Nestled charmingly amongst the foothills of the Cevennes, Nîmes boasts one of the richest collections of classical buildings in France, each indicative of its long, exciting history. The city grew as an important crossroads in the ancient world, set on the roads between Rome and modern-day Spain. It quickly became one of the most prominent towns in Gaul - which was truly confirmed when Antonius Gaius, born in Nîmes, became Roman Emperor in 138 AD.
In later years, Nîmes became a cornerstone of the textile industry; the blue "serge de Nîmes", or denim, was soon a huge success. Nowadays, there is much to see in the city. One of the main attractions is the amphitheatre dating from the end of the first century AD. It had space for 24,000 spectators, which is not the largest to have survived but is one of the best-preserved ancient arenas in the world. There are a number of other delightful Roman antiquities to be found, along with archaeological collections and the Old Town, crammed with narrow streets and intimate squares.