Musée de la Romanité – Nîmes

Be ready for
a historic
Experience

« Revealing the roots of the identity of Nîmes in its Roman past,
the Musée de la Romanité is resolutely contemporary and forms
an exceptional showcase for the archaeological collections… »

Jean-Paul Fournier
Mayor of Nîmes

façade musée romanité

Explore The Roman world

THE PERMANENT ROUTE FOR VISITS

The Roman pediment that decorated the entry to the sanctuary of the spring that marks the founding of the town is right at the entry to the museum. A monumental projection gives life to these remains and takes you on an incredible voyage into the heart of Roman Nîmes some 2000 years ago…

The Iron Age:

the Gauls to the beginnings of the Roman influence

Welcome to the entirely reconstituted house at nearby Gailhan.  Share the daily life and astonishing rites of the Volcae Arecomici who settled at the site of Nîmes well before the Roman colony. Numerous traces and objects are used in a reconstitution of a society of considerable economic importance. Enter the Roman world by continuing your route along the Via Domitia and its milestones that ran from Rome to Narbonne.

The Roman world

The ancient town is brought back to life by immersive technological methods. From the museum, see—as if live—the building of the ramparts, the prestigious fortifications that indicated the important status of the town. For you, the Roman villas have regained their fine decoration. Take part in a banquet given on the sublime ‘Pentheus’ mosaic, discovered in 2006, placed in its original setting thanks to projection techniques. Roman everyday life unfolds before your eyes: trades, cooking, toys and even Roman fashion that you can try thanks to augmented reality before learning about the spirits of the gods, the world of the dead and funerary rituals. Projections linked to stelae help you to understand the touching story of the lives of the men and women who lived there nearly 2000 years ago.

The Medieval period

The trip through history takes you into the Middle Ages. Here, the architectural elements are strongly inspired by Roman traditions: columns and acanthus leaves. See bestiaries and stories of biblical characters.  Admire the Valbonne sarcophagus, bas-reliefs showing combats with monsters… The Middle Ages reveals all the richness of its imagination.

Sarcophage en marbre

The heritage

Let yourself be guided by the spirit of Roman-ness or ‘Romanitas’. In Nîmes, ‘Romanitas’ was reinvented over the centuries. The wise and the erudite, contemporary architects and designers are passers-on of history who each reinterprets Romanitas in his or her fashion. Using various collected items and photographic or film references, control the display on a large screen to set out your contemporary panorama or references to Romanitas.

Dispositif multimedia

TEMPORARY EXHIBITION

From 2 June to 24 September

Gla diat ors Heroes of the coliseum

expo gladiateurs

will you survive a day in the arena as a gladiator?

Learn about the often poorly known everyday life of these important heroes who have been immortalised in the imagination by many references in epic films.

The history of gladiators, the famous heroes of the arena, is unfolded in Nîmes. See their daily life, equipment and training and the ingenious construction of the amphitheatres in which they fought—and become one of these heroes yourself for a day.
The exhibition is from the Coliseum in Rome and uses the latest scientific discoveries to show the world of gladiators, with exceptional facilities and interaction.
It is the last chance to see this exhibition as it is finishing its round-the-world trip in Nîmes.

Casques gladiateurs

Contemplate exceptional pieces

Discovering Antiquity in the present

An archaeological museum of a new generation

More than 5000 items and 65 multimedia facilities for a dive into Antiquity.

Cross the museum, follow the remains of the old rampart and walk beneath the pediment from the sanctuary at the spring…

this is where the voyage in time begins

Brush up your botany in the archaeological garden

Like the inside of the museum, the garden is laid out on three levels to show how the landscape was modelled—under the impulse of the Phoenicians in the Iron Age, by the Romans when species from distant countries were introduced and flourish in the soil of Nîmes, by returning crusaders, etc.  Various migratory movements played a role and gradually formed today’s plant landscape. Olive, fig and almond arrived during the Gallic period. The Romans brought lavender, thyme, garlic and chestnut. The Crusades contributed peach, tarragon, chives and plum. And if you would like to know how to cook the condiment plants that grow in the garden, see the Roman kitchen in the permanent exhibition!

Feeling peckish?

Make for the Café du Musée for a snack or La Table du 2, with its gastronomic bistro concept. Both run by Franck Putelat who gained two Michelin stars in Carcassonne. Enjoy a peaceful moment in a unique setting opposite the Roman Arena.

A present, a souvenir?

The bookshop/boutique reinvents the codes of Romanitas for contemporary objects.

Spend a little time on the planted flat roof for an unforgettable 360° view of the roofs of Nîmes and the Arena—like a fifth façade exposed to the sky.

Decipher the roman influence

Here, History has a future

“A domus and two mosaics—referred to as the Achilles mosaic and the Pentheus mosaic— were discovered in 2006/2007 during preventive excavations prior to work along Allées Jean Jaurès. In an excellent state of conservation, they are described by specialists as being ‘the finest pieces after those of Pompeii.’
This discovery strengthened my determination to create a contemporary museum to display these extremely rare works, together with those housed in the archaeological museum that dates back to the 19th century.
Revealing the roots of the identity of Nîmes in its Roman past, the Musée de la Romanité is one of the most striking architectural and cultural projects of the beginning of the century for the City of Nîmes and also for the entire region.
Guided by a strong need to show our magnificent heritage and pass it on to future generations, we have done all we can to make this museum an exceptional display facility for our impressive archaeological collections—restored on this occasion”.

Jean-Paul Fournier, Mayor of Nîmes

More than setting up a simple confrontation, Elizabeth de Portzamparc has generated true architectural dialogue between two buildings separated by 2000 years of history.

«The competition explicitly requested the creation of a museum that would be a contemporary response to the Roman Arena. I analysed the Arena for a long time and asked myself about the very notion of a contemporary building and how to exalt the 21 centuries of history separating the two structures. Designing light architecture—made possible by present technology—seemed obvious to me, as did expressing the differences between the two architectures through dialogue based on their complementarity. On one side a round volume enclosed by the verticals of the Roman stone arches and firmly anchored in the ground and on the other a large square volume, set in levitation and draped entirely in a folded glass toga.»

Elizabeth de Portzamparc

The two facing buildings complete each other harmoniously through their forms, lines and masses: the oval and the rectangle, the vertical and the horizontal, the density of stone and the lightness of glass. This dialogue continues inside the museum as both the façade and the glassed inner structure use transparency and a play of perspectives to show the rich heritage of Nîmes  (the splendid fragment of the fronton from the entry to the sanctuary of the spring, pillars, the different works of the museographical route and the 2000-year-old amphitheatre facing it). The Museum is thus fully keyed in to the city. Its façade catches all the various lights as the day goes by and reflects each of its emotions.

A technological challenge

Elizabeth de Portzamparc chose ‘sober, light and refined architecture based on the lightening of masses and economy of forms’. This gives the building its impression of lightness and levitation. ‘Silk-screen printed cladding’ fitted by hand to undulating stainless steel framing envelopes the four sides of the museum (surface area 2,500m²). This structure consisting of 6,708 glass tiles similar to mosaic gives the whole a very light drapery effect that brings to mind a Roman toga.

Sharing A historical experience

Nîmes, the French Rome

Just a walk in the city is enough to immerse oneself in Romanitas by discovering its immense Roman heritage. Like the natives of Nîmes, you benefit from contemporary life in a fantastic Roman setting. The Arena, the Maison Carrée, the Tour Magne, the remains of the ramparts and other features are in an excellent state of conservation. Among original monuments are the ‘Castellum divisorium’, a Roman structure receiving the water conveyed by the aqueduct that includes the Pont du Gard and then the imperial sanctuary at the La Fontaine spring.

Archaeological exploration

Numerous signs of the past of Nîmes are found in the ground and make substantial archaeological news. Preliminary cultural resources digs have resulted in magnificent discoveries in the last 20 years. For example, the splendid Achilles and Pentheus mosaics found in a domus during excavation works in Allées Jean Jaurès in 2006-2007 could not be displayed in the former Archaeological Museum in Boulevard Amiral Courbet because of lack of space. Today, the collection of more than 25,000 items deserved to be shown in an exceptional setting. For your trip back into history, the collections are displayed through and with new technologies centred on innovative museography. The Roman items are thus in their ancient context and generate all the emotion of having gone through the centuries and are now revealed and passed on to future generations. The scientific and cultural planning of the Musée de la Romanité was handled by Dominique Darde, Chief Cultural Heritage Curator of the City of Nîmes, and her team.

Plunge into the roman civilization

Deciphering the traces of the past

At each discovery, archaeologists perform substantial scientific work which, thanks to the new technologies, makes it possible to assemble and combine different items and fragments found to set objects and the way that they were used in their context of historical reality. They thus succeed in precise identification of past ways of life and rituals. A fairly faithful image is emerging of life in the area several hundred years ago. The building of the new museum means that collections and the history of the city can be displayed and, above all, the experience can be shared. More broadly, it is a resource focus that can pass on all archaeological news about Romanitas.

Restoration of the works

The maintenance and restoration of the collections are an integral part of the work of the museum. The Archaeological Museum has intensified its restoration programme for the presentation of the works in the new setting. Since 2012, the team of curators in charge of the project has had the entire collection examined in order to draw up a full assessment of its condition. This is extremely valuable for precise determination of priorities. A large proportion of the collection displayed has been restored: the 12 mosaics, the statue of Neptune, the monumental fragments of the pediment of the propylaeum, the 100 Roman sculptures and a dolium, a huge earthenware vessel that used to be on display in front of the Maison Carrée, etc. All these objects that have in turn played a role in the past bear a special emotion as today they show the lives of the people who used them. The present approach consists of maximum conservation of the authenticity of items—sometimes fragmented or in parts—without hiding modern complements, that would seem to indicate that the object has survived intact. It is sometimes necessary to correct old restoration work to give the object its appearance as passed down to us so that they will be intact for future generations.

Get Through
25 centuries of History

A few figures

News

2 and 3 June 2018

28 Mar 2018

Save the date!
2 and 3 June 2018: opening of the Musée de la Romanité!
Be prepared for a historical experience. On Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 June, free access to the Museum: Antiquity is expecting you! During the opening weekend you will have free access to the permanent displays, the exhibition ‘Gladiators: Heroes of the Coliseum’ and a fabulous place. Don’t miss the experience!

Direct from the Museum

28 Mar 2018

Installation of the collections:
Strange bestiaries have taken position in the Museum, decorating the capitals, ornaments, friezes and bas-reliefs of the collection covering the medieval period and are now ready for visitors! These splendid items recount many legends and reveal the varied influences and much Roman inspiration that lasted throughout the Middle Ages. You will soon learn all their secrets!

Practical information

Museum of Romanity

Boulevard des Arènes
30000 Nîmes

Open every day:

from 2/6 to 30/6
and from 1/9 to 4/11
10 am to 7 pm

from 1/7 to 31/8
10 am to 8 pm

except on Tuesdays
from 5/11 to 31/3
10 am to 6 pm

Full price: €8
Reduced price: €6
Free for children
up to 7
Family price
(2 adults + 2 children): €19

GET TICKETS

Groups

Groups are welcomed from 10 am every day that the museum is open. Reservation is essential.

Prices (including VAT)
from 02/06/18 to 31/12/19

For 20 persons

Independent visit of the museum
(permanent collection and temporary exhibits) : €6

Guided visit: 1h30 (including independent entry)
on reservation: €9

Tel: (0)4.48.21.02.20

Businesses

An unforgettable venue for your prestige events!

The Musée de la Romanité invites you for a trip back in time to discover Nîmes, the ‘French Rome’, thanks to multimedia systems, augmented reality and monumental audiovisual technology. More than a museum, this contemporary venue forms an exceptional setting and purpose-built facilities for your events: seminar rooms, a panoramic restaurant, an archaeological garden and a superb rooftop area with an incredible view of the city.

Tel : (0)4.48.210.224

Schools

As soon as the schools start again in September, pupils are welcome for independent or guided visits.

Contact us!

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