Enticingly opposite the 2000-year-old amphitheatre of Nimes, the brand-new museum of Roman History, Musée de la Romanité in Nimes makes for a fascinating visit. The brand-new Museum is going to be one of the top attractions for visitors to Nimes.
What to see at the Musée de la Romanite
The Museum of Roman History in Nimes has a collection of 5000 exhibits ranging from mosaics and murals to ceramics and statues. Through innovative scenography you’ll discover the fascinating Gallo-Roman period of this area.
There will be regular exhibitions held in the museum, the first following its opening on 2 June 2018 is dedicated to Gladiators, a subject covered in the museum permanently since they were one of the highlights of the arena next door.
Nimes is already rich in Roman remains with a fabulously preserved arena which is still in use, a fabulous temple that looks almost new and is now an art gallery, a tower, arches, ruins of a library and baths. Nîmes was a religious sanctuary for the province of Narbonne. A kind of ancient Lourdes, it was adorned by the Emperor Augustus and his successors with monumental buildings. It was one of the most important Roman cities in France.
French-Brazilian architect Elizabeth de Portzamparc designed the museum. It’s a building which evokes the look of a Roman toga with a façade that almost looks like it’s draped and panels covered with a mosaic of thousands of glass tiles. It doesn’t seek to look old but instead contrasts brilliantly with its ancient neighbours.
Around the year 15BC, the Emperor Augustus surrounded the city with ramparts more than 6km long. They were flanked by 80 towers, though today only one remains, the Tour Magne. It was the fifth largest enclosure of the Roman world. The inner walkway that runs through the Musée de la Romanité follows the route of the ancient wall.
Nimes’ newest cultural venue
The museum is home to a brilliant bookstore, a captivating café and a marvellous restaurant opened by Michelin-starred chef Franck Putelat. There’s also a 3,500 m² archaeological and Mediterranean garden. A green roof terrace offers panoramic views over the city.
What to see and do in Nimes
The Roman sites of Nimes – the Rome of France
The Roman Theatre at Orange, not far from Nimes