Gladiators, 23,000 spectators, show-stopping spectacles. That live on. The arenas in Nîmes (70BC) are the best preserved from Ancient Roman times. They still host festivals such as the Féria de Nîmes and famous Great Roman Games.
As you walk up Boulevard Victor Hugo you'll be blown away by the Maison Carrée: the only Ancient Roman temple to be entirely untouched. It was built in honour of Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar, the adopted grandon and son of Emperor Augustus.
Arenes and Maison Carrée open all year. You can also gaze at them from the café terraces on the square redesigned by the architect Lord Norman Foster. He is also behind the staggering Carré d’Art, the contemporary art museum in Nîmes.
Head for Nîmes, Pont du Gard and Uzès, #GrandSiteOccitanie, travel back in time and explore the Roman villages and monuments! Faustine Pont, singer and native of Nîmes shares her top tips.
Opposite the arenas, the Musée de la Romanité is a feast for the senses with its highly contemporary architecture and its way of plunging you into the history of Nîmes. The restaurant, grounds and panoramic city views are the cherry on the cake.
This go-to park is where locals love to linger: the Jardins de la Fontaine was one of the first public parks in Europe. It was built around Gallo-Roman relics (the temple of Diana) in the 18th century. Tackle the steep part of the park to climb up to Tour Magne, the last remnant of the Roman walls. The tower stands at the highest point of the city, Mont Cavalier. The views are fantastic from the top of the 32m tower.
Top events: the Férias de Nîmes. The city is alive with Hispanic energy in the form of corridas, abrivados, parades and Sevillian dances for 5 days at Pentecost and 3 days in September.
35 mins north-east of Nîmes, the first time you see the Pont du Gard is a shock to the system. The 3-storey Roman aqueduct is the last one standing today. The 275m bridge is also the tallest in the world (49m). This impressive structure was listed by UNESCO in 1985 and was part of a 50km aqueduct: this one supplied Nemausus (Nîmes) with water for 5 centuries! Plan to spend at least half a day to see all the monument and visitor areas: archaeological museum covering 2500 m2, cinema area, exhibitions, workshops etc.
From mid-May to the end of August, at nightfall, the Pont du Gard lights up and reveals all the beauty of its ancient architecture, thanks to magnificent plays of light.
The Pont du Gard lies in the heart of 165 hectares of unspoilt nature: there's a perimeter to protect both the site and the many species of plants and animals living here: Bonelli's eagles, herons, Eurasian eagle owls and beavers nest on the edge of the monument.
In summer you can bask on the beaches 200m from the bridge and swim in the Gardon (play area and lifeguards in summer).
Take the family on the Mémoire de garrigue trail: 1.4km through the vineyards, olive trees and green oaks.
"The Pont du Gard, my favorite place to spend a day with the family! ": Martine, our Gard Tourism expert, knows this great site very well and tells you all that you need to see and do to transform your visit to the Pont of the Gard for an unforgettable experience.
Soak up Southern French style in France's first Duchy, Uzès. Approved as a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire, visitors flock to Uzès to see its stunning Duke's Château (Duchy) watched over by 3 tall towers. Don't miss its cathedral next to a Lombardy-style belfry. Then enjoy wandering around the medieval lanes peppered with Renaissance mansions, cafés, shops and boutiques.
Set your alarm on Saturday to make the most of the region's acclaimed boho chic market on Place aux Herbes.