Maison Carree

Maison Carree is one of the oldest buildings in France and one of the best-preserved Roman structures remaining today. This ancient temple is a perfect example of harmony in architecture design—one patterned after the Roman temple of Apollo. It's located next to an amazing Roman amphitheater and the Tour Magne (the Great Tower), all that remains from the city wall built in ancient times by Augustus.

Once you arrive at the site, you'll find many ways to discover the history of Roman Nimes. An audio guide, which is free to enjoy, is available in eight different languages. You'll feel like you've stepped back into Roman times as you hear the roar of the crowd and stand where the gladiators once participated in the games. Multimedia exhibits explain the different costumes and modes of combat. Culturespaces, the organization that oversees the trio of historic monuments, also has added several short films to the list of exhibits that bring to life the world the gladiators and the world of the matador; bullfights have been a tradition since ancient times.

At Maison Carree, the multimedia production takes a broader view of history. Visitors don glasses and sit in front of a large screen to watch this 3-D flick that explains life in Nimes and the South of France from Roman times through the Middle Ages to festivals celebrated today.

A variety of ticket packages are available for those visiting Maison Carree Nimes France. The best deal is a three-monument pass, which is discounted for kids age 7 to 17, students, and teachers. Anyone under the age of 7 can visit for free. The family rate means a free visit for the second child when two adults and one other child ticket are purchased. You also could buy tickets to just the amphitheater, tower, or Maison Carree, which also provide youth discounts and free admission for youngsters and teachers. Discounts also are available for those visiting in a group or on organized tours.

A special book was designed just for young visitors to Maison Carree and its sister sites. This book is packed with activities that will make history come alive, all with a sense of humor. A mouse named Filou guides kids through the galleries and terraces of the ancient Roman Amphitheater on the hunt for clues. The book is available free of charge at the entrance. For those who want to purchase some books to bring home, they should make time to visit the gift shop. Nestled inside the amphitheater, the shop carries much more than books. The selection of gifts includes jewelry, shirts, comic books, and even games that let you reenact the world of gladiators once you arrive back at home.

The monuments are open throughout the year, with various operating hours depending on the season. If you're planning to take the audio tour, you'll need to visit at least an hour before close. Self-guided tours can begin as little as a half hour before close. If there's an event on the evening schedule, there might be an early closing. Maison Carree Nimes France hosts a variety of special events in a one-of-a-kind setting, including rock concerts, fireworks, and a harvest festival. In a nod to a Mediterranean tradition, there's also bullfights on the schedule.

Culturespaces has worked hard to preserve the historic sites in Nimes while upgrading visitor experiences. In addition to Maison Carree Nimes France, the organization watches over sites throughout France and Belgium. The Jacquemart-Andre Museum in Paris is a another, as are the Roman theater in nearby Orange, and the Waterloo Battlefield in Belgium.

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