Nîmes sprang forth from a natural spring. And although, today, the town appears as tranquil as the ponds in the Jardins de la Fontaine, it froths and foams at the heart of local legends. The town is named after Nemausus, the mysterious god of spring water, which later became 'Nîmes' in medieval Occitan.
Nîmes became really Romanised during the first century BC. Emperor Augustus and his successors made the town a standard bearer for Roman civilisation in Gaul. The town grew and created sumptuous monuments. The Temple to Diane was part of the imperial sanctuary of the Source of the Fountain.
At the summit of Mount Cavalier, the highest point in town, stands Tour Magne. This prestigious monument can be seen from miles around. It was the highest and the most majestic tower on Roman territory.
The Maison Carrée (square house) is the best preserved of all Roman temples. Inspired by the religious edifices of Imperial Rome, it is strikingly pure in design. It dominated the antique town's forum. Its walls are currently being restored. The Carré d’Art stands opposite the Maison Carrée, housing a museum of contemporary art and a media library.
Modelled on Rome's coliseum, Nîmes' arena is a perfect example of the Roman amphitheatre, a place of entertainment. Stones with holes jut out at the top; they held the masts of a giant canopy, a huge canvas that protected the audience from the sun or inclement weather. Beneath the vaults, circular galleries and corridors led the spectators to their seats. Inside, over 20,000 people could watch the gladiators hunt and fight. The amphitheatre was designed to ensure that everyone could see everything happening down on the floor. Today, the arena is a prestigious venue, regularly transformed into a huge theatre. It is also the hub of Nîmes' bullfighting festival, attracting thousands of spectators from all over the globe.
List of places visited
Jardins de la Fontaine (XVIIIe)
Temple de Diane
Porte de France
Carré d’art / Architecte Lord Foster
L'amphithéâtre romain : « Les Arènes »
As de Nîmes
Hôtel de ville
Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Castor de Nîmes
Grand Temple protestant
Temple de l’oratoire
Cimetière Protestant (1778)
Fontaine de Pradier
Square de la Couronne « Alphonse Daudet 1840-1897 »
Place du Marché
Chapelle des Jésuites XVIIe
Hôtel de Fontfroide
Hôtel de Bernis
A DVD Postcard
This new concept comprises an envelope, a mini-DVD and a postcard for sending a personal message. Simply stick a stamp on the envelope at the normal letter rate, then pop it in a post box. The mini-DVD can be viewed on any DVD player, gaming device, PC or MAC. The postcard measures 10.5cm x 15cm.
6 audio versions : FRANÇAIS, OCCITAN, ANGLAIS, ALLEMAND, ITALIEN, ESPANOL.
Music performed by Groupe OC
Total running : 13 minutes