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Introducing Nîmes

Nîmes' traffic-clogged, concrete-heavy outskirts provide a pretty uninspiring introduction to this ancient southern city, but push on and you'll discover some of southern France's best-preserved Roman buildings – including a 2000-year-old temple and a magnificent amphitheatre, where bullfights and gladiatorial battles are still staged.

Nîmes has a long-standing rivalry with nearby Montpellier, but it's perhaps best-known these days for its contribution to couture – namely the hard-wearing twill fabric known as serge de Nîmes, traditionally worn by agricultural labourers across the Languedoc, and nowadays known to all as denim.