Europe Travel

Arènes de Nîmes and Maison Carrée

Arènes de Nîmes and Maison Carrée are two amazing Roman constructions in Nîmes. They are about 5 minutes walk from each other. There are joint tickets, which include a tower and a museum. I haven’t seen the tower, but I saw the museum, which will be included in a round-up of Nîmes.

Arènes de Nîmes

Arènes de Nîmes is lovely to see. I can’t say that I liked it as much as the one I saw in Verona, Italy. The French did modifications to the arena which are a horror for a historian, such as pouring concrete on the seats. Also, they are sharing the view that bullfighting is historical and traditional, and thus should be preserved… but have installed lights and poured concrete and made an escape game in the same arena. It seems like a history-washing of a cruel sport because they can’t seem to accept that they like watching an animal being tortured to death.

In Britain wild animals were banned from being used in travelling circuses from 2020. These too are not banned in France.

seats

There are also wooden seats. It’s just heartbreaking to see the wood and concrete on a historical building such as this one.

stairs

museum

There are quite a few, some very interesting, things on display and they are worth seeing.

Despite the issues with the French approach and what I see as hypocrisy, I highly recommend visiting the arena. It is a very important historical monument and it’s a privilege to be able to see it.

corridor

Arènes de Nîmes was built around 100 CE, a couple of decades after the Colosseum in Rome. It had a capacity of 24,000 guests, which is now lower, but over 10,000 anyway.

Arènes de Nîmes

Arènes de Nîmes

view from above

Seeing it is so impressive.

seats

Arènes de Nîmes from above

Arènes de Nîmes at night

In the evenings the arena is lit up. It looks lovely.

Maison Carrée

The second place I am talking about is Maison Carrée, which means square house. It is a Roman Temple, around 2000 years old, beautifully preserved. This temple was dedicated to Gaius and Lucius Caesar, grandsons and adopted heirs of Augustus.

The temple’s architecture is very simple. It has beautiful stairs, a grand entrance, and the temple is a single room, very high. The door is almost 7 m by over 3 m. It was a temple, an art museum, and now it is a Roman museum with display boards telling its story.

Maison Carrée

ceiling at the Maison Carrée

inside the temple

The Maison-Carrée is 25 m (82 feet) long by 12 m (40 feet). It was a part of a complex and there is a model of that complex which highlights what is still visible outside.

The wooden door, which is visible in the background, was installed in the 19th century. It was made to protect the original door, which didn’t survive. The original decorations did not survive either, which is to be expected considering its long history.

View from the Maison Carrée

These two buildings were beautiful to see and important from a historical perspective.

4 Comment

  1. Oh I would love to visit here! But ugh pouring concrete on the seats what were they thinking. And bull fighting is not out lawed there??? That is mind blowing, they protest just about everything else. That needs to be out lawed sure. Very eye opening post.

    Allie

    1. The concrete was heartbreaking to see. It was not done to reinforce the structure, just to make it better to sit on.

  2. Despite the fact I’m pro-hunting (when done properly), I can’t abide things like bullfighting, dogfighting, cockfighting, etc. It’s cruel. I always use to like zoos, but now prefer those which are conservation centers or places for animals that can no longer live in the wild for whatever reason. I might be mistaken, but I don’t think traveling circuses in the US have animals anymore, either. Certainly not the big ones like Barnum & Bailey.

    1. I am pro-hunting too, in a few situations, like culling deer in Scotland because they have no natural predators, with the last wolves being killed hundreds of years ago. I don’t agree with trophy hunting, of course, a dude with a rifle, being surrounded by people who protect him who kills a lion who is baited into coming there is just pathetic.
      I agree with you on zoos as well. They need to be a strong conservation centre as well. Keeping wild animals in this kind of zoos ensures the survival of the species sometimes. I’ve been to places in UK where they had like 5 individuals and there were only a few hundreds in the wild, with that number going down each year. I wouldn’t go to a zoo where the animals are kept just for human entertainment.

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