The city of Nîmes has a history of more than two thousand years, which makes it a very attractive place for lovers of art and culture, in particular, for its vast Roman heritage. However, the city, proud of its past, also looks to the present and the future. Discovering it is not only a matter of delving into the world of Romans in ancient times. Prepare your bags and hop on one of our AVE (high-speed) France trains, AVE (high-speed) International travelling between Spain and France. We take you to Nîmes in the blink of an eye!
Visitors can take a walk around old Nîmes to discover places of great charm, such as the Market Square or the charming Place aux Herbes, true heart of the historic district, with its cathedral, arcades and beautiful windows. You can experience the relaxed and Mediterranean atmosphere of Nîmes at its terraces. You can also find the Watch Square nearby, where the seventeenth-century tower is surrounded by impressive palm trees.
However, where the present actually transforms into the future is in the modern building of Carrée d'Art, Museum of Contemporary Art of Nîmes. It is located in Maison Carrée square, right in front of Maison Carrée, one of the city's Roman jewels and quite an architectural challenge at the time it was designed. Several renowned architecture studios were invited to participate in a public tender for such purposes. Architect Norman Foster became the successful bidder and faced the challenge of blending modern and new designs in a building with proportions that were almost identical to those of a Roman building, with a terraced architecture design, typical of the region and in which light plays the leading role.
The result is a building with four floors, two of them underground, allowing for a discreet integration into the environment. The building is designed with different spaces, the Museum of Contemporary Art, a media library and a documentation centre. The Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits 400 works of art from the 60s to the present, under three main pillars: French art as part of the greatest artistic movements, the Mediterranean identity around the south of France, Italy and Spain and a presentation of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic trends. In addition, interesting temporary exhibitions are available throughout the year.
With a surface area of 20,400 m2 and a capacity for 33,000 visitors per month, it is already one of the city's icons. Its restaurant Le Ciel de Nîmes, located on the third floor, occupies one of the terraces and is the only restaurant in the city that allows you to enjoy a unique view of the city's towers, bell towers and roofs. It offers an extraordinary view of Maison Carrée and its roof, restored in 1992, reproducing the old Roman roof with large flat tiles.
When Carrée d'Art was built, Maison Carrée square was also restored, converting it into a pedestrian zone. It is surrounded by cafés with terraces and is always packed with people. Undoubtedly, it has given a new cultural life to the city.
If, in addition to travelling to Nîmes, you are interested in following own your route, we invite you to visit other equally impressive cities connected by our Alta Velocidad (high-speed) International trains travelling between Spain and France thanks to the many combinations of our destinations: from Perpignan, Narbonne, Béziers, Montpellier, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence or Lyon; always from city centre to city centre.
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