This weekend a short train ride from Montpellier took me to the beautiful city of Nîmes which is also located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France.
Dating back to the Roman empire. Nîmes was actually an important Roman colony and “Via Domitia” , the road constructed during the empire to connect Italy to Spain passes through this city, so there is also some Spanish influence.
I was only there for one day so I visited 3 of the main sites and explored the streets of the city.
Back in the Roman empire days the amphitheatre on it’s 2 stories could accommodate 24.000 viewers
Roman Temple “Maison Carrée”
One of the best preserved Roman temples
Tower “La Tour Magne”
The tower stands in the highest point of the city and played a military role as it was part of the walls built sorrounding the city . The view from the top is spectacular and you get to go up for just 3 euros (2.50 for students)
To get to the Tour-Magne you have to enter the “Jardins de la Fontaine” (“Fountain Gardens”).
But what was special about the weekend was the “Feria des Vendanges”, a grape harvest festival that takes place every year for 3 days in September which celebrates 2 traditions, wine making and bull fighting.The athmosphere on the streets is amazing, it’s really a party that takes over the city. There are open air concerts, bars blasting the speakers and filling the air with music and paella and sangria everywhere you look. At night you can hit the clubs, but the best idea is to just stay on the streets where music is playing in every corner and people are dancing everywhere till around 3 am.
The only thing I disliked during my visit was the bull fighting, which is one of the main attractions of the weekend and takes place in the amphiteathre. During these fights, toreros kill around 6 bulls per performance with spades and make a show out of it. I understand that this is a part of many cultures and it’s done in other places of the world but it’s just something that I will never be in favour of and would never pay to watch animals get killed. Hopefully traditions like this all over the world dissappear eventually.
After the “show” was over, I snuck in the amphitheatre just to take a look at the inside, I wasn’t impressed but the sky looked beautiful.