Nîmes is the capital of the Gard department and has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and is a popular tourist destination.
A rugged cotton twill textile, called serge, was developed here by the Andre family in the 18th Century. It was colored blue with indigo dye and referred to as serge de Nîmes (serge of Nîmes) which was later shorted to denim. (The word 'jeans' comes from the French word for Genoa in Italy (Gênes), where the first denim trousers were made.
Nîmes is famous for its colourful annual festivals, celebrating Easter and the grape harvest and bullfights (féria).
Nîmes may have been one of the richest and finest Roman cities of Gaul. Several important remains of the Roman Empire can still be seen in and around Nîmes:
The elliptical Roman amphitheatre, of the first or second century AD, is the best-preserved Roman arena in France. It was filled with medieval housing, when its walls served as ramparts, but they were cleared under Napoleon. It is still used today as a bull fighting and concert arena.
The Maison Carrée (Square House), a small Roman temple dedicated to sons of Agrippa was built c. 19 BC. It is one of the best-preserved Roman temples anywhere.
The 18th-century Jardins de la Fontaine (Gardens of the Fountain).
The nearby Pont du Gard (a Unesco world heritage site), also built by Agrippa, is a well-preserved aqueduct that used to carry water across the small Gardon river valley and is one of the most famous landmarks of France.
The nearby Mont Cavalier is crowned by the Tour Magne ("Great Tower"), a ruined Roman tower.
Later monuments include:
The cathedral (dedicated to Saint Castor of Apt, a native of the city), occupying, it is believed, the site of the temple of Augustus, is partly Romanesque and partly Gothic in style.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes is the fine arts museum of Nîmes.
Norman Foster conceived the Carré d'art (1986), a museum of modern art and mediatheque.
Situated 3 km from Nimes’ Arena, the Mas de Boudan is a boutique hotel that features two restaurants, Bistr'Au and Restaurant Gastronomique. This air-conditioned hotel offers free WiFi throughout.
The non-smoking rooms have a flat screen TV, an iPod dock, a safe, a minibar, a coffee machine and an electric kettle. The private bathrooms are equipped with a shower and come with bathrobes, slippers and a hairdryer. All rooms have a garden view.
Mas de Boudan offers a shared garden and terrace area. There is an on-site shop selling homemade and local produce. You will also find a massage service, a laundry service and business facilities at the hotel.
The property is a 9-minute drive from Nimes Train Station, 52 km from Montpellier-Mediterranee Airport and 100 km from Marseille Provence Airport. Free parking is available at Mas de Boudan.
Le Lisita - 2 boulevard des Arènes F - 30000 NIMES
This local institution houses two fine dining rooms, successfully combining old stonework and modern furniture. Contemporary cuisine and good wine list.
Alexandre - 2 RUE XAVIER TRONC F - 30128 GARONS
Tasty Provençal cooking available in elegant and resolutely modern dining rooms, opening onto a magnificent garden. Good choice of Languedoc-Roussillon wines.
Hostellerie Le Castellas - Grand'rue F - 30210 COLLIAS
Fine vaulted dining rooms opening onto the garden. Tasty inventive cuisine, flavoured with garrigue herbs.
Shogun - 38 bd Victor Hugo F - 30000 NIMES
This new town-centre restaurant invites you to discover modern and traditional Japanese food made with talent by two Japanese chefs.
Aux Plaisirs des Halles - 4 rue Littré F - 30000 NIMES
A handsome modern dining room (panelling, designer furniture) and a pleasant flower-decked patio for summer dining. Generous tasty cuisine; ample choice of regional wines.
Magister - 5 rue Nationale F - 30000 NIMES
Popular with the locals, this restaurant serves traditional cuisine with a personal touch and thematic set menus that change throughout the year. Also features original wall paintings.
Le Jardin d'Hadrien - 11 rue Enclos Rey F - 30000 NIMES
Away from the hustle and bustle. In winter, opt for the patinated beams and the warmth of the hearth. In summer, the veranda or the patio shaded by a majestic yew.
Private Provence Tour - Footsteps of the Romans Pont du Gard
The Romans chose the Eure in Uzes to supply the town of Nimes with water and they built a thirty mile aqueduct and the bridge to achieve it. Today you can learn more about the history and heritage of the city of Nimes and see the many Roman remains. There's also free time to explore the site of le Pont du Gard.
Located at 15 minutes from the centre of Nîmes and at 3 kilometres of the airport of Garons , the Golf of Nîmes Campagne is open to all golfers.
Designed by the architects Morandi and Harradine, its inauguration took place in 1968. The course is reputed for its greens and their difficulty, its narrow fairways, flanked by a colourful variety of trees. In 2003, the Golf of Nîmes Campagne was rated the 75th best golf course in Europe by the magazine Golf World, and the 26th best golf in France by the magazine Golf Européen. Simply the most beautiful golf course in Languedoc Roussillon!
Eight minutes drive from the city of Nîmes, the golf course at Vacquerolles is spread over the scented, sunny hillsides of the 'garrigue' - the scrubland typical of southern France. The 18-hole course (par 72, 6260 metres) is gently sloping with no water obstacles. There's a lively club with a mix of players of all ages and levels, and a friendly atmosphere. Take time out to visit Nîmes, which is famous for its gallo-Roman history and has some of the best preserved Roman sites in southern France. Slightly further away you'll find the fantastic Roman bridge, the Pont du Gard, the ancient Duchy of Uzès, and the countryside of the Petite Camargue.