Top French Cities - Nîmes at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit Nîmes Tourism at

City region: Pyrénées-Méditerranées / Occitanie

Population & what they are called: 154,013 inhabitants (2013 census), called Nîmois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 6 h 45 min (442 miles) via the A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 3 hours by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Alphone Daudet, writer

  • Jean Bousquet, fashion designer

  • Louis Perrier, doctor, founder of original Perrier water spa

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The famous serge cloth used in jeans was originally from Nîmes – de (from) + Nîmes = denim.

Notable sites:

  • Maison Carrée – one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world

  • Arène de Nîmes – best-preserved Roman amphitheater in France, now used as a bull fighting and concert arena

  • Tour Magne – ruined Roman tower atop Mont Cavalier

Top annual events:

  • Festival de Nîmes – a music festival with performances in the Roman amphitheater (

  • Feria de Nîmes – a twice annual bullfighting event that takes over the city

  • Grands Jeux Romains – an experience of life during the Roman era through historic reconstructions and a unique show with 500 participants

Most notable museums:

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes – a growing collection of fine European art from past centuries

  • Carré d'Art Jean Bousquet – a media library and museum of modern art (

  • Musée des Cultures Taurines – devoted to bullfighting traditions

Culinary specialties:

  • brandade de Nîmes – a purée of salt cod with olive oil and a little milk

  • gardiane de taureau – bull's meat marinated in Nîmes red wine

  • petit pâté nîmois – a small pastry case with meat filling

  • Croquant Villaret – long golden biscuits with a special texture and secret flavor

Local wines & spirits:

  • Costières de Nîmes AOC wines – from vineyards that are some of the oldest in Europe

  • Côtes du Rhône (AOC) wines – including Tavel, called ‘the first rosé of France'

  • Perrier mineral water – its source is in Vergèze, just a few kilometers from Nîmes


  • Les Halles – the large, daily, covered food market

  • Marché Jean Jaurès – the excellent Friday farmers market with a simultaneous antique market

  • downtown – the main area for shopping is around Rue Général-Perrier, Rue Marchands, Rue Madeleine and Rue de l’Aspic

Most popular night spots:

  • SMAC Paloma – modern stage for today's music

  • Le SPOT – an alternative exhibition and event space, also with a bar

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • playing pétanque in the many parks and gardens, such as the Arènes Esplanade Feuchères and the Allées Jaurès

  • Jardins de la Fontaine – gardens built around the ruins of the Roman sanctuary

  • Pont du Gard – Roman aqueduct built more than 2,000 years ago and located just outside of town

Local industries:

  • textiles – especially denim, the fabric of blue jeans, which derives its name from the city

In Pop Culture:

  • Rock bands like Dire Straits, Rammstein, Metallica and Depeche Mode have performed or record live video and albums at the Arena of Nîmes

  • A Long Way from Home – the 2013 romantic drama about retiring in the South of France was filmed in Nîmes

  • The Vanishing – parts of the original Dutch film (called Spoorloos) were set in Nîmes

Major 2018 developments:

  • Musée de la romanité – Opening June 2, 2018, the Musee de la romanité will be dedicated to the Roman civilization.


Marion Fourestier
Atout France-The France Tourism Development Agency
New York, 10022
United States