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The birthplace of the fabric Denim, Nimes is situated in the south of France. Nestling in the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon, the city is specifically located within the Gard region.
A French city with a healthy dose of all that is Spanish, Nimes offers tapas and bull fighting as well as all that is loved about the French Riviera and south of France.
Located on the roman road, the Via Domitia, Nimes and its surroundings has not surprisingly a generous portion of well preserved Roman remains, namely the Arenes and the Maison Carree.
The Arenes roman amphitheatre dates back to the first century AD and provided a housing utility in Medieval times until Napoleon cleared it out in an attempt to restore it to its former glory.
With a legacy of textile and dye manufacture, Nimes experienced a period of substantial prosperity during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Its blue hard wearing material later known as �denim� came in great demand when Levi Strauss invented the denim jeans. Nimes reflects these early glory days in its architecture in the Old Town.
Walking around Nimes is not a problem for it is a compact area and much of it is pedestrianised. For ease of navigation, it helps to see the centre in terms of a triangle with many of the popular sights along its sides. This triangle is locally referred to as �l�ecusson� (the shield) and is designated by adjoining boulevards as well as punctuated by the beautifully preserved Roman temple, the Maison Carree (or Square House). Also in this location is the magnificent Carre d�Art glass building by world acclaimed architect Sir Norman Foster. The building is a modern art museum with an exterior that never fails to turn heads.
There is much to enjoy in and around the Old Town and where visitors tend to head to first. The Old Town is similar to other great cities in that it is the soul of Nimes and where the story of the city unfolds. The Old Town is peppered with cafes and boutiques where the city�s 17th and 18th heritage is revealed upon its walls. The Cathedrale de Notre Dame et St Castor is a tantalising blend of Gothic and Romanesque while the nearby Musee de Vieux Nimes (once the Bishop�s Palace) explains the eccentricities and oddities that make Nimes what it is today. The Musee de Beaux-Arts is possibly the most vast of all the museums in Nimes. Lovingly housed within are paintings and sculptures that date as far back as the fifteenth century up to the present date.
To the south of the �triangle� stands Arenes, the immaculately preserved roman amphitheatre. The theme of bloodshed and combat continue today for where once gladiators fought, there are now bull fights. It is not all blood and gore as the Arenes for during the warmer months there are held elegant ballet and orchestral feasts-a treat if you are ever in town.
As well as the beautiful 18th century gardens of the Jardin de la Fontaine, the Tour Magne is one of the top attractions around town and offers the best views of city.
A popular time of year for visitors to the city is during its famous Pentecostal Festival from the 11th to the 16th May. Expect to join in excess of two million other visitors to Nimes and a generous amount of queuing for various refreshment establishments and attractions. The Nimes Wine and Harvest Festival in September offers a similar vibrant atmosphere as well as a more considerable supply of merriment.
While in Nimes, why not take a trip out of town? Situated to the north east of Nimes, the Pont du Gard is reported to be the highest aqueduct ever built by the Romans. A half an hour�s drive outside of Nimes brings you into Vincent Van Gogh country, Arles.
The ancient town of Arles is just 20 miles from Nimes and perfectly situated for visiting. Originally serving as a major port, Arles took more of a back seat when the railway lines replaced the River for transport route.
The town that was made famous by Vincent Van Gogh, Arles and surrounding Provencal countryside so captivated this artist that they were represented on canvas as many as 300 times.
Although Van Gogh is celebrated today, it is well known that the citizens of Arles actually petitioned to have the Impressionist removed and institutionalized. It was at the Saint-Remy-de-Provence asylum where Van Gogh was placed and from where he continued to paint.
While in Arles, competing with Nimes for the crown of �Roman Town� for their generous supply of roman monuments, popular places to visit include the Alyscamps, the amphitheatre and the Musee de l�Arles (where there are said to be held more roman sarcophagi than anywhere outside of Roman).
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Nimes Garons Airport is 20 kilometres from the centre of Nimes.
If travelling by road, it is just off Junction 2 of the A54 motorway.
There is a shuttle bus service to and from the airport to the centre of town and taxis available from outside the terminal. The times of the buses efficiently coincide with flight arrivals.
The duration of the journey into the centre of Nimes is about 35 minutes at a cost of 5 euros each way (purchased on the bus).
Taxis are available outside the main terminal.