Low-cost carrier Ryanair is launching a new direct flight route between Dublin and the southern French city of Nîmes, set to run twice per week from 1 April to 31 October 2022 (Tuesdays and Saturdays).
The new route joins 12 existing routes to French cities from the Irish capital: Biarritz, Bordeaux, Paris-Beauvais, Carcassonne, Lourdes, La Rochelle, Marseille, Nice, Nantes, Rodez, Toulouse and Tours. Ryanair DAC’s CEO, Eddie Wilson, commented: “We are pleased to announce our largest ever flight schedule at Dublin Airport this summer. This extensive programme will see Ryanair operate over 900 weekly flights to over 120 destinations, giving inbound tourism a much-needed boost while also giving Irish consumers the widest choice of great destinations this summer.”
The airport management has announced €1.3m of renovation work in 2022 “to improve the passenger experience, for a more efficient welcome”. Due for completion in April/May, new features are expected in the terminal with the installation of areas highlighting tourist destinations, including Nîmes itself.
Nîmes, the destination
A southern French city in Occitanie between the Cévennes and the Camargue, Nîmes is all about contrast: today a lively commercial centre, but rooted in 2,000 years of history. The Arena (amphitheatre) and Maison Carrée (application to Unesco label 2023), a majestic restored temple, are just two of the numerous Roman gems to be found here; there are also splendid mansions and grand gardens, notably the Jardins de la Fontaine which were laid out on a Roman site in the 18th century. Nîmes is also a city anchored in modernity, with urban works and buildings designed by great contemporary architects such as Nouvel and Foster. Markets line the palm-fringed streets and the city comes alive with festivals in the summer months: the Feria takes place in June and September, while the music festival runs through June and July.
One of Nîmes cultural highlights is the Musée de la Romanité, one of France’s major contemporary architectural projects showcasing 5,000 works dating from 7th century BC to the 14th century, and central to celebrating the city’s rich classical heritage. Augmented-reality and monumental audio-visual technology make the visitor experience truly memorable. Getting around Nîmes is easy by its little train, with commentated tours departing from the Tourist Office, between July and October – and don’t miss the famous UNESCO-listed Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct just outside the city. The teams at the Nîmes Tourist Office offer you a variety of ways to explore the city: train rides, guided tours with exclusive access, or entire made-to-measure itineraries.
“In addition to being the ‘French Rome’ and an important place for food (Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant just got its 2nd Michelin star), wine (Costieres de Nimes) and rugby, Nimes is also bolstered by three key assets: heritage, culture and large-scale events,” explains Xavier Douais, Deputy to the Mayor of Nimes and tourism delegate. “A visit to the city is all about experiencing the French way of life and making new connections – and it’s the ideal base from which to explore the south of France, since it’s less than an hour from the Mediterranean, Provence, the Cevennes and the Camargue, Arles and Avignon.”
Franck Proust, President of Nimes Métropole, comments: “France is Ireland’s closest European neighbour and, with the launch of this new route, we are celebrating a reciprocal friendship between our two countries sharing the same core values.”
“We are embarking on a new adventure, a story of increased closeness and lasting friendship between two countries attracted by their differences and drawn together by their humanity,” says Pascale Fortunat Deschamps, President of Gard Tourism. “And as you say so well: ‘We will come for Ireland, we will come back for the Irish!'”