TOP 5 FOR NIMES
- Tour the Roman amphitheatre (Arenes de Nimes)
- Wander the Jardins de la Fontaine
- Take in the Musee des Beaux-Arts
- Watch the multimedia historical movie in the Maison Carree
- Enjoy some local wine 🙂
Nimes is a town roughly equidistant from Montpellier and Marseille, but slightly inland. It has a rich history dating back to the Roman period, when it was located on the Via Domitia, a Roman Road connecting Italy to Spain. It’s a gorgeous little place, albeit slightly sleepy – there is no hustling and bustling downtown area, just winding side streets which sometimes spill onto unexpected astonishing Roman ruins. The Roman Amphitheatre, the Nimes version of the Colliseum – smaller and round rather than oval, is one such example. The Maison Carree, a completely preserved ancient Roman temple, is another example – smack dab in the middle of the city surrounded by modern 20th century buildings. A very interesting juxtaposition to say the least! A stroll through the Jardins de la Fontaine, and then up the hill beyond them, will reward you with gorgeous views of the city.
Where to stay: Hotel-Cote-Patio is a 3 star hotel on a side street about 10 minutes from the central old town. The rooms were small but tastefully decorated, and with the typical European half-shower that tall people have no hope of having an enjoyable shower in. Rates (55-70 euro per night for a double room) included breakfast on the patio at the back of the hotel, which was beautiful. And lucky us, the night we arrived it was the 2 year anniversary of the hotel! Which translated into a big birthday bash on the back patio which all guests were invited to. There was an open bar with mixed drinks, local wines, beer, and then a food table loaded with a huge clay pot of steaming mussels, bread for dipping, cheese boards, meat boards, and several other appetizers! Crazy, and definitely not your standard “free food”. We thoroughly enjoyed sampling everything and realized we didn’t really need to go spend money on dinner afterwards 🙂
Where to eat: our second night in Nimes we ventured to a recommended Tapas Bar – Le Petit Mas. It was completely hopping at 8 pm and while we would have loved to sit outside there was only space inside. After sampling some local red wine, we both selected a salad for dinner, “L’Oceane” for me and “La Perigourdine” for my friend. Both were totally awesome, and the presentation was great too- arriving on slate boards with artistically placed ingredients littering the plate.