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There are so many underrated cities and smaller towns in Europe, and we definitely think that Nimes France is one of them! Nimes is a beautiful town in the southern region of France known as Province. We only had one day in Nimes, so we spent our time exploring as many of Nimes’ major attractions as we could! Surprisingly, there are many places to see ancient Roman ruins in Nimes! Since we love history, we decided to explore the historic attractions in Nimes. In this day trip guide to Nimes, you’ll find the top historic things to do in Nimes, where to eat, and where to stay in Nimes, France! Here is how you can spend one day in Nimes!
One Day in Nimes France: Day Trip Guide
Top History Things to Do in Nimes
During our one evening in Nimes, we explored the remnants of Rome, which happen to be the top things to do in Nimes! It seems like no matter where you go in Europe, you find a bit of Rome! You wouldn’t think that there are Roman ruins in southern France, but Nimes is your proof! This town in southern France surprisingly has one of the most intact Roman arenas and monuments, along with Roman-inspired gardens. The best part is that all of these ruins are within walking distance of one another so you can make a full day of exploring! If you’re looking for things to do in Nimes, take some time to add some of the famous Roman ruins to your list!
Before you get to exploring Nimes, grab dinner (ie a crepe) at The Frenchy! You won’t be disappointed!
Guide to Ancient Roman Ruins in Nimes
Jardins de la Fontaine
Designed by Jacques-Philippe Mareschal, the French king’s military engineer, and the Nîmes architect Pierre Dardailhon, the Jardins de la Fontaine is a favorite spot for locals. These gardens were constructed to beautify Nimes during the 18th century. During construction, the ancient Roman ruins were rediscovered. Interestingly, the water you see in the fountains is from the natural spring that ancient Nime was founded on. Decorated with vases and statues, take some time to relax in this beautiful park.
Temple de Diane
The Temple of Diana, located in the Jardins de la Fontaine, is a mythical piece of Roman history in Nimes. It is believed it was constructed in the 2nd century, and its true purpose is still unknown. Over time, the Temple was converted into a monastery and put to ruins during the crusades.
The Arena is Nimes is one of the best preserved Roman arenas and probably the top tourist attraction in Nimes! It was constructed in 70AD and was used for gladiator fights, executions, and live shows. After the Roman Empire fell, it was taken over by the Visigoths and fortified. Today, you can visit the Arena for audio tours. Or if you’re lucky during the summer, you might be able to catch a concert at the Arena.
We literally stumbled upon this building. You wouldn’t expect such a grand piece of ancient Rman architecture to be where it is in Nimes. At first, we thought it was a replica, that’s how intact and beautiful this ancient monument appears. With its Vitruvian architecture, Maison Carrée was dedicated between 4-7 AD to Augustus’ grandsons and intended heirs, Caius and Lucius Caesar. Because of its remarkable preservation, Maison Carrée is worth the visit! Isn’t it amazing how these Roman ruins are right by the modern world, like in the image below?!
Explore the Pont du Gard
Tip: This southern region of France is known for its lavender fields. Keep an eye out during the summer months, you might stumble upon fields of purple!
Where to Stay in Nimes
While in Nimes, we stayed at Aparthotel Adagio. If you’re looking for comforts of home while abroad, stay at this hotel in Nimes! This hotel was quite a surprise for us! Equipped with a stove, microwave, fridge, and cookware, the suite was very nice for our one night stay. The bathroom and room were very spacious and comfortable. It really made us feel like we were in a hotel back home. The only downside of this place was that there wasn’t wifi while we were there because they were having router issues. But typically they do have free wifi!
The breakfast was sufficient with cereal, pastries, bread, and cheese. Breakfasts in France tend to be more filling so it was nice.
The hotel is conveniently located next to a grocery store and across the street from the local train station. It’s also a short walk from the Nimes town center. It was nice to be able to explore the town without having to walk very far! If you’re looking for a functional, nice hotel in Nimes book your stay at the Aparthotel Adagio!
Who else wants to explore Roman history in Nimes?!
As you can see, there are so many ancient Roman ruins to explore during one day in Nimes! Let us know in the comments what you’re planning on doing for your one day in Nimes.
Want to learn more about things to do in Nimes? Check out this awesome post by the Crazy Tourist!