© Krzysztof Golik — Travail personnel, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82059518 

25 January 2024  |  UNESCO

Maison Carrée of Nîmes

The Maison Carrée in Nîmes is the best preserved Roman temple in the world. This building is dedicated to the cult of the imperial family, inspired by the temples of Apollo and Mars Utlor in Rome, the Maison Carrée impresses with the harmony of its proportions and the majesty that emerges from this exceptional monument. Like all Roman temples, the building rests on a podium. 2.65 meters high, it highlights the temple, above the bustle of the public square. The stones used come from several quarries located around the city.

Fifteen steps

Fifteen steps for the staircase are not random and recall the very ritualistic nature of the Roman religion. It allows the priests of the cult to place their right foot on the first step and arrive with the same foot at the top of the stairs. This arrangement thus avoids starting (or ending) the ascent (or descent) with the left foot.

The imperial cult

Beyond its beauty, the Maison Carrée originally had a public and religious function from the time of its construction. This building is one of the rare Roman temples which is preserved in a good state of conservation. This jewel of balance testifies to the importance of the imperial cult within the new society that is being established. This dynastic cult is a unifying element between the hundreds of cities which constitute an immense mosaic of peoples and cultures. The temple is considered a masterpiece of Roman architecture and has influenced many neoclassical buildings over the centuries.

A unique monument in the world

The Maison Carrée in Nîmes is the only and oldest representative of the Augustan Corinthian order still standing, having preserved all of its decor intact. With its exceptional frieze decorated with scrolling scrolls of acanthus leaves, it is also, with the Pantheon in Rome, the best preserved temple in the Roman world, thus constituting one of the most important testimonies of architecture and diffusion of the imperial cult.

Share this article


Amélie Roca

I am a Community Manager for Pure France as well as the host of Pure France TV, presenting high quality rental homes all over France.

See more from Amélie Roca

Where in France


Open on Google maps

Villas & Châteaux in France

 Find your perfect French holiday home...

© Pure France.™ All rights reserved.

Choose language