Nîmes cathedral

My Summer Getaway in Nîmes South France

Oh UK weather! As the temperature drops considerably and the daylight becomes significantly shorter. The usual UK gloomy weather is fast approaching. Soon the leaves will fall on the ground with different hues of yellow to brown. I love autumn, but I’m not ready as yet.

I was squeezing my last Summer getaway and heading to Nîmes. Why Nîmes? The first thing the flights are cheap, secondly, I’m missing my usual architectural photography.

As soon as I checked-in to my apartment. I was ready for my afternoon stroll along the centre de ville. So here I’ am wandering around Nîmes. It was my lucky day, just in time  to witness the last day of “La Feria“. The three day event highlights  are the “novilladas” or bullfights, usually held at the arena. And street party or so called “bodegas” (outdoor nightclubs and bars)

As well as concerts at the Square House plaza, at the Arena square and in gardens of the Fountain.

The Arena of Nîmes is a Roman amphitheatre, was built around AD 70, it was remodelled in 1863. A beautifully designed and well preserved arena, with capacity of 24,000 spectators . Up to this present time they held bullfighting during “Feria de Nîmes” and other events.  Just by the entrance you will notice a statue of Christian Montcouquiol (“Nimeño II”) a french matador.

While wandering around the Arena, you will notice the vibrant feel of the feria. Many locals enjoying the music and the shows around. Was curious about the people gathered around the fountain and soon found out, there were horse show.

And another thing that caught my eyes was the rows of pop up restaurant along the street. Have decided It’s about time to try some local food. To my surprise most of the menu list in every stall has “Paella”. As the event “La Feria” is derived from a Spanish festival that the Southern France celebrates.

Lastly the open house museum, a free entry to most of the museums. I took the chance to visit as many museums  as I can on that afternoon.  I visited the Maison Carrée  ( Square house ) was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa around 19 BC during the reign of Caesar Augustus, they showcased the history how they built Nîmes. (Nîmes was named after Nemausus, the genie of a sacred fountain, was the capital of a Gaulish tribe).

If your looking for a quiet place or somewhere to go for a picnic. Jardins de la Fontaine is amazing walk in the 15 hectares park. The 17th-century park has Roman ruins, botanic gardens, and beautiful sculptures adorned around the ponds.

Adjacent to the garden, there’s another important place to visit The Tour Magne ( the Great Tower ). Why not to go and hike up the hill of Mont Cavalier, it is the highest point of the city. You will find the remnant of the ancient Augustinian fortifications.

Nîmes is very small place and two days is enough for sightseeing. But if you have extra couple of days to spare, why not explore the nearby cities!

Nîmes has the best transport network, making it easier to visit different cities nearby for a day trips. I did planned to visit Arles. Arles is located in Provence Region just south of Nîmes, overlooking the Rhone River. The impressively well preserved ancient city to medieval architecture within the city walls.

It is also a UNESCO Heritage list, that showcased  some impressive  Roman monuments.

 The  Amphitheater is the famous landmark of Arles, it was once home of fierce gladiatorial battles. Now a days they held bullfighting, plays and concerts, that attracts millions of visitors.

 Walking around the narrow street was a bliss, it was so quiet and it feels like I got the whole place on my own. There are few locals walking around but not so crowded.

 As I wandered around and getting lost on those side street, was a great opportunity for my architectural photography. The place is so photogenic, in every corner there’s something special about it.

On the following day, I headed to Avignon. Once a seat of the papacy during the 14th century.  The well preserved fortress and the stunning Papal Palace, also known the Palais des Papes. It is largest and claimed to be most important medieval Gothic building in Europe.

After some time taking-in the stunning views overlooking the Rhone River. I continued wandering around the garden palace, I followed the narrow fortress sidewalk toward the Pont d’Avignon also known “Pont Saint-Bénézet”. The medieval bridge is the famous landmark of Avignon. The 4 arches is the remains of a 22 arches damaged by crusaders and floods, was believed to have been built in around 1345.

I almost sing and dance along to a kids rhyme song; Sur le pont d’Avignon,On y danse, on y danse. As I meander along the promenade taking lots of photos, I stopped for a moment watching, people along the bridge taking selfie.

I have also visited the famous aqueduct. Pont du Gard an example of humankind artistic masterpiece. The 50 km long bridge and stands  50 meters high spanning across the Gard river. That used to deliver water across Nîmes to private homes and public establishments. It is a World UNESCO Heritage list.

I had a blissful time in Nîmes and wonderful days out in Arles, Avignon and Pont du Gard. Now I think I’m ready for the Autumn season, I’m so excited I’m heading to the Wild Atlantic Coast for my next trip!

Insider’s Tip:

  • Getting into the city centre from the airport, you can take the airport bus called “Nevette”. Buy the ticket from the driver and the end point will be the Nimes Routtier/bus Station just behind the Gare de Nimes/ train station.
  • if you are planning to visit different town. I highly suggest get a day ticket from Edgard bus, their office is just  in front of the bus station. You can use the same ticket with local bus too!
  • The best time to visit Nimes and the nearby cities is during “La Feria”. They celebrate it during  May and September. You will witness the local customs like bullfighting, and lots going on around the city. Plus during the festival, most of the museums are free of charge.

30 thoughts on “My Summer Getaway in Nîmes South France

  1. Great post! very insightful into Nimes! i have only passed through there on my travels, but it looks like its worth a few days of looking around! Loving the photos!

  2. What gorgeous pictures! I remember arriving at the Pont du Gard in the 5am dawn, having driving through the night with my mum and stepdad from the ferry at Cherbourg. Even teenage me was happy to be woken up to see that amazing place, although I may have grumped a bit at first. It’s a lovely part of France, and you’ve shown off its beauty brilliantly to this fellow architecture lover.

  3. I can see why you loved it – those pictures are gorgeous. Would love a hike up those hills, and also a visit to the Arena of Nîmes and the fortifications – just the kind of buildings I love (I’m a history buff!)

    1. I love visiting historic places those amazing architectural designs are so wonderful for a stroll photography. And yes visiting Pont du Gard and hiking around the area was so much fun!

  4. I’m French but never went to Nimes! It’s such a beautiful city. I like the sharpness of the pictures; that perfectly matches the architecture you are capturing!

  5. Your photos are very good. The buildings you have captured are beautiful works of art and Nîmes is a beautiful city with many well-preserved monuments. I have not heard about it before, but it is definitely worth visiting.

    1. Actually only went to Nîmes as there’s a low cost flight, I really wanted to visit Avignon and Pont du Gard. But no regrets visiting Nîmes as it turn out it’s beautiful place for stroll photography and great history as well so it’s a win win!

  6. We travelled through a bit of southern France back in 2012, but unfortunately not to Nîmes. It looks like such a gorgeous place. I really love how well preserved the Arena is. I honestly didn’t realise that the Roman Colosseum wasn’t the last one standing.

  7. Definitely looks like an incredible place for architectural photography! I’m so jealous of UK residents who have Europe at their doorstep, and can jump over for a quick getaway – Nîmes looks great! I had no idea that there was so much Roman architecture – if I had seen your photos out of context I definitely would have guessed Rome.

    Jardins de la Fontaine looks like a beautiful place to picnic and walk for an afternoon – seriously, I’m blown away by the architecture and ruins here! So many opportunities for photography – Nimes really is very photogenic! My favorite of your shots is of Pont d’Avignon- if the cars weren’t there it would look like a recreation from the middle ages!

    1. We are lucky to have cheap flights around Europe, it makes it easy for us to travel and avoid the grumpy UK weather ?. Yes Nîmes is perfect for architectural photography and great history about the place too!

  8. What an enchanting place Nimes is, nothing short of a revelation for me. The architectural wonders are magnificent and you have captured every nuance lovingly and with stunning effect. My favourite is the aqueduct and the amphitheatre which resounds with the spirit of the Colosseum in Rome.

    1. Actually the architectural designs of the place is only reason I visited Nîmes and I wasn’t disappointed at all for a great photography stroll around!

  9. Oh wow Nîmes! I’ve never heard of this name but it sure blows my mind away! Your photography is really beautiful and it captures all the details so magically. I love to visit and check out Nîmes!

  10. A lot of interesting Roman architecture and the town looks quiet and pleasurable for a weekend getaway. (that’s really important to just get away from the crowd and have some peace). Thanks for introducing this city!

  11. I’ve never heard of Nîmes and it looks fabulous! I’m not into bullfighting so I would probably skip this fiesta, but I will definitely enjoy the beautiful architecture and all the historical Greco-Roman buildings. Adding Nîmes in my list!

  12. Nîmes!! haven’t heard before. It is worth to give it a visit since the museums are free and as you said the flight is cheap. Did you fly from London? is yes, which airport. I kinda love your photos

  13. I’m glad you were able to soak up a last little bit of summer in Nîmes. Not only that but also getting to catch the last day of a festival! It looks like a gorgeous city and great insider tip about the bus to take from the airport.

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