GALLO – ROMAN PERIOD
In approximately 50 BC, Nîmes became a colony of The Roman Empire. Coins bearing the abbreviation NEM. COL. or Colony of Nîmes bear testimony. Eventually, a church and other buildings were erected at this location. While the colony was already under Roman occupation it was not until the reign of Augustus that it achieved its glory and became the capital of the province. He created a fortified city with fourteen towers and six kilometers and the walls connecting them ran for six kilometers. Of the gates, there are still two remaining: Porte Auguste and Porte de France. Other structures he caused to be built included the Forum and perhaps the aqueduct. Some monuments no longer remain but architectural fragments and inscriptions have been found in the course of excavations that have taken place. There is evidence of a gymnasium, a civil basilica and possibly even a circus.
Tour Magne is at the summit of Mt. Cavalier: here the city began, and from its top, there is a panoramic view over the Fountain Gardens and the city. Today the tower is thirty meters high. It is believed to have been at least ten meters higher originally.
Today the tower is decked out with banners and information boards that provide that explains the monument, its history and cultural significance. There is access to the top with panoramic views across Nîmes.
This ancient watchtower, stood sentry over the Via Domitia which linked Italy and Spain. This great tower is the last remnant of the ancient city constructed by Augustus. Erected at the pinnacle of Mont Cavalier it dominated the entire plain. Its size and position showcased the prestige and supremacy of the colony over the city.
As recent as 1337-1453 Tour Magne was pressed into service against the English during the 100 year war.