Weekend Breaks to Nimes
Planning a short break to Nimes? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Nimes. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Nimes. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.
Top 10 Things in Nimes on a Short Break
Hôtel Concorde is one of the better cheap hotels in the center of "vieille ville". The small but adequate single and double rooms with shower, toilet and TV are well priced. Breakfast in bed is an added bonus. 3 rue des Chapeliers (Tel: 04 66 67 91 03)
The restaurant serves a 59F "menu" which includes wine. Its speciality is "cêrpes" (34F) such as "savoureuse" (mozzarella and smoked salmon) and the "délicieuse" (mushrooms and spinach). Don't leave without having "caladons" (honey cookies sprinkled with almonds) which are an indigenous delight of Nimes. 3 rue des Greffes (Tel: 04 66 67 21 70)
Concerts, movies, plays, and operas are held at the "arènes" throughout the year, but are much more popular in the summer time. Past acts have included Play Charles and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with prices ranging from between 60F to 300F. For info and bookings, contact the Bureau de Location des Arènes. (Tel: 04 66 67 28 02)
The largest and most loved of the three important féria's, the other two being Féria de Primaveria (February) and Féria des Vendages (September). For 5 days in June, the streets resound with parades, music, and the clattering of hooves as bulls are herded to the "arènes" for life and death combat. Meanwhile, the nights are spent dancing, singing and boozing.
This neat, jewel-like temple is nothing like its name, Square House. It is in fact long and rectangular. Built in 5AD its possibly dedicated to Jupiter, Juno, or Minerva. It survived the centuries as a meeting hall, a private residence, a stable, a church and, after the Revolution an archive. The temple stands in its own small square opposite rue Auguste. A mishmash of antiques are housed in the inner sanctum.
A new example of French architectural boldness, is the ultra-modern Carrèe d'Art designed by Englishman Norman Foster. Lights pour in through the glass walls and roof, giving it a grace and weightlessness that makes it seem like your outdoors. Housed within a state-of-the-art library of newspapers, periodicals, books, CDs and videos. There is a roof-terrace café at the top, overlooking the Maison Carrèe.
Gazing at this ruined temples numerous marble sculptures, and lush flora, is the perfect way to pass a sunny afternoon. This formal garden's awesome fountains and reflecting pools use the water from the Nemauses spring. Built by an 18th century military engineer after the 17th century designs of Le Notre.
Built in the Iron Age, it was renovated by Augustus in 15BC for use in the city's ramparts. The 32-metre tower rises from Augustus's city walls, with a terrific view out over the surrounding countryside. It is claimed that on a good day you can see as far as Pic da Canigou on the edge of the Pyrenees. Climb the staircase up the park, at the Temple of Diana, to reach it. (Tel: 04 66 67 65 56)
Arcs - This art museum, housed in a Neoclassical building with Roman mosaic floors and marble pillars, contains paintings of the 15th to 19th centures as well as temporary exhibits, from the French, Italian, Flemish, and Dutch schools. The highlight is the huge Gallo-Roman mosaic showing the "Marriage of Admetus". Rue da la cité Foule. (Tel: 04 66 67 38 21)
The museum resides in an old 17th century palace and has a huge display of Renaissance furnishings and décor and documents to do with local histories.
Watch out for the thoroughly detailed 18th century billiard table. PI. Aux Herbes (Tel: 04 66 36 00 64)
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