Nîmes is a compact town with several impressive Roman sights and a great museum, along with cute narrow streets in the historic centre. Explore the city on this walking tour!
This walk starts from Nîmes Amphitheatre. Nîmes train station is only 500 metres away, making it very easy. Alternatively, there’s an underground parking lot nearby which is slightly expensive but very convenient. There are several other parking lots around the city centre which are almost just as expensive.
Nîmes Walking Tour Map
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Tips for Nîmes Walking Tour
- There are several tourist passes you can buy if visiting Nîmes: The Pass Nîmes la Romaine (€13/6) allows entry to the main three Roman sights (Amphiteatre, Maison Carrée & Tour Magne). The Pass Romanité (€17/6) also includes the Musée de la Romanité. The Nîmes City Pass (2/4/7 days, €27/37/39) includes everything above and more. You can buy these passes at one of the participating sights or the tourist information.
- You can also visit the Amphitheatre and Musée de la Romanité at the end of this tour if you want to make use of the cooler mornings to walk around the rest of the city.
- The main attractions have information in both English and French.
- Make sure to visit the amazing Pont du Gard nearby!
- For more walking tours and hikes, see our France Hiking Page.
Top Sights in Nîmes
On this self-guided walking tour you’ll see the main sights and attractions of Nîmes. One day is the perfect amount of time to spend in Nîmes. However, if you want to visit all the museums spend at least two days, and Nîmes could make a good base to explore the surrounding region.
- Nîmes Amphitheatre
- Musée de la Romanité
- Maison Carrée
- Les Jardins de la Fontaine
- Tour Magne
- Les Halles
- Historic City Centre
Nîmes Walking Tour Route
This walking tour starts from Nîmes Amphitheatre. One of the best views of the amphitheatre is by the statue of the matador (bullfighter), from where you can see the entire expanse of the building.
Directions: The entrance to the amphitheatre is at the other side, so walk around the building to get there.
1. Nîmes Amphitheatre
Key Information: Open every day from 9 (Mar-Oct) or 9:30 (Nov-Feb) until around sunset. Tickets are €10/5 and include a fun audio guide.
Nîmes Amphitheatre (Website, TripAdvisor Reviews*), alternatively called Nîmes Arena, is one of the top sights of Nîmes. It’s one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world and you can walk all around it, from the back corridors to the stands to the arena floor itself. The audio guide takes you back to the days of the gladiators and if you’ve watched the movie Gladiator, you’ll have some of your views about gladiators corrected.
Directions: The Musée de la Romanité is in the obvious glass-fronted building next to the amphitheatre.
2. Musée de la Romanité
Key Information: Apr-Oct: Open 10-7pm every day. Nov-Mar: Open 10-6pm, closed on Tuesdays. Tickets cost €9/3, with the audioguide an extra €3.
The Musée de la Romanité (Website, TripAdvisor Reviews*) is a great museum next to the old amphitheatre. It’s a new museum that only opened in 2018, and the exhibits reflect this as there’s lots of interaction and technology used to bring the past to life. Most of the museum is about the Romans and the Roman artefacts found in the area. However, the visit starts in pre-Roman times and continues to chart the history of Nîmes until the present.
You could spend many hours here exploring the museum fully, though you can also move quickly through in about 1 hour. If you have time, get an audio guide which really helps you to understand the history of Roman colonization and its lasting influence on life in Nîmes today.
Directions: After leaving the museum, turn left to walk a little way around the amphitheatre, and then walk along the main road to the left. Look out for the nice church on the left. In a few hundred metres you’ll come to the next stop.
3. Maison Carrée
Key Information: Open every day from 9:30 (Jul-Aug) or 10 (Sep-Jun) until around sunset. From Oct-Feb it’s closed for lunch from 1-2pm. Tickets are €6/3.
The Maison Carree (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a beautiful Roman temple built roughly 2000 years ago. It’s an extraordinary building and definitely worth viewing from the outside. Note the intricate carvings around the top and how the entire building seems to reflect the sunlight and glow orange.
The inside of the Maison Carrée is much smaller than it looks from the outside and contains a little exhibit about the temple and its restoration. Unless you have one of the tourist passes (see Tips), then it’s quite expensive for what it is.
Key Information: Open Tue-Fri 10-6pm, Sat-Sun 10-6:30pm. Tickets are €8/6, or €11/9 including a guided tour. Free on the first Sunday of the month.
The Carré d’Art is a contemporary art museum opposite the Maison Carrée. The building was designed by Norma Foster, a famous architect, to reflect both the form of the ancient Maison Carrée and a modern future. The collection contains many artworks from the1960s until the present, with a focus on artworks from southern France. It’s a good museum but if you only spend one day in Nîmes it’s something you could miss unless you have a special interest in art.
Directions: From the square with the Maison Carrée, head left along the road by the Carré d’Art, then take the first right into a little square. Walk left through the square, then head right to a canal. Walk left along the canal to the entrance of the gardens.
4. Les Jardins de la Fontaine
Key Information: Opens at 7:30am year round, closing about an hour after sunset. Free to enter.
Les Jardins de la Fontaine (TripAdvisor Reviews*), or the gardens of the fountain, is a large formal park in Nîmes. There’s a large central water feature and it’s always fairly peaceful in the park.
Temple of Diana
The Temple of Diana (TripAdvisor Reviews*) is on the left side of the main fountains. It’s a really cool little temple from Roman times, partly in ruins, and you’re free to enter and wander around by yourself.
Directions: There are many different routes within the Les Jardins de la Fontaine. To get to the Tour Magne, just keep heading upwards and you will eventually get there.
5. Tour Magne
Key Information: Open every day from 9am (Jun-Aug) or 9:30am (Sep-May) until around sunset. From Sep-Mar it’s closed for lunch from 1-2pm. Tickets are €3.50/1.50.
The Tour Magne (Website, TripAdvisor Reviews*) is at the far end of Les Jardins de la Fontaine, at the top of the hill. It was the tallest tower in the Roman wall that made up the city’s fortifications, most of which have now disappeared. There’s some information about the tower at its base, then you can climb up the many steps to the viewpoint at the top. From here you can see all over the city of Nîmes.
Directions: From the tower, work your way back down to the base of the gardens and turn left before the canal. Cross over the little square with trees and down the street opposite. Take the first right, then left at the main road. The next stop is soon on your left.
6. Les Halles
Les Halles (Website, TripAdvisor Reviews*) is an indoor marketplace, with a wide variety of produce for sale. It’s almost all fresh and local, ranging from fruit and vegetables to meats, jams, olives and spices. Most stalls are open from 7am-1:30pm.
Directions: From Les Halles, the Historic City Centre is between you and the amphitheatre. Head via the Clock Tower to the Cathedral, then make your way to the Porte d’Auguste. From here, wander back through the streets towards Nîmes Amphitheatre where you started this walking tour.
7. Historic City Centre
The Historic City Centre has a few minor sights but the main enjoyment is simply strolling along the cute, narrow pedestrian streets and window-shopping, or popping into the cafes and restaurants which line many of the squares.
Nîmes Cathedral is in the centre of the historic, pedestrianised area. It’s nothing too special, but worth popping into while walking around.
Musée du Vieux Nîmes
The Musée du Vieux Nîmes is next to the cathedral, open 10am-6pm every day, tickets €5/3. It’s in a grand building with a small collection of historic pieces such as furniture and clothing from the past few hundred years. If you’re only visiting Nîmes for one day, it’s not worth it, but if you’re here for several days you could pop in for up to an hour.
The Porte d’Auguste is a ruined gate on what was once the Via Domitia, a Roman road linking Italy to Spain. It’s quite cool to see the old ruins right next to much more modern houses, that evidence of the Romans is still here.
The Église Saint-Baudile is a large church opposite the Porte d’August, built in the Gothic Revival style. It’s rather impressive from the outside, and lovely and peaceful within.
Directions: From here, wind your way back through the city centre towards the Amphitheatre. Don’t be afraid to get lost for a little while, or wander around in circles. This is the end of the Nîmes Walking Tour.
Best Places to Stay in Nîmes
There are many great hotels and places to stay in Nîmes. Check out the best below:
- Ibis Budget Nîmes Centre Gare*: Conveniently located by the train station, this is the cheapest decent hotel in Nîmes. The hotel doesn’t have much character or extra frills, but it’s very good value.
- Royal Hôtel*: Close to the Maison Carrée, this cosy hotel has lovely rooms and a great tapas restaurant onsite.
- Appart’City Confort Nimes Arenes*: If you want a self-catering apartment, these studios and apartments are located in the centre of Nîmes and are equipped with everything you could need.
- Best Western Marquis de la Baume*: This hotel occupies a unique building from 1700, making it super atmospheric. It has a central location, yet it’s very quiet inside.
Guidebooks for Exploring & Hiking in Southern France
For more walking tours and hikes, see our France Hiking Page.