Nîmes in southern France is the perfect place for anyone who likes ancient architecture or photographing it. Not only is the light great in that part of the world (even when it’s cloudy) but there are a ton of interesting ruins and amazingly intact structures to visit which are easily accessible by public transport.
Below is a gallery of pictures I took while staying in Nîmes and exploring the surrounding area. Nîmes itself was probably my favourite area to investigate – a small city but one with a surprisingly high density of incredibly intact Roman ruins. And who doesn’t like a good Roman ruin (though my 3D printed Roman coins were no good for admission).
Must-see sights include the Arena of Nîmes (a mini Colosseum where they stage re-enactments of Gladiator battles) and the Maison Carrée (which is currently being renovated but still looks amazing from the outside).
The aqueduct at Pond du Gard, 20 miles away and an hour by bus, was also pretty impressive though mostly for its age – unless you wanted to go for a long hike there wasn’t that much to do around the site. The aqueduct itself reminded me of a sandy-coloured version of Victorian railway bridges in the UK and it seemed to be a popular place for school trips.
While I was away I also experimented with leaving my camera behind on one of the days, a day spent in what ended up being my favourite place on the trip – Lyon. I didn’t regret it though as I found I took in more of my surroundings and identified plenty of places I want to go back and photograph on a longer visit.
It was my first time exploring southern France and in addition to Nîmes and Lyon I’d also recommend visiting Montpellier and Arles. I’d invested in a three-day Interrail pass because I thought I’d travel further afield, but found enough to do close to Nîmes that it probably wasn’t worth it in the end.