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Nimes and Arles

Anyone been to the new Roman Museum in Nimes? What did you think? How about the archeological museum in Arles?

Posted by
16614 posts

I'm not as interested in archaeological museums as many are, but I visited and enjoyed the museum in Arles. It is modern and very English-accessible. I have not been to Nimes.

Posted by
7606 posts

I do like museums and I loved the museum in Arles. I agree it is very accessible to English-speakers. If you go, be sure to watch the short film about how they preserved the Roman barge that's on display. The film is at the end of the gallery where the boat is located and it did not look particularly well-signed to me. It is not really walkable from city center.

I've not been to the one in Nimes either.

Posted by
1107 posts

The Arles museum is a fun walk from the historic center whether you go along the river or through the RS-recommended neighborhood (roquette, I think?) which among many curiosities is where the oldest known person in history lived (see relevant article in The New Yorker last month). The new-ish gallery with the barge makes a good local museum into a good regional museum - it is a departement-level institution. Very chic by American standards.

Even with the new museum Nimes retains a great provincial (non-chic) vibe, especially if you actually follow the recommended walking tour put out by the mairie and attend to all the stops. The new museum was still finishing construction so I didn't get inside, but it's clear that the city fathers (and mothers) are doing their best to draw in visitors, similar to what Girona or Marseilles has been aiming at this past decade or so. That makes it a great time to get the best of both worlds -- built up attractions but not so trammelled and touristy as to be Rambla-cized. It does mean that traffic patterns and walking is not as appealing as when the streets were still narrow, but those are just a few minutes away.

Posted by
1383 posts

The best sight in Nimes was the Maison Carré, but the city allowed commercial development all around it, and it no longer is magnificent.

Posted by
17 posts

The new museum in Nimes is FANTASTIC. It is fantastic architecturally from the outside, and better inside. Be prepared, as I did, to spend 3-4 hours inside -- I could happily go back and spend another 3-4 hours. There is SO MUCH. I have been to so many other museums - some touted as having great Roman antiquities -- but the best I've seen are in Nimes. When I visited, in Feb. 2019, all of the placards were in French only - so it got a little tiresome for me by the end of the visit (my French is not very good). But, regardless, it is a fantastic museum, with extensive collections.

I haven't visited the archeological museum in Arles, so I cannot comment.