The Roman Colosseum of Nîmes

​​The Roman Colosseum Nîmes is one of the city's most important monuments. It is known as Arena of Nîmes, and is an amphitheatre or Roman Colosseum. It has hosted important events both in the past and today. Travel across the city's past in our AVE (high-speed) France trains, Alta Velocidad (high-speed) International between Spain and France. Let's go!

The city of Nîmes 

Nîmes is the capital of Gard, a French department in southern France. It is especially famous for its Roman Colosseum and for Maison Carré, a Roman temple. Nîmes stands out for the remains of ancient monuments that are still preserved from the Roman era.  ​ 

Arena of Nîmes: a Roman Colosseum 

The Arena of Nîmes is the name given to the Roman Colosseum or amphitheatre built in the year 27 BC. In ancient times, Arena of Nîmes was the venue for animal hunting games and gladiator fights

The Roman Colosseum of Nîmes features two arcade levels. It has the following dimensions: 133 metres long, 101 metres wide and 21 metres high. In ancient times, thousands of people enjoyed the shows and games held in this famous amphitheatre. People would sit according to their social status, as in all kinds of celebrations in ancient Rome. 

Arena of Nîmes

The Roman Colosseum of Nîmes. What shows could people see in an amphitheatre? 

Amphitheatres were home to some of the most famous activities of ancient Rome. The following stand out: 

  • Gladiatorial fights. Spectators gathered in the Roman Colosseum to witness the famous gladiator fights. These were held the day after the "cena libera", a public meal for gladiators the evening before a fight. 
  • Animal hunting or fighting games. Animal battles were also held. On some occasions, people would gather to watch the animals fight each other. There were also other games in which the gladiators fought against the animals. 
  • Naumachia or naval battles. Finally, the Colosseum was also famous for its naval battles. They were held in the Roman Colosseum and other amphitheatres. This type of show was not as common as gladiator fights or other events. It is for this reason that these types of shows were very popular among the public. 

Characteristics of a Roman Colosseum 

The Arena of Nîmes is one of the most important Roman amphitheatres of all time, as mentioned above. What are the characteristics that differentiate a Roman Colosseum from any other type of monument? 

The Roman amphitheatre was the first of its kind. In other words, the Romans were the first to build it. The main difference between an amphitheatre and a Roman theatre lies in its shape. An amphitheatre is oval-shaped, while a theatre has a half-moon shape. 

The amphitheatres were originally built in stone and divided into several parts. The amphitheatre base was called the "arena", and was enveloped by the "cavea" (Latin for "enclosure"). "Cavea" is the name given by the Romans to the seating sections of their amphitheatres. This is where the people enjoyed the shows from. People would be divided according to their social class.  

The Roman Colosseum of Nîmes. What happened next? 

In later years, the Arena of Nîmes was used for other purposes. During the Middle Ages, the Roman Colosseum was used as of fortress. It was used as a place for refuge for all those people who were in danger.  

Years later, private houses were built inside, which were demolished in the early nineteenth century. This was when Arena of Nîmes was restored to its original state.

It currently has a capacity for more than 16,000 visitors. This famous Roman Colosseum is used to celebrate important events. These range from bullfights to concerts and even demonstrations. You can also take a visit and contemplate a place that was so important in ancient times.  

Why is the Roman Colosseum in Nîmes so special? 

There are several Roman amphitheatres that are preserved today. Many of them are visited by tourists every day. However, Arena of Nîmes has something that the other Colosseums do not have: it is the best preserved of all the Roman Colosseums. If you are considering visiting Nîmes, you cannot miss this historical place.

There are different types of tours: a tour with a tour guide, a visit with actors and atmosphere of the Roman era and a tour with activities, in teams of two to five people, which is a blend between a game of clues and an escape room. 

You can also buy tickets to see the three most important monuments in Nîmes: the amphitheatre, Maison Carrée and Tour Magne. 

Travel to Nîmes by train

Nîmes and its impressive Roman Colosseum are only a few hours away if you choose to travel on our AVE (high-speed) International trains. Without a doubt, this city in the south of France is a place you will want to visit again and again.​ 

If you wish to continue on your route after stopping at Nîmes, we invite you to discover other equally impressive cities connected by our AVE (high-speed) France ​trains, thanks to the many possible combinations: from Perpignan, Narbonne, Béziers, Montpellier, ​Avignon, Aix-en-Provence or Lyon​; always from city centre to city centre. 

Have you chosen the destination of your next cultural visit? Choose how you would like to travel and what you would like to visit and we will define the destinations and means of transport. Have you found out about our discounts? Take advantage of these offers and get the best price on your train ticket.