Inspired by the temples of Apollo and Mars Ultor in Rome, the Maison Carrée charms visitors with its harmonious proportions. The only ancient temple to be completely preserved, the Maison Carrée measures 26 metres long by 15 metres wide and 15 metres high.
The ceiling of the pronaos (entrance to the temple) dates from the early 19th century and the current door was constructed in 1824. It is one of the expressions of the new regime introduced by the Emperor Augustus. He surrounded himself with his imperial family and created new sites for the staging of special events and to serve as an expression of the public authority. Monuments, inscriptions, statues and portraits and architectural décor all describe, each in their own language, the actions and evolution of the new regime. The Maison Carrée of Nîmes was part of this new political state of affairs.
The Maison Carrée owes its exceptional level of preservation to the fact that it was constantly in use from the 11th century. It has since served as a consular house, stables, apartments and even as a church. After the French Revolution, it became the headquarters for the first prefecture of the Gard region, and was then transformed into departmental archives.
"Nemausus, the Founding of Nîmes" film
The film is showing continuously every day at the Maison Carrée. From the Celtic oppidum to Romanisation during the Roman Empire, this film takes you into the history of the founding of Nîmes through the destinies of a family, between 55 BC and 90 AD.
“Our starting point when devising the story for this film was the stele of Flavila and Macrinus, housed in the Nîmes Museum of Archaeology”, explained Michael Couzigou, Director of Roman Monuments at Culturespaces. “We imagined the life of this Roman couple to tell the very real story of the origins of Nîmes.”
The film therefore goes back in time to the Celtic era, when the Narbonne region of Gaul was partly occupied by the Volcae tribe which founded Nîmes and made it their capital. They called it Nemausus, in reference to the name of the god of the sacred spring around which the town was to flourish.
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