The Maison Carrée in Nîmes is one of the best-preserved monuments from the ancient world. The podium measures 25 x 12 metres. It was probably built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a close friend and son-in-law of the emperor Augustus, in 20 BCE. It is what specialists call a pseudoperipteros temple with six Corinthian columns in front. This was a common type of temple in the Latin part of the Roman world, although examples are known from the east as well (e.g., the Temple of the Muses in Baalbek).
Nimes, a city in the south of France with a 2005 population of 145,000, is a popular tourist destination known for its exceptional Roman remains. It is named for a natural spring, and in fact the spring still exists surrounded now by the elegant 18th century Jardins de la Fountaine (gardens of the fountain).
The Roman relics in Nimes are truly remarkable. The elliptical Roman amphitheatre was constructed in the first or second century A.D., and is so well preserved that it is still used today as a bullfighting ring and concert arena. Another amazing structure is the Maison Carree, a small Roman temple dedicated to sons of Agrippa circa 19 BC. It is equally well preserved and to this day you can go inside and watch a short film about the history of Nimes. Another site to see in Nimes is the Pont Du Gard, a Roman aqueduct also built by Agrippa.
The Pont du Gard was constructed in 60AD and is a superb Roman aqueduct bridge that crosses the Gardon River in Vers-Pont-du-Gard near Remoulins, Nimes in the Gard département of southern France.
The old town is worth a visit, as there are plenty of interesting narrow winding streets and squares interspersed around the main boulevards. The medieval Cathedral building is partly Romanesque and partly Gothic. If you visit the Cathedral, be sure to take note of the numerous fine town houses around it.
If you get a chance, visit the nearby Mont Cavalier, which is crowned by a ruined Roman tower known as the "Great Tower". Nimes is also known for its textiles; in fact the denim fabric beloved of jeans-wearers everywhere derives its name from this city.
Nimes has been making a determined effort to modernize, reflected in welding such as Norman Foster's Carre d'art, a 1986 Museum of Contemporary Art. Other modern buildings of note include Kisho Kurokawa, a building in the form of a semi-circle designed to reflect the amphitheatre. The magnificent new sports stadium is equally modernistic and striking.
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