Nîmes conjures up images of the archetypal Roman city, with its stunning, perfectly preserved monuments we have inherited from Antiquity. It also impresses by its inventive urban planning which has woven them harmoniously into its fabric throughout the centuries.
A unique interaction between ancient times and now
With the Arena, “Maison Carrée”, Temple of Diana, Fountain Sanctuary, the Auguste and France Gates, the Magne Tower and the Castellum aquae supplying water to the city from the Nîmes aqueduct, plus its extensive archeological collections, Nîmes offers one of the most comprehensive representations of Roman civilisation anywhere in the West. This has led to it being visited and studied by learned scholars from all over Europe ever since the XVIth century.
Town planning in Nîmes was influenced by and built around the Roman monuments, giving the city its unique and distinctive personality. Fundamentally and lastingly influenced by its ancient past, Nîmes began developing an “exhibition” approach to urban planning from a very early date, showing its antique monuments to best advantage.
Standing out as major landmarks, Roman monuments forms and decoration have had a powerful influence on Nîmes’architecture right up to the present day.
This listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site will give recognition to the work carried out by the City over many years to restore and show to best advantage its outstanding legacy. It will also have powerful significance for future generations who will have the responsibility of developing the city, while being inspired by its prestigious past.
Serving a purpose during every epoch, the Roman monuments have always been a focal point for everything that goes on within the historical part of the city.
The Roman History Museum, standing opposite the Arena, designed as a gateway to understanding the city and its heritage, will be a wonderful means of expressing this unfailingly close connection between the city’s history and its present.