Dubbed the most Roman city outside Italy, Nîmes has a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire when the city was a regional capital. Several famous monuments are in Nîmes, such as the Arena of Nîmes (map) and the Maison Carrée (map). Because of this, Nîmes is often referred to as the French Rome.
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Les Arènes (Roman Amphitheatre) a well preserved Roman arena that hosts bull fighting festivals in September. It was built 100 AD to seat 24,000 spectators It seats 10,000 when full and is an amazing site.
Maison Carrée (Square House, map). One of the best preserved Roman temples in the former Roman Empire is to be found here in Nîmes. It was constructed approximately 2 CE, not long after the founding of the city by Emperor Augustus.
The Museum Romanité (map) contains many fine objects including mosaic floors, frescoes and sculpture from rich houses and buildings found in excavations in and near the city. It is known that the town had a civil basilica, a curia, a gymnasium and perhaps a circus.
The amphitheatre is very well preserved, dates from the end of the 2nd century and was one of the largest amphitheatres in the Empire. The so-called Temple of Diana (map) dating from Augustus and rebuilt in the 2nd century was not a temple but was centred on a nymphaeum located within the Fontaine Sanctuary (map) dedicated to Augustus and may have been a library.
Jardin de la Fontaine (Fountain Gardens, map). These beautiful gardens were created in 1745, becoming the first public park in France and one of the first in Europe. It is decorated with a number of waterways and fountains, beautiful statues from Montpellier and the ruins of the Roman Temple of Diane. Climbing the steps or ramps at the back of the park up to the highest point in Nîmes, one finds the Magne Tower.