The Tour Magne, or the Great Tower, is the only remnant of the ancient Augustan fortifications. Standing at the highest point of the Nïmes, Mont Cavalier, it overlooks the entire plain and is a focal point for all means of communication.

The tower was originally a dry-stone oval tower, with a maximum height of 18m and already part of a rampart. A structure that was both prestigious and strategic, it represented sanctuary and protected the oppidum. By doubling its height and incorporating it into the town walls, Augustus demonstrated the new power of the colony of Nîmes over the 'City' (in the territorial sense) of the Volcae. When the town’s population abandoned the higher ground, the Tour Magne nevertheless continued to play a military role. It was used to defend against the English during the Hundred Years’ War.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: around 0 AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Roman Gaul (France)

More Information

arenes-nimes.com

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Cpt. JoJo (2 years ago)
Good place to visit if you are in the city. You are not going here primary due this but if you are already here you should walk in the park and this is perfect ending point of your walk. The ticket to the top can be bought together with some another sightseeing in the Nimes so may be better to think about bit when you will go there.
Toma Nicodin (2 years ago)
In few words • Take a small hike to see the building and admire the outside. Inside is not worth that much; expensive unless you get the 4 monument pass. The views are ok, but not impressive.
M.A. Garcias (2 years ago)
Beautiful place with an astounding view of the city. Worth the 15 minute walk up the steep road and climbing the vertigo-inducing steps to the top.
Taha Javaid (3 years ago)
A lot of stairs to go up but the view from the above is simply magnificent. This tower is one of the many that used to form a wall around the city. It's the only one left.
Camille Murphy (3 years ago)
Good value as part of the Nimes Pass but not by itself. It offers good views of Avignon. It's a bit of a hike to get up there through the park, and then in the tower itself you need to go up three flights of narrow stairs with people going both directions. Definitely not for unfit people or those with mobility issues. Going down the stairs can be slippery, so be careful!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.