Journey back to the origins of the city of Nîmes through Roman and Medieval times. With 5,000 exceptional pieces and interactive displays, walk through 25 centuries of history in the Gard area in the Musée de la Romanité
1. The contemporary feel of the building
Designed by Elizabeth de Portzamparc, the corrugated glass façade of the museum recalls both the folds of a Roman toga and a mosaic, plunging visitors into an immersive visit. Facing the 2000-year-old Arena in the heart of Nîmes, the Musée de la Romanité opened in 2018, prompted by the discovery of a Roman house and mosaics in the town centre. Drawing inspiration from an ancient building while remaining anchored in modernity, the city constructed a resolutely contemporary 9,200m² building to house an exceptional collection.
2. A rich permanent collection
Travel through 25 centuries of history thanks to 5,000 exceptional objects, artefacts and artwork, from the Gallic, Roman and medieval periods. History is also recounted through vestiges from archaeological digs carried out over the centuries as well as reconstitutions and multimedia presentations. The Musée de la Romanité is a journey through time, from the 7th century BC (the Iron Age, the Gallic period) to the Middle Ages and complemented by several 18th and 19th century collections assembled by scholars.
3. The mosaic of Pentheus
Discover an exceptional 35m² mosaic among the best preserved in the world after those of Pompeii. Dating from the beginning of the 3rd century AD, it was discovered in 2006 during excavation work on Avenue Jean-Jaurès. Impressive not only by its size, its composition and colours are also awe-inspiring. It shows the mythological story of Pentheus who was put to death by his own mother for defying Dionysus.
4. Interactive experience
Play with history thanks to 65 interactive and playful devices. Reconstitution technology allows visitors to imagine the original appearance of ancient buildings and the everyday life of the population. Multimedia devices are scattered all along the visitors’ route and virtual visits using augmented reality make it possible to enter a Gallic house dating back to about 400 BC and a rich Roman residence! Look out also for the illuminated Knowledge Boxes scattered along the exhibition space.
5. The children’s games booklet
Discover the permanent collections with the whole family thanks to a game’s booklet for children handed out free of charge in French or English. You can also download the booklet here.
6. The temporary exhibition “Mémoire Vive. Olivier Laric”
Bringing digital art and archaeology together, this exhibition provides the Musée de la Romanité with an opportunity to highlight the influence of Greco-Roman antiquity on today’s artists. In collaboration with Carré d’Art, the contemporary art museum of the city of Nîmes that is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, the Musée de la Romanité will be showing the work of Oliver Laric until December 31.
The Austrian sculptor draws inspiration from antique Græco-Roman statuary and proposes re-interpretations, using digital technologies. At this exhibition, discover fifteen original sculptures and several other digital pieces inspired by works in the permanent collections of the Musée de la Romanité and, more generally, the antique heritage of Nîmes.
7. Sweeping views from the roof top terrace
Enjoy a breathtaking 360° view of Nîmes from the panoramic rooftop terrace above the museum. Spot the most emblematic monuments of the city: Saint Paul’s Church, the Magne Tower, Saint Castor’s Cathedral, the Arena, Saint Baudile’s Church, the Courthouse, Sainte Perpétue and Sainte Félicité’s Church, the Prefecture, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Protestant Temple of the Oratory.
8. Dinner with a view
Share a gourmet moment at the restaurant “La Table du 2”. On the second floor of the Musée de la Romanité in a magical setting opposite the Roman amphitheatre, the brasserie highlights regional products at accessible prices, in a simple and warm atmoshpere. Michelin two-star and Meilleur Ouvrier de France Franck Putelat is at the helm of the restaurant and imagines the exquisite menu using seasonal products.
9. The archaeological garden
Laid out around the Roman ramparts and other remains discovered during excavation for the building, the archaeological garden is designed as a ‘plant museum’. Both a green space in the heart of the town and an arboretum tracing the history of Nîmes, the 3,500m² of greenery display a broad range of the flora, as it arrived over the centuries…
10. The pediment of the Augusteum
Gaze upon the impressive pediment of the Roman Augusteum. Discovered in the 19th century in the Jardins de la Fontaine in Nîmes, fragments of a pediment from the Propylaea were stored in the Maison Carrée for a long time. From 2015 to 2016, these remains were cleaned, treated, analyzed and reassembled. The restored pediment is now on display at the entrance to the Musée de la Romanité and you can admire a modelling of what the Augusteum used to look like right next to it.
For more information, visit museedelaromanite.fr
Lead photo credit : The Musée de la Romanité, Nîmes © Stéphane Ramillon
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