Nîmes, France

The Top Attraction In Nîmes: A Bullfight In A 2000-year-old Amphitheater. 


In September of 2013, my boyfriend at the time and I embarked on a three-week road through France and Spain. When we were in Southern France we decided to make a pit stop in Nîmes for a quick bite to eat. After a pretty basic lunch on a quiet road, we headed out or a walk to see if there was anything interesting around. Within about ten minutes of walking, the ghost town vibe turned into a carnival-like party. Hoards of revelers in red and white, food trucks, carts, and stalls lined the streets while music blared from all corners. What on earth was going on? Turns out we arrived during one of Nîmes most popular weekends, Feria des Vendanges (Wine Harvest). Initially what was a seemingly uneventful day now became an afternoon of sheer enjoyment.

A bullfighting event was happening in their Amphitheater so we bought tickets and found our way through the underground tunnels up to our nosebleed seats. With views of Nîmes behind us and the bullring in its full glory in front, the whole experience was utter madness. I had been to the famous bullfight competition in Pamplona years prior, but this was Chris’s first experience and watching it together changed my views on how I saw this ‘sport’.


When I first watched the fight in Pamplona, I was mesmerized by the dance-like movements of the Matador and the empowering bull that moved around him with force. I cheered when the bull was killed and encouraged the Matador, along with the crowd, to slice off the bull’s ear. I had never witnessed anything like this and was in awe of this cultural phenomenon. Now, fast forward ten years and it’s a whole different game. Instead of cheering along or encouraging the Matador to tease the bull, we watched in sadness. We felt unnerved and sad for the bull to be killed for our pleasure. It seemed wrong for us to want this defenseless bull killed for our entertainment. After 30 minutes we headed out as we felt guilty and honestly a bit sickened by what we saw.

Although the bullfight didn’t turn out as planned, we were glad we went into the arena as Nîmes 2000-year-old Amphitheatre is incredible. It holds over 20,000 spectators and houses differing shows and events throughout the year. If a bullfight is not your thing, still make a point to come to Nîmes and visit this historical complex. For 10€ it is well worth it to walk through the tunnels, the original stands and maybe even inside the arena. You can’t do that at the Roman Colosseum – just saying.


  • What: Amphitheatre of Nîmes
  • Where: Southern France near Montpellier, Avignon & Mediterranean Sea
  • Hours: See website
  • Fees: 10€