in Southern France near Spain, Nimes has a rich history dating back to Roman times. You can still see the Roman ruins spread out throughout the town and this is just one of the reasons why so many people visit Nimes each year. The Pont de Gard
aqueduct alone, built in early AD, draws millions of sightseers annually. And if you want to see a truly amazing piece of Roman architecture, the Amphitheatre is, without doubt, one of the town’s most beautiful landmarks. Yet another Roman must-see is Maison Carrée, a first century temple. With all these sites, it’s an idea to phone ahead to check opening times.
Where to stay
Provence has some of the most characterful hotels and guesthouses in all of France. Le Pré Galoffre is a good choice. It’s a renovated farmhouse situated in rambling vineyards with a pool and an outdoor eating area. For something more central, the Hotel Majestica
is excellent value and offers quirky, unpretentious accommodation in town. If you’re in the mood for splashing out on something more luxurious, the Hotel Imperator
is located in one of the best neighbourhoods in town and offers canal views from many of the plush rooms.
What to eat in Nimes
Aside from the Roman ruins, one of the other big attractions in Nimes has to be the food. Situated so close to Spain means influences from both countries creep into the local cuisine. Try the traditional local dish, brandade de morue, a decadent dish of salt cod and garlic mayonnaise finished with a potato puree crust and baked in the oven. L’Ancien Théâtre is a good place to sample this and other local delicacies. This refined establishment is a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike and specialises in fish and seafood. It also offers a fine cheeseboard. Make sure you book in advance. For something a little different (and easier on the wallet), find La Truyes qui Filhe in the old city. This is a simple, but authentic self-service restaurant where the food is as good as what you will eat in more expensive eateries. For a pre-dinner aperitif, La Grande Bourse
is a brewery-cum-restaurant where both Salvador Dali and Ernest Hemingway use to hang out. Or, for self-caterers, check out Le Halles, a covered food market off Boulevard Gambetta for local produce.
Time for wine
If you tire of the Roman ruins, it’s worth remembering that you’re in one of the great wine producing regions of France, and no visit to this area would be complete without a wine tour. A local travel agency will set you up or if you’ve hired a car, you can always go exploring the local countryside on your own. The Chateâu de la Tuilerie
is worth a visit for both the wine and the scenery. Wine tasting is offered all year round and, if you find something you like, it can be worth your while to buy a few bottles to take home as a souvenir of your trip.