Maison Carrée in Nîmes: little holes and odd plans
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 used to hang bronze letters. Indeed, this inscription used to be here: "To 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! She was Louise de Clermont: oh, we met her in 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, the house 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! Oops, it’s a little bit crazy, isn’t it? He asked architect Mansart’s opinion: well, he said it wasn’t really possible...
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.