Sunday in Nîmes was the perfect day to go to Le Halls de Nîmes. The town was quiet and I seem to be following the locals to Le Halls. There were stalls filled with Olives, tapenade, tea, pastries, meat and cheese.
I grabbed lunch and headed to the Garden de La Fontaine. This was one of the first public parks in France.
The park was created in the Roman times and is built around a natural spring dedicated to the god Nemoz. There was a sanctuary here dedicated to the emperors and their families. This basin of water is one of the rare surviving examples of Augusteum in the western world. The sanctuary also included what is believed to be a library as well as a theater. They call the library the “Temple of Diana” and the ruins are pretty impressive. You can walk through them and take a look at the columns and the partially still intact ceiling.
From here I started the ascent to La Tour Magne. This is a tower situated at the highest point of town and most likely a symbol of Roman power.
It would have been connected to a wall that went all around the city. This was a point where you could see anyone coming. I went inside and climbed to the top. It is a tall spiral staircase right up the center pillar in the tower. Once at the top there is a small terrace where you can see all of Nîmes and out to the Alps. You can see for miles. There was a map to help you see where the monuments of the town are. The terrace maybe held 14 people so after I got a good look I headed back down the scary stairs to the bottom. From here I went back down through the garden and through the little grottos.
It was so hot it was a perfect time to put my feet in the water of the natural spring! The water was freezing and felt amazing although I couldn’t stay in it for long since it was so cold.
I grabbed some ice cream at a cafe in the park and then headed back to the tourist office to take a ride on the Petit Train.
Le Petit Train runs along the edge of the old city where the walls would have been in roman days. I got to see the Augustine gate which is one of the two gates left from Roman times. I also saw some big churches I wouldn’t have seen if I didn’t take the little train ride. We also saw lots more fountains which is typical of Nîmes.
That night I had dinner near the Mason Carrée. L’imprevu. It was delicious and gave me the chance to see the Mason Carrée at night, beautifully lit up. On my walk back to the hotel I found the carving of Romulus and Remus on the side of the Arena.
The next day I headed to Camargue which you can read all about here