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The Inside Track Late night dinners are de rigeur in this sultry town. In the summer, you’ll find people sitting outside restaurants lingering over coffee until the early hours of the morning, it’s almost too hot to eat in the heat of the day! Locals Love: The shaded terrace restaurant of the Carré d’Art Museum which offers spectacular views over the city and a great, seasonal menu. Bake my Day: Noailles (6 Boulevard Alphonse Daudet; www.patisserie-noailles. com), next to the Maison Carrée, is the best patisserie in Nîmes. Try the oreillette a thin, crispy beignet with a delicate orange blossom filling. Ice Ice Baby: Rumour has it that the best ice creams in town are to be had at Maison Courtois 8 Place du Marché, “not cheap“ says local Veronique “but truly delectable and made by a master, the chestnut and cognac ice cream is magnifique”. Aperitifs: Brasserie Le Napoleon, which is also great for dinner. Opened in 1813, this place is an institution in Nimes. It’s utterly gorgeous inside, filled with antiques, and is a listed building. The locals call it “Napo”. Have a picnic: the romantic Jardins des Fontaines are the ideal picnic spot and Les Halles, the vibrant covered market place of Nimes is perfect for picking up fresh produce (daily) from the 100 or so artisans and traders. Take Home a souvenir: Nimes loves its sweet croquants Villaré, an almond bisuit with a hint of lemon and orange blossom. Get them from Maison Villaret, founded in 1775, a legend with the locals.
Take a selfie at: Ask anyone in Nimes and they’ll tell you – the Arena, preferably in front of the bullfighter statue, is THE place for a Nimes selfie. Around and about: The spectacular Pont du Gard (www.pontdugard.fr) is just 12 miles away and should not be missed. Ingenious Roman engineering brought water from the beautiful nearby town of Uzès across this aqueduct to the Castellum in Nîmes. Far left in Nimes centre; left: at Le Napoleon; above: the symbol of Nimes designed by Philippe Starck Get there: Nimes is served by TGV (fast trains) and from Paris Gare de Lyon takes less than 3 hours. It’s just 30 minutes by train to Montpeller, 55 minutes to Marseille and 1 hour 20 minutes to Lyon Nearest airport: Nîmes-Alès-Camargue-Cévenne, 15 kms from the centre, there’s a shuttle service available. Stay at: Apartcity.com comfy, close and great value. Tourist office website for loads of useful information: OT-Nimes.fr
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