History of Nîmes


Les Arènes Source: Flickr

Veterans of the Roman legions, who had served Julius Caesar in his Nile campaigns, at the end of fifteen years of soldiering, were given plots of land to cultivate on the plains of Nîmes.

Augustus gave Nîmes a ring of ramparts six kilometers long, reinforced by fourteen towers, with gates of which two remain today, the Porta Augusta and the Porte de France. The city had an estimated population of 60,000 (compared to 147,000 today).  It was also Augustus who had the Forum built.


Pont du Gard

An aqueduct was built to bring water from the hills to the north, to bring water to the city of Nîmes over a 50 KM distance Where this crossed the River Gard between Uzes and Remoulins the spectacular Pont du Gard was built.

Much of Nîmes was rebuilt under Augustus; and he wrote a record of his own accomplishments, known as the Res Gestae Divi Augusti, which has survived. Upon his death in AD 14, Augustus was declared a god by the Senate, to be worshipped by the Romans. His names Augustus and Caesar were adopted by every succeeding emperor, and the month of Sextilis was officially renamed August in his honor. He was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius.

Nîmes has a rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire, and because of this, is naturally a popular tourist destination. If you like Roman history then this is the place for you to visit.

The city gets its name from that of a spring, Nemausus, in the Roman village

Nîmes became a Roman colony sometime before 28 BC and it was the great Emperor Augustus who made the city the capital of Narbonne province and gave it all its glory.

Augustus was adopted by his great-uncle Julius Caesar and after his adoption became the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in AD 14.

The superb amphitheater dates from the end of the 2nd century AD and is still used today for ‘Bull Fighting’ events and concerts. Please visit the Arènes website below for further details of all future bullfights.

Nîmes has been twinned with Preston in Lancashire since 1955.