With some of France’s best preserved Roman buildings and monuments, Nîmes is a history and clothing lover’s dream. The city is perhaps best known for its production of what has become the commonly worn denim, originally called serge de Nîmes produced for agricultural labourers. This southern city is perfect for those looking to experience the uniquely relaxed way of life in southern France, characterised by the beautiful weather and stunning countryside that surround all the towns and cities of the area, as well as showcasing a true example of compelling history.
As the roads can be known to twist and turn throughout narrow alleyways in some areas of the city, a nippy, small car will serve you well.
Driving in Nimes
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Rush hour traffic is prominent in Nîmes and it is highly recommended that drivers attempt to avoid travel between 7.30am-9.30am and 4.30pm-6.30pm.
Signs and directions can seem confusing when combined with the streets that were redesigned in the Middle Ages, so it is highly recommended that drivers invest in a GPS or high quality map to avoid delays.
Many of the main areas of interest have been pedestrianized, meaning that parking can be difficult close to the sites. It is recommended that drivers aim to park in the outskirts and then walk into the centre.
Highlights & Hotspots
One of the true draws to the area is Les Arènes, an amphitheatre built in around 100AD during the Roman period. With a capacity to hold 24,000 spectators, the amphitheatre still holds events today though of a slightly different nature to the bloody battles of its vicious past.
The Tour Magne is another remaining artefact from the Roman period though is far older. Standing at 30 metres, the tower was built around 15 BC and was used to display imperial power as part of a 7km long rampart. Visitors are still able to climb the 140 steps to take in the view of the city sprawling out below.
For something as peaceful as it is historic, the Jardins de la Fontaine houses several Roman remnants within a beautifully peaceful garden. Ready to explore is the Source de la Fontaine that was once a popular Roman bathhouse and the Temple de Diane.
Some may wish to experience something a little more modern in this Roman city and Carré d’Art is the perfect place to come back to the present. A magnificent glass and steel building, it houses a fine collection of contemporary artwork from the 1960s to the present day.
N√Æmes-Garons Airport is based 20km from the city centre and hosts regular flights by budget airlines across some areas of Europe.
The airport, located near the small town of Garons, is accessible via the A54, which goes north towards central Nimes.