Nîmes, have you heard of the city of Nîmes ? Located in the Occitanie region in the South of France it’s not the hot city on the French glam city trail-map, it’s has a much more subdued but very elegant style though. The first time I set foot in Nîmes I hardly new anything about the city, the idea of living in the South of France in my early twenties was exciting enough wherever the city. I didn’t arrive on a hot summer day though, rather in the height of winter, the city was beaten by a heavy and bitter cold wind, the unruly Mistral.
When I went back more than twenty years later the city had changed beyond recognition. Most of the city centre had been transformed in a pedestrian area, the wall of the elegant buildings along the train station darken by pollution had been pressure washed, were standing proud and imposing, in all their splendour in a pristine sandstone colour.
The main square had been rethought and redesigned to put all the emphasis on the Roman heritage of the city. I was taken aback, the city looked beautiful and the work done enhanced not only the city’s beauty but its incredible roman heritage and elegant buildings.
How and when visit the city,
Late Spring and early Autumn are the best time to visit the city, as it can be really hot during the summer and bitter cold in Winter. This will also give you the opportunity to visit the beautiful “Jardins de la Fontaine”. You can combine your visit with other cities nearby like Uzès and Arles.
Landmarks to visit
- Les Jardins de la Fontaine
- La Maison Carrée
- Musée de la Romanité – archeological museum
- Les Arènes
- The market Le Marché Couvert with an incredible display of fresh food, meat, fruits and veg a paradise for foodies.
- Le Pont du Gard (about 22km from Nîmes)
- Uzès (about 23km from Nîmes)
- Arles (about 33km from Nîmes)
Where to stay?
On a budget – I would recommend the Novotel Hotel close to the train station, it’s perfectly located to walk to the city centre. Be warned this is a chain hotel, the room are very functional but lack personality and the corridor looks like you step back into the 70s. You will get great value for your money though.
Looking for an exceptional place to stay? Look no further than Jardin Secrets
This place feels magical as soon as you step through the heavy walls small entrance. It’s very unique and will make you feel millions miles away from your daily routine. The decor is amazing with lots of attention to details, small lights, antiques, baroque paintings, the whole place feels like a secret garden.
Where to eat
An exceptional dining experience? Le Skab
Located near the Arena this place will offers exceptional eating because everything is fresh and made to order the menu is small, the wine list features amazing local wines.
On a budget with Vegetarian & Gluten Free Option
Try the Crêperie Le Frenchy, freestyle menu option, the galette are delicious and the service is very friendly.
Meat & gluten free
A great place for meat eaters, the meat is of great quality, don’t take your vegetarian friends there, this is a delightful place for meat eaters, with great service.
To make the most of your visit to Nîmes try to stay at least 2 days, take time to wander around in the evening, eating out, combine your visit with other beautiful local landmarks like Arles and Uzès, and don’t forget to visit the producers market, it’s just too amazing to miss. Enjoy this wonderful city!
Have you been to Nîmes and have other recommendations to add, do so in the comments .