Nîmes is a city and commune of southern France, préfecture (capital) of the Gard département.
Population (1999): 133,424.
The city derives its name from Nemausus 'From The Nile'. The contemporary symbol and shield of the city of Nîmes, a crocodile chained to a palm tree with the inscription 'COLNEM' or short version of 'Colonia Nemausus', is a reference to the colony of Roman legions veterans in Caesar's Nile campaigns. At the end of fifteen years of soldiering, the veterans were given plots of land to cultivate on the plain of Nîmes.
Nîme was located on the Via Domitia, a Roman road constructed in 118 BC, connecting Italy to Spain.
The site on which the built-up area of Nimes has become established in the course of centuries is part of the edge of the alluvial plain of the Vistrenque River which buts up against low hills: to the North-East, the Mr. Duplan; to the South-West, Montaury; to the West, Mt. Cavalier and the knoll of Canteduc.
The menhir of Courbessac (or La Poudriere) stands in a field, near the airstrip. This limestone monolith of over 2 metres in height dates to about 2500 BC, and must be considered as the oldest monument of Nimes.
Nîmes may have been one of the richest and finest Roman cities of Gaule. Several important remains of the Roman Empire can still be seen in and around Nîmes:
The elliptical Roman amphitheatre, of the 1st or 2nd century AD, is the best-preserved Roman arena in France. It filled with medieval housing, when its walls served as ramparts, but was cleared under Napoleon. It is still used today as a bull fighting and concert arena.
The Maison Carrée (Square House), a small Roman temple dedicated to sons of Agrippa was built cc. 19 BC. It is one of the best-preserved Roman temples anywhere.
The nearby Nîmes, also built by Agrippa, is a well-preserved aqueduct that used to carry water across the small Gardon river valley.
The nearby Mont Cavalier is crowned by the Tour Magne ("Great Tower"), a ruined Roman tower.
Later monuments include:
The cathedral (Saint Castor), occupying, it is believed, the site of the temple of Augustus, is partly Romanesque and partly Gothic in style.
There is modern architecture at Nîmes too: Norman Foster conceived the Carré d'art (1986), a museum of modern art and mediatheque; Jean Nouvel the Nemausus, a post-modern residential ensemble, and Kisho Kurokawa a building in the form of a hemicycle to reflect the Amphitheatre.
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 asteroid 51 Nemausa was named after Nîmes, where it was discovered in 1858.
This page was retrieved and condensed from
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimes) August 2005
In 2005 Hui Chin and I visited Nimes on our
way to Pont du Gard.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
Site Index Back to Top Photos Index
Thanks for coming, I hope you
have enjoyed it, will recommend
it to your friends, and will come
back later to see my site developing