Maison Carrée

Nîmes, France

The Maison Carrée is one of the best preserved Roman temple façades to be found in the territory of the former Roman Empire. In about 4-7 AD, the Maison carrée was dedicated or rededicated to Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar, grandsons and adopted heirs of Augustus who both died young. The building has undergone extensive restoration over the centuries.

The Maison Carrée is an example of Vitruvian architecture. Raised on a 2.85 m high podium, the temple dominated the forum of the Roman city, forming a rectangle almost twice as long as it is wide, measuring 26.42 m by 13.54 m. The façade is dominated by a deep portico almost a third of the building's length. It is a hexastyle design with six Corinthian columns under the pediment at either end, and pseudoperipteral in that twenty engaged columns are embedded along the walls of the cella. Above the columns, the architrave is divided by two recessed rows of petrified water drips into three levels. Egg-and-dart decoration divides the architrave from the frieze. On three sides the frieze is decorated with fine ornamental relief carvings of rosettes and acanthus leaves beneath a row of very fine dentils.

A large door (6.87 m high by 3.27 m wide) leads to the surprisingly small and windowless interior, where the shrine was originally housed. This is now used to house a tourist oriented film on the Roman history of Nîmes. No ancient decoration remains inside the cella.

Until the 19th century, it formed part of a larger complex of adjoining buildings. These were demolished when the Maison Carrée housed what is now the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes (from 1821 to 1907), restoring it to the isolation it would have enjoyed in Roman times. The pronaos was restored in the early part of the 19th century when a new ceiling was provided, designed in the Roman style. The present door was made in 1824.

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Details

Founded: 4-7 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in France
Historical period: Roman Gaul (France)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mark Hopman (2 years ago)
The exterior of this temple is exquisite - it's the only preserved Roman temple in existence. Although the current situation is not its original (it has been renovated), it still stands strong as a testament to the Romans' presence in the south of France. It's an impressive sight. The interior, however, is a tourist trap.
Classiarii (2 years ago)
This is a must visit city for anyone serious about exploring ancient Roman history, Stopped here on my way along the entire south of Spain and France, this felt like a very safe place with some good sites, Nimes was the capital of the Roman province of Gaul, which is evident by the beautiful architecture of the temple building and amphitheatre that are both still in excellent condition thanks to God they weren't burnt to the ground by invading barbarians or broken up for building materials after Rome's fall
Natalia Miłkowska (2 years ago)
Preserved in a good state, worth seeing!
Hugo Batista (2 years ago)
Maison Carre in Nimes. Coming from the Arena de Nimes through the narrow streets full of typical shops, let's go to Maison Carre. A must to visit in Nimes. It has a very large square around which is excellently preserved. The city preserves its Roman heritage.
Maxel Maxel maxel (2 years ago)
Nice outside but no value inside. 6euro for one movie of 10min. Just enjoy outside don't waste your time and money to visit inside
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