Nimes is a small town in the south of France, with a particular charm. It has a rich history that dates back to Roman times and is full of its remains. But it is also the perfect combination of ancient architecture and the charm of a city in the south of France. It is possible to visit it in one day, although I would dedicate at least two days to see everything calmly and really enjoy it. We visit it periodically because we live nearby, here I let you know what to see in Nimes in one or two days.
What To see in Nimes? How much time do you need?
To visit the highlights of Nîmes, you can spend a full day and cover most things. If you want to visit everything at a more relaxed pace and enjoy the atmosphere of the city, you could stay in the center and then continue the visit in the morning, and then leave and see nearby places that are very beautiful, such as Anduze and the Bambouseraie; Arles, or Santa Maria del Mar. All these places are at a distance between 45min and 1h by car.
Spot you Have to Absolutely See
If you arrive by car, we recommend you park near the Jardins de la Fontaine, on Avenue Jean Jaures. If you arrive in the morning on a hot season day, I recommend you start with the Gardens, otherwise leave them last.
It is not necessary to pay for tickets to admire most of the monuments, but if you want to enter each one I recommend that you use what they call the 3 Monuments Pass or the Romanité Pass, which also includes the Museum of Romanity.
– Les Jardins de la Fontaine –
A good part of these gardens is located on a hill, these beautiful gardens offer impressive views of the city and have an ancient Roman fountain. Stroll the trails, enjoy the lush greenery, and admire the statue of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt. And the water conduction system devised by the Romans. This is a point to relax.
In the part of the Gardens, you will find the Tour Magna, you can also arrive by car directly from the top if you are not going to walk up through the gardens.
After visiting the gardens, you can continue along the Quai des Jardins, along the canal, and enter Rue Gaston Boissier:
At that intersection is a 5-star hotel Maison Albar-L’imperator that has a couple of gastronomic restaurants (La Brasserie L’Impe and the Restaurant Duende with 2 Michelin stars) if you want to try sophisticated cuisine.
Continuing on this route that I indicate, and which is the one we usually do, you arrive at the Maison Carré.
– La Maison Carré –
La Maison Carrré is a magnificent Roman temple dedicated to the adopted sons of Augustus. Its perfectly preserved façade and elegant architecture will transport you back to Roman times. Today, the building houses a small art museum and a projection room.
The building is truly imposing, and the light color of the stone is almost blinding on a sunny day. Really beautiful.
If after seeing the Maison Carré you continue on foot along the Boulevard Victor Hugo you will arrive at the Arenas.
– Les Arenes de Nimes –
Among the things to see in Nimes, one of the highlights is undoubtedly the Arenas; a Roman amphitheater, built in the 1st century AD, this amphitheater is one of the best preserved in the world and offers a fascinating insight into ancient Roman life. Currently, it hosts concerts, events, and sometimes bullfights.
– Museum of Romanity –
If you are passionate about Roman history, you cannot miss the Museum of Romanity. This modern museum houses an impressive collection of Roman artifacts, including sculptures, mosaics, and everyday objects. Through interactive and multimedia exhibits, you will be able to immerse yourself in the history of Nîmes and understand its importance in the Roman world.
It is right in front of the Arenas, impossible not to see it.
Where to Eat in Nimes
Nimes is a small city, but nevertheless, it is full of good places to eat. Some are more relaxed others more elegant and gastronomic.
If you want to tempt the restaurants with Michelin stars, in Nimes you will find several, and specifically in the center are:
Duende: I already mentioned it to you before, and that it is inside the L’Imperator hotel. It has 2 Michelin stars.
Rouge: also in the center of the city. has a star. Very beautiful place.
If you want simpler dishes, the options are numerous. We have a favorite: Le Dé-K-Lé for lunch without much pretension but correct or else in a slightly more refined environment and with more elaborate dishes, the Bistrot Gigi that belongs to the Chouleur hotel as well as the Rouge restaurant.