Museum of Romanity
From June 2nd
In the heart of the city of Nîmes, opposite the famous 2000-year-old arenas, this museum is one of France’s biggest contemporary architectural and cultural projects. Built as an initiative of the Mayor of Nîmes, it presents the city’s extraordinary archaeological collections with an emphasis on the influence of ancient constructions on the development of Nîmes.
Designed by Elizabeth de Portzamparc, the building echoes the history of the city with its façade, draped like a Roman toga, and the thousands of glass tiles forming a contemporary mosaic. Residents
and tourists can cross it along an interior street, following the line of the old Augustan fortifications. The museum is also a place for relaxation, with its 3,500-m2 archaeological and Mediterranean garden and a planted roof terrace offering an exceptional view over the city. The museum boasts a bookshop, café and a restaurant, opened by Michelin-starred chef Franck Putelat.
The permanent collection
Through its innovative museography, the museum collection demonstrates the process of “Romanisation” that occurred in the region. Four spaces, designed by Chief Heritage Curator Dominique Darde, form a chronological sequence for the circuit: the Gallic period at the dawn of Roman culture; the Roman period; the Medieval period; and the Roman legacy. The museum rooms have been set around the monumental reconstruction of the pediment of the Sanctuaire de la Fontaine, a spectacular relic positioned 15m above the ground, symbolising this ancient period in Nîmes.
“Gladiators: heroes of the Colosseum”
June 2nd to September 24th
Numerous discoveries in Nîmes attest to the gladiator fights held in the Arenas, which had their own school. This spectacular exhibition, curated by Dr. Rosella Rea, curator of the Colosseum in Rome, presents pieces from a dozen Italian museums, including remains from Pompeii from the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. Based on meticulous scientific documentation, “Gladiators: heroes of the Colosseum” takes visitors on
a journey through time and up close to the complex daily lives of these emblematic figures. The exhibition features outstanding pieces in an interactive setting, with four sequences forming the circuit: the history of the fights, the daily lives of the gladiators, characteristics of the Colosseum and, finally, the spectacle in the arena.