Remarkable garden and the first public garden in Europe, the Jardins de la Fontaine stretch out over 15 hectares and are divided into two parts: a classical garden created in the 1800s and a landscaped Mediterranean garden created in the 1900s. Situated near the ancient fortifications of Nîmes, to the west of the Maison Carrée, the gardens are the product of a city beautification project in the mid-18th century.
The work carried out at that time to dig the vast pond and construct the monumental stairway uncovered much older vestiges of a place of worship set up near a spring, hence its name. Already in the time of the Celts, a religion was centered around Nemausus and a dedication to Nîmes goddesses has been found.
But it was the Romans who built a temple devoted to Augustus, with a whole architectural ensemble centered around the nymphaeum and including the very romantic vaulted edifice of the Temple of Diana, the function of which remains a mystery. It may have housed a library.
Today, the gardens are richly ornamented with baroque sculptures and huge urns. New spaces have been created, such as the rock garden, the Montgolfier pond and the Mazet.
It offers an oasis of peace and greenery to the people of Nîmes with all generations coming here for walks or to relax. A lane of cypresses leads to the Magne Tower that dominates the Rocher de la Fontaine rock.
The Féérie des Eaux water and light show illuminates the splendid gardens every month of August, attracting more than 30,000 visitors.
The Jardins de la Fontaine in Nîmes, pond and classical garden
The wrought-iron gate of the Jardins de la Fontaine, a work by the metalworker Leclair
The Nymphaeum in the Jardins de la Fontaine
The grand stairway in the Jardins de la Fontaine in Nîmes
Les Jardins de la Fontaine - Quai de la Fontaine - 30000 Nîmes