Nîmes is a city in the south of France, at the foot of the Carrigues mountains in the north and west. The highest mountain is the Mont Cavalier, at whose top are the ruins of Roman defense works, the Tour Magne. To the south and to the east of the city there are extensive wine areas. The city is situated on the A9 motorway (Autoroute) between Orange and Montpellier. Marseille lies at 121 kilometres to the south-east of Nîmes.
Nîmes is an important industrial city, which is clearly visible in the suburbs: vast industrial estates that almost hide the fact that the centre has so much beauty to offer. Traditionally, it is a city where clothes and shoes were produced. The material of which jeans are made (denim) was first made in this city. The name is a contraction of the words 'de Nîmes'. The city is a commercial centre for the wines in the surrounding area. Thanks to the many Roman remains, tourists also contribute a great deal to the local economy.
The airport, Nîmes Airport (in full: L'aéroport de Nîmes-Arles-Camargues), is located 20 kilometres to the south-east of the city centre. It can be reached via the A54 motorway (exit 2). There is also a bus connection between the airport and the city. It is a fairly small airport, although it is still bigger than those of Carcassonne and Perpignan. The airport is mainly used by budget airline Ryanair, for flights to Brussels and to Great Britain (London-Luton, Liverpool and East Midlands).
The city has an extensive bus network, operated by Transports and Commun Nîmois (TCN). The central bus station is situated at the train station to the south of the old city. There are city buses as well as regional buses, which connect to, among other places, Montpellier, Avignon and the Pont du Gard.
There are trains to Arles, Avignon, Montpellier and Marseille. Nîmes is also connected to the TGV network in France, the journey to Paris takes about three hours.
The city is located 725 kilometres from Paris. From the French capital, you take to toll road A6/A7 (Autoroute du Soleil) until Orange. There you take the A9, after which it is some 60 kilometres before you reach Nîmes.
Up to the boulevards in the old city centre, driving is not harder than it is on other French cities, but it isn't recommended exploring the city centre by car. The streets are narrow and curvy, and there are many one-way streets. In addition, sitting behind the wheel of a car makes it harder to enjoy the beauty of this old city centre. Park your car at one of the clearly indicated car parks and proceed on foot. There are indoor car parks near the top attractions of Les Arènes and Maison Carrée, but the chance that they are full is high.
There are accommodations throughout the city. Needless to say the best hotels are located in the old centre. At the edge of the city there are budget hotels. In the surrounding area there are many campsites. The South of France is a popular holiday destination for French and foreigners alike. During the summer, you have to book your hotel room in advance; during the winter that is not necessary.
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