Cimiez Roman Ruins - History and Facts | History Hit

Cimiez Roman Ruins

Nice, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France

The Cimiez Roman Ruins are remnants of the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum.

Antara Bate

26 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Cimiez Roman Ruins

The Cimiez Roman Ruins are remnants of the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum and include some of the walls of a Roman baths complex and of a small arena. They mostly date back to the third century.

Cimiez Roman Ruins history

This site marks where the Roman city of Cemenelum once stood. The city was the capital of the Ancient Roman province Alpes Maritimae on the Ligurian coast. At the time Cemenelum was an important rival of Nice and continued to be a separate city until the Lombard invasions.

Mostly from the 3rd century, these remains actually include different periods of construction from the 1st to the 7th century. A 1st century wall limits the northern thermal baths. This northern thermal complex has a cold room, a frigidarium which has maintained an elevation of more than 10 metres.

During the Belle Epoque, Cimiez became the favourite holiday resort for the Kings and Queens of Europe: Victoria, Edward VII, George V, and Leopold II stayed in Cimiez. Queen Victoria spent part of her long visits to the French Riviera at the Excelsior Régina Palace which is close by. The Nice Jazz Festival was held on the grounds of the ruins in July each year from 1974-2010.

Also in close proximity is the Cimiez Monastery and church that have been used by the Franciscan friars since the 16th century and the cemetery where painters Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy and Nobel Prize for Literature winner Roger Martin du Gard are buried.

Cimiez Roman Ruins today

The ruins that can be picked out today include the remnants of public baths and an amphitheatre where the Romans held games. The weather weary white stones, reclaimed by nature are a thought provoking reminder of Nice’s earliest residents.

The nearby archeology museum displays artefacts from the Lingurian, Roman and early Christian periods. There is a small archeology museum with information about the ruins. This site is also near to the Matisse Museum. Sculptures of influential Jazz figures around the park serve as a nod to the site’s musical past.

Getting to the Cimiez Roman Ruins

The ruins are adjacent to the Matisse Museum and Roman history museum and is easily accessible by bus. The nearest bus stop is the Les Arènes/ Musée stop.

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