These last two weekends, I’ve been able to play tour guide for some fellow assistants. Last weekend, I met Dana of the fantastic blog The Great Big World- As Told by Dana and a few of her friends. It was fantastic meeting Dana in real life and getting to know she and her friends! This Friday, I met up with my friend Ryan who I studied abroad with in Nantes and who is an assistant in Arles. It was fun being able to show my friends around Nîmes! I rather enjoyed playing the tour guide and sharing the cultural and historic tidbits I’ve learned about my city.
What’s on my Nîmes itinerary? First stop, what I call the house on rue Bec de Lièvre. The artist is constantly reinventing it. It’s a hidden gem in the city. It’s also next to a great boulangerie with good fougasse, a regional specialty I like having my friends try. It makes a good breakfast stop.
Walk up Jean Jaurès to le Jardin de la Fontaine where le Temple de Diane and la Tour Magne are located. For a small city, Nîmes has a great park! The view from la Tour Magne is great.
The Carré d’Art and la Maison Carrée. The Carré d’Art is the local médiathèque and also has art exhibits. It echoes the architecture of the Maison Carrée in a modern way. The Maison Carrée was once a Roman temple, and as only priests and vestal virgins were allowed inside, I learned from Dana and her friends this means it must have been dedicated to one of the major Roman gods.
Centre ville- Place du Marché, la mairie to show the crocodiles suspended from the ceiling, Villaret, Les Halles, Place du Chapitre, Place de l’horloge and the cathedral. When Dana came to visit, it was the first time I passed la Chapelle Sainte-Eugénie while it was open. It’s really nice on the inside! In the centre ville, you really notice how the crocodile is a major symbol in Nîmes. After the Roman victory in Egypt, soldiers settled in Nîmes and the crocodile chained to a palm tree became a symbol of their victory.
The best for last- les arènes.
These are my incontournables, though there are several other great spots to see in Nîmes. Do you have any spots you just have to show people where you live?