Maison Carrée in Nîmes: little holes and odd plans

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The house - ©Ayush Jain / CC-BY-SA The house - ©Ayush Jain / CC-BY-SA
Nîmes Maison carrée House Gallo-Roman Louis XIV Louise de Clermont-Tallard

Holes in the stone

Raised by Augustus in honour of his adoptive grandsons (Agrippa, Caius and Lucius Caesar), it's probably one of the finest Roman masterpiece in France! Oh, look: we can see holes on the façade, where they probably hanged bronze letters. Indeed, this inscription used to be here: "To the princes of youth, C. Caesar, Augustus son, consul, and L. Caesar, consul." This house (26 metres high and 13 metres wide) have 30 Corinthian columns.

A grave for Louise

As time went by, it was transformed into a capitol then into a church and a city hall in the 18th century. Until 1576, where a noble lady turned up with a particular idea in her mind… to buy the house and transform it into a tomb for her husband! This lady?

She was Louise de Clermont: oh, we met her in the ducal castle of Uzès with Antoine de Crussol, her husband! So, she suggested her project to the city’s mayors. But they didn’t want to, and Louise died in 1596...

Shall we move?

In 1670, it was even converted as... a stable! Then, Colbert (Louis XIV’s minister) turned up in Nîmes and wanted… to move the Maison Carrée in Versailles! Ups, it’s a little bit crazy, isn’t it? Louis thought he was a Roman god, OK, but there are limits! He asked architect Mansart’s opinion: well, he said it wasn’t really possible...

The visit

The department get back the house in 1789. Finally sir Villiers du Terrage, prefect of Gard, owned it in 1815: he opened a museum and saved it from destruction… Thanks sir! Thanks to him, we can visit the house: projection of a little film about Nîmes’ history.

And also!