|Canton||Nîmes-1, 2, 3 and 4 and Saint-Gilles|
|Intercommunality||CA Nîmes Métropole|
|• Mayor (2020–2026)||Jean-Paul Fournier (LR)|
|161.85 km2 (62.49 sq mi)|
|• Density||930/km2 (2,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
30189 /30000 and 30900
|Elevation||21–215 m (69–705 ft) |
(avg. 39 m or 128 ft)
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
Nîmes ( // NEEM, French: [nim] ( listen ); Occitan : Nimes [ˈnimes] ; Latin: Nemausus) is the prefecture of the Gard department in the Occitanie region of Southern France. Located between the Mediterranean Sea and Cévennes, the commune of Nîmes has an estimated population of 150,610 (2017).
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, and home to 50,000–60,000 people. Several famous monuments are in Nîmes, such as the Arena of Nîmes and the Maison Carrée. Because of this, Nîmes is often referred to as the French Rome.
The site on which the built-up area of Nîmes has become established in the course of centuries is part of the edge of the alluvial plain of the Vistrenque River which butts up against low hills: to the northeast, Mont Duplan; to the southwest, Montaury; to the west, Mt. Cavalier and the knoll of Canteduc.
Its name appears in inscriptions in Gaulish as dede matrebo Namausikabo = "he has given to the mothers of Nîmes" and "toutios Namausatis" = "citizen of Nîmes".
Nemausus was the god of the local Volcae Arecomici tribe.
The Neolithic site of Serre Paradis reveals the presence of semi-nomadic cultivators in the period 4000 to 3500 BC on the site of Nîmes.[ citation needed ]
The menhir of Courbessac (or La Poudrière) stands in a field, near the airstrip. This limestone monolith of over two metres in height dates to about 2500 BC, and is considered the oldest monument of Nîmes.
The Bronze Age has left traces of villages that were made out of huts and branches.[ citation needed ] The population of the site increased during the Bronze Age.
The hill of Mt. Cavalier was the site of the early oppidum which gave birth to the city. During the third and 2nd centuries BC a surrounding wall was built with a dry-stone tower at the summit which was later incorporated into the Tour Magne. The Volcae Arecomici people settled around the spring at the foot of Mount Cavalier and build a sanctuary to Nemausus there.
The Warrior of Grezan is considered to be the most ancient indigenous sculpture in southern Gaul.[ citation needed ]
In 123 BC the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus campaigned against Gallic tribes in the area and defeated the Allobroges and the Arverni, while the Volcae offered no resistance. The Roman province Gallia Transalpina was established in 121 BCand from 118 BC the Via Domitia was built through the later site of the city.
The city arose on the important Via Domitia which connected Italy with Hispania.
Nîmes became a Roman colony as Colonia Nemausus sometime before 28 BC, as witnessed by the earliest coins, which bear the abbreviation NEM. COL, "Colony of Nemausus".Veterans of Julius Caesar's legions in his Nile campaigns were given plots of land to cultivate on the plain of Nîmes.
Augustus started a major building program in the city, as elsewhere in the empire. He also gave the town a ring of ramparts 6 km (3.7 miles) long, reinforced by 14 towers; two gates remain today: the Porta Augusta and the Porte de France.
The Maison Carrée dating from the late 1st c. BC is one of the best-preserved temples to be found anywhere in the former Roman Empire, and appears to be almost totally intact.
The great Nimes Aqueduct, many of whose remains can be seen today outside of the city, was built to bring water from the hills to the north. Where it crossed the River Gard between Uzès and Remoulins, the spectacular Pont du Gard was built. This is 20 km (12 mi) north east of the city.
The museum 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 dating from Augustus and rebuilt in the 2nd century was not a temple but was centred on a nymphaeum located within the Fontaine Sanctuary dedicated to Augustus and may have been a library.
The city was the birthplace of the family of emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161).
Emperor Constantine (306-337) endowed the city with baths.
It became the seat of the Diocesan Vicar,[ citation needed ] the chief administrative officer of southern Gaul.
The town was prosperous until the end of the 3rd century when successive barbarian invasions slowed its development. During the 4th and 5th centuries, the nearby town of Arles enjoyed more prosperity. In the early 5th century the Praetorian Prefecture was moved from Trier in northeast Gaul to Arles.[ citation needed ]
The Visigoths captured the city in 472.
After the Roman period the Christian Church, already established in Gaul since the 1st century AD,[ citation needed ] appeared to be the last refuge of classical civilisation, as it was organised and directed by a series of Gallo-Roman aristocrats.[ citation needed ] When the Visigoths were accepted into the Roman Empire, Nîmes was included in their territory in 472, even after the Frankish victory at the Battle of Vouillé (507). The urban landscape went through transformation with the Goths, but much of the heritage of the Roman era remained largely intact.
By 725, the Muslim Umayyads had conquered the whole Visigothic territory of Septimania including Nîmes. In 736–737, Charles Martel and his brother led an expedition to Septimania and Provence, and largely destroyed the city (in the hands of Umayyads allied with the local Gallo-Roman and Gothic nobility), including the amphitheatre, thereafter heading back north. The Muslim government came to an end in 752, when Pepin the Short captured the city. In 754, an uprising took place against the Carolingian king, but was put down, and count Radulf, a Frank, appointed as master of the city. After the events connected with the war, Nîmes was now only a shadow of the opulent Roman city it had once been. The local authorities installed themselves in the remains of the amphitheatre. Islamic burials have been found in Nîmes.
Carolingian rule brought relative peace, but feudal times in the 12th century brought local troubles, which lasted until the days of St. Louis. During that period Nîmes was jointly administered by a lay power resident in the old amphitheatre, where lived the Viguier and the Knights of the Arena, and the religious power based in the Bishop's palace complex, around the cathedral, its chapter and the Bishop's house; meanwhile the city was represented by four Consuls, who sat in the Maison Carrée.
Despite incessant feudal squabbling, Nîmes saw some progress both in commerce and industry as well as in stock-breeding and associated activities.
After the last effort by Raymond VII of Toulouse, St. Louis managed to establish royal power in the region which became Languedoc. Nîmes thus finally came into the hands of the King of France.
During the 14th and 15th centuries the Rhone Valley underwent an uninterrupted series of invasions which ruined the economy and caused famine. Customs were forgotten, religious troubles developed (see French Wars of Religion ) and epidemics, all of which affected the city. Nîmes, which was one of the Protestant strongholds, felt the full force of repression and fratricidal confrontations (including the Michelade massacre) which continued until the middle of the 17th century, adding to the misery of periodic outbreaks of plague.
In the middle of the 17th century Nîmes experienced a period of prosperity. Population growth caused the town to expand, and slum housing to be replaced. To this period also belong the reconstruction of Notre-Dame-Saint-Castor, the Bishop's palace and numerous mansions (hôtels). This renaissance strengthened the manufacturing and industrial potential of the city, the population rising from 21,000 to 50,000 inhabitants.
In this same period the Fountain gardens, the Quais de la Fontaine, were laid out, the areas surrounding the Maison Carrée and the Amphitheatre were cleared of encroachments, whilst the entire population benefited from the atmosphere of prosperity.
Following a European economic crisis that hit Nîmes with full force, the Revolutionary period awoke the slumbering demons of political and religious antagonism. The White Terror added to natural calamities and economic recession, produced murder, pillage and arson until 1815. Order was however restored in the course of the century, and Nîmes became the metropolis of Bas-Languedoc, diversifying its industry into new kinds of activity. At the same time the surrounding countryside adapted to market needs and shared in the general increase of wealth.
During the Second World War, the Maquis resistance fighters Jean Robert and Vinicio Faïta were executed at Nîmes on 22 April 1943. The Nîmes marshalling yards were bombed by American bombers in 1944.
The 2º Régiment Étranger d'Infanterie (2ºREI), the main motorised infantry regiment of the French Foreign Legion, has been garrisoned in Nîmes since November 1983.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Nîmes is one of the warmest cities in France. The city has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa), being wetter than a typical Mediterranean climate, especially for its moderately rainy summers. It's slightly inland, southerly location results in hot air over the city during summer months, temperatures above 34 °C are common in July and August, whereas winters are cool but not cold. Night temps under 0 °C are common from December to February, while snowfall occurs every year.
|Climate data for Nîmes (Météo France Office-Courbessac), elevation: 59 m or 194 ft, 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1922–present|
|Record high °C (°F)||21.5|
|Average high °C (°F)||11.4|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||7.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||3.2|
|Record low °C (°F)||−12.2|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||64.1|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||5.8||4.9||5.0||6.8||6.0||4.3||3.0||3.6||5.2||6.4||7.9||5.7||64.6|
|Average snowy days||0.8||0.6||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.3||0.5||2.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||141.4||165.3||219.8||229.4||268.2||312.2||345.8||307.5||244.6||171.4||141.4||132.5||2,679.6|
|Source: Météo France|
|Climate data for Nîmes (Météo France Office-Courbessac), elevation: 59 m or 194 ft, 1961–1990 normals and extremes|
|Record high °C (°F)||20.1|
|Mean maximum °C (°F)||13.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||10.3|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||6.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||2.4|
|Mean minimum °C (°F)||−1.7|
|Record low °C (°F)||−12.2|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||60.7|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||6.9||6.4||6.7||6.7||5.8||4.8||3.1||3.8||4.7||6.7||5.5||6.2||67.3|
|Average snowy days||0.7||1.0||0.5||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.3||0.9||3.4|
|Average relative humidity (%)||71||68||63||63||64||61||56||60||67||73||72||72||65.8|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||143.5||147.4||203.1||227.6||267.8||310.2||353.8||315.3||236.6||186.7||143.9||133.0||2,668.9|
|Percent possible sunshine||51||51||56||57||59||68||77||74||64||55||50||49||59|
|Source 1: NOAA|
|Source 2: Infoclimat.fr (humidity)|
Several important remains of the Roman Empire can still be seen in and around Nîmes:
Later monuments include:
There is modern architecture at Nîmes too: Norman Foster conceived the Carré d'art (1986), a museum of modern art and mediatheque, and Jean Nouvel designed the Nemausus, a post-modern residential ensemble.
Tree-shaded boulevards trace the foundations of its former city walls.
Nîmes is historically known for its textiles. Denim, the fabric of blue jeans, derives its name from this city ( Serge de Nîmes). The blue dye was imported via Genoa from Lahore the capital of the Great Mughal.
The population of Roman Nîmes (50 AD) was estimated at 50-60,000. The population of Nîmes increased from 128,471 in 1990 to 146,709 in 2012, yet the biggest growth the city ever experienced happened in 1968, with a growth of +23.5% compared to 1962.
|Source: EHESS and INSEE (1968-2017)|
From 1810 to 1822, Joseph Gergonne published a scientific journal specializing in mathematics from Nîmes called Annales de Gergonne .
In the famous novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, in Nîmes, the procureur du roi Villefort kills the older brother of Bertuccio, a soldier in Napoleon's army, as he is en route to his home in Corsica in 1829. Bertuccio declares a vendetta on Villefort and stabs him; Villefort survives and asks for a transfer out of the city. Bertuccio later becomes a servant to the Count.
The asteroid 51 Nemausa was named after Nîmes, where it was discovered in 1858.
Two times per year, Nîmes hosts one of the main French bullfighting events, Feria de Nîmes (festival), and several hundreds of thousands gather in the streets.
In 2005 Rammstein filmed their #1 live Album Völkerball in Nîmes, and are returning in 2017.
Metallica's live DVD Français Pour une Nuit (English: French for One Night) was recorded in Nîmes, France, in the Arena of Nîmes on 7 July 2009, during the World Magnetic Tour.
Nîmes-Alès-Camargue-Cévennes Airport serves the city. The Gare de Nîmes is the central railway station, offering connections to Paris (high-speed rail), Marseille, Montpellier, Narbonne, Toulouse, Perpignan, Figueras and Barcelona in Spain and several regional destinations. The motorway A9 connects Nîmes with Orange, Montpellier, Narbonne, and Perpignan, the A54 with Arles and Salon-de-Provence.
Work is almost complete on the construction of a high-speed TGV line, Contournement Nîmes – Montpellier bypassing Nîmes and Montpellier with the LGV Méditerranée.
The new line opened to passenger service on 15 December 2019 together with a new TGV station at NIMES-PONT DU GARD, (a confusing name as it located some 12km from the city itself and 20km from the Pont du Gard).
A new station is also to be opened at the same time on the existing route between Nìmes and Avignon, thus providing connections between the new line and local rail service.
Nîmes bus station is adjacent to the city centre railway station. Buses connect the city with nearby towns and villages not served by rail. https://www.laregion.fr/transports-gard-regulier
The association football club Nîmes Olympique who has recently achieved promotion to Ligue 1 is based in Nîmes. World Archery Indoor World Cup takes place in Nîmes each year in mid January The local rugby union team is RC Nîmes.
There is a professional volleyball team located here.
Olympic swimming champion Yannick Agnel was born in Nîmes.
The city hosted the opening stages of the 2017 Vuelta a España cycling race.
Nîmes is twinned with:
Deus Nemausus is often said to have been the Celtic patron god of Nemausus (Nîmes). The god does not seem to have been worshipped outside this locality. The city certainly derives its name from Nemausus, which was perhaps the sacred wood in which the Celtic tribe of the Volcae Arecomici held their assemblies, or was perhaps the local Celtic spirit guardian of the spring that originally provided all water for the settlement, as many modern sources suggest. Or perhaps Stephanus of Byzantium was correct in stating in his geographical dictionary that Nemausos, the city of Gaul, took its name from the Heracleid Nemausios.
Gard is a department in Southern France, located in the Occitanie region. It had a population of 742,006 as of 2016; its prefecture is Nîmes. The department is named after the Gardon River; the Occitan name of the river, Gard, has been replacing the French name in recent decades, both administratively and among French speakers.
The Via Domitia was the first Roman road built in Gaul, to link Italy and Hispania through Gallia Narbonensis, across what is now southern France. The route that the Romans regularised and paved was ancient when they set out to survey it, so old that it traces the mythic route travelled by Heracles.
Beaucaire is a commune in the Gard department in the Occitanie region of southern France.
The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge built in the first century AD to carry water over 50 km (31 mi) to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). It crosses the river Gardon near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard in southern France. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all Roman aqueduct bridges, and one of the best preserved. It was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 because of its historical importance.
The Gardon or Gard is a river in southern France. It is the namesake of the department of Gard. Several of its tributaries are also called Gardon. It is 127.6 km (79.3 mi) long, and takes its source in the commune of Saint-Martin-de-Lansuscle, in the Cévennes mountain range. In its upper course it is also referred to as Gardon de Saint-Martin. From its furthest source, that of its tributary "Gardon de Saint-Jean", it is 133 km long. It flows into the Rhône at Comps, north of Beaucaire, across from Vallabrègues.
The Maison Carrée is an ancient Roman temple in Nîmes, southern France; it is one of the best preserved Roman temples to survive in the territory of the former Roman Empire.
The Cévennes is a cultural region and range of mountains in south-central France, on the south-east edge of the Massif Central. It covers parts of the départements of Ardèche, Gard, Hérault and Lozère. Rich in geographical, natural, and cultural significance, portions of the region are protected within the Cévennes National Park, the Cévennes Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO), as well as the Causses and the Cévennes, Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape. The area has been inhabited since 400,000 BCE and has numerous megaliths which were erected beginning around 2500 BCE.
Uzès is a small town and a commune in the Gard department in southern France.
Saint-Gilles or Saint-Gilles-du-Gard is a commune in the Gard department in southern France.
The Volcae were a tribal confederation constituted before the raid of combined Gauls that invaded Macedonia c. 270 BC and fought the assembled Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae in 279 BC. Tribes known by the name Volcae were found simultaneously in southern Gaul, Moravia, the Ebro valley of the Iberian Peninsula, and Galatia in Anatolia. The Volcae appear to have been part of the late La Tène material culture, and a Celtic identity has been attributed to the Volcae, based on mentions in Greek and Latin sources as well as onomastic evidence. Driven by highly mobile groups operating outside the tribal system and comprising diverse elements, the Volcae were one of the new ethnic entities formed during the Celtic military expansion at the beginning of the 3rd century BC. Collecting in the famous excursion into the Balkans, ostensibly, from the Hellene point of view, to raid Delphi, a branch of the Volcae split from the main group on the way into the Balkans and joined two other tribes, the Tolistobogii and the Trocmi, to settle in central Anatolia and establish a new identity as the Galatians.
Caveirac is a commune and a village in the Gard department in southern France. It is located 8 km (5 mi) west of Nîmes and is the first village in the Vaunage reached when travelling from Nîmes. Its early history is unclear but it was in existence by the year 893. Its main feature is the Chateau of Caveiric, a notable building which now houses the town hall. The surrounding area of plains and low hills is agricultural and there are extensive vineyards.
The architecture of Provence includes a rich collection of monuments from the Roman era, Cistercian monasteries from the Romanesque period, medieval castles and fortifications, as well as numerous hilltop villages and fine churches. Provence was a very poor region after the 18th century, but in the 20th century it had an economic revival and became the site of one of the most influential buildings of the 20th century, the Unité d'Habitation of the architect Le Corbusier in Marseille.
The Triumphal Arch of Orange is a triumphal arch located in the town of Orange, southeast France. There is debate about when the arch was built, but current research that accepts the inscription as evidence favours a date during the reign of emperor Augustus. It was built on the former via Agrippa to honor the veterans of the Gallic Wars and Legio II Augusta. It was later reconstructed by emperor Tiberius to celebrate the victories of Germanicus over the German tribes in Rhineland. The arch contains an inscription dedicated to emperor Tiberius in AD 27. On the northern (outward-facing) facade, the architrave and cornice have been cut back and a bronze inscription inserted, now lost; attempts at reconstructing its text from the placement of cramp holes for the projecting tines of its letters have not been successful. The arch is decorated with various reliefs of military themes, including naval battles, spoils of war and Romans battling Germanics and Gauls. A Roman foot soldier carrying the shield of Legio II Augusta is seen on the north front battle relief.
The term "Gallo-Roman" describes the Romanized culture of Gaul under the rule of the Roman Empire. This was characterized by the Gaulish adoption or adaptation of Roman culture, language, morals and way of life in a uniquely Gaulish context. The well-studied meld of cultures in Gaul gives historians a model against which to compare and contrast parallel developments of Romanization in other, less-studied Roman provinces.
The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Nîmes, France.
Principal Monuments of France is a series of four paintings created by Hubert Robert in 1786. They depict the ruins of several Roman structures in Provence.
The Ruins of Nîmes, Orange and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a 1789 oil on canvas painting by Hubert Robert, now in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. It combines the ruins shown in his Principal Monuments of France series, with the Maison Carrée to the left, the Triumphal Arch of Orange and Nîmes' Temple of Diana to the right and the Pont du Gard, the Triumphal Arch of Glanum and the Glanum Mausoleum in the far background.
The Arecomici or Volcae Arecomici were a Gallic tribe dwelling between the Rhône and the Hérault rivers, around Nemausus, during the Iron Age and the Roman period.
The Temple of Augustus and Livia is a Roman peripteral sine postico hexastyle Corinthian temple built at the beginning of the 1st century, which was in the center of the ancient city of Vienne, also corresponding to the center of the modern city of Vienne in the French department of Isère and the region Rhône-Alpes.
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