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Nimes, or Nîmes, is a city in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Southern France. Nimes has a lot of charms to attract travellers, and the city and its environs are home to some astounding Roman ruins in the form of temples, gateways, bridges and a magnificent amphitheatre. The beautiful weather of this equally beautiful region helps, too. It’s best to have a car to take advantage of the stunning drives and excellent daytrips available from this ancient Roman city.
Who to Book With
There is no shortage of car rental firms to provide you with the option of driving around Nice and Southern France. You can even hunt for the best deals online by comparing rates of the different companies based here. The Gare de Nimes (railway station) hosts a couple of international car hire firms, such as Budget and Europcar. Other firms here include Hertz, Avis, Alamo, National, Auto Europe and Enterprise.
Best Time to Go
The weather in Nimes is quite pleasant. It does get cold in winter, but average temperatures never dip below 0°C. Summer is perhaps the best time to visit. It is sunny on most days, especially in July, with light evenings and balmy breezes.
Need to Know Essentials
Car hire firms will want to see the following upon vehicle collection:
- Licence for driving (International Driving Permit for non-EU residents)
- Proof of identity (e.g. a passport)
- Credit card (the same one used in the booking)
- Confirmation of booking (when possible)
The autoroute or highway to take when driving into Nimes is the A9 if coming from the cities in the north such as Lyon, or from destinations in the southwest, such as Montpellier or Perpignan. Those coming from Marseille or Aix-en-Provence in the southeast can take autoroute A54. The roads leading into the city can get congested during peak hours, so it’s best to plan ahead. Car parks, many of which offer underground parking, are scattered throughout the city.
Nimes is an easy place to reach from most destinations in Southern France, especially from Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier and Marseille. Fast trains from Paris regularly run to Nimes for those coming here from the French capital. Bus connections are available too, running around town and to nearby destinations. Cab companies can be easily contacted by those wishing to get around the sites of this ancient city with convenience.
Coming into Nimes by train is possible. Gare de Nimes, the main railway station close to the centre, receives high-speed (TGV) trains from the Gare de Lyon in Paris. Fare are about €80. Other train services arrive from Marseilles, Arles, Avignon and Montpellier. There are frequent also services to nearby destinations such as Aigues Mortes.
Hiring cabs to get around the city and the rest of southern France is most definitely an option for travellers with cash to splash, as several taxi companies can be found in Nimes. Taxis TRAN is one of the companies here with an office near the train station. Others include Taxi Femme Artisan and Taxi Gard-cia, the latter of which specialises in long-distance trips.
Close to the train station on Rue Sainte Felicité is the main bus station in Nimes. Buses here can take you to Arles along route C30 or to the Pont du Gard on the C21. Other destinations include towns in the north such as Uzès or Alès. The services are run by Eurolines and Line Bus.
Nimes has a history stretching as far back as before the Romans. The Romans left a lasting legacy which forms the bulk of Nimes’ main tourist attractions. History and archaeology fans will not run out of things to see and do here. Most sites of interest are concentrated in a small area of town, but those with a car can also head out to see some fantastic monuments and picturesque landscapes right outside the city.
Pont du Gard - This is one of the must-visit destinations near this ancient Roman town. Straddling the Gardon River, this grand and impressive structure forms part of a long aqueduct located about 12 miles northeast of the city centre. This structure used to carry water 31 miles from Uzès to Nimes.
Uzès - The source of the water that passed through the Pont du Gard, is also worth spending a few hours in. This medieval market town is about three miles north of the aqueduct. It is home to charming little shops as and a lovely old castle.
Aigues Mortes - This is a commune set around 27 miles south of Nimes. The town has a historical centre surrounded by well preserved medieval city walls, impressive in their size and present condition. The location is also quite stunning, as the town stands right on the Canal du Rhône à Sète.