Coat of arms
To understand the origin of the town’s coat of arms one has to travel to Egypt. In 31 BC, Octavius defeated Anthony and Cleopatra’s fleet in the battle of Actium, and ensured Roman control of the Empire. Caesar Augustus was born.
A coin was struck in Nîmes to celebrate the event. On the reverse side was a crocodile chained to a palm tree surmounted by a laurel wreath, symbolizing the conquest of Egypt.
The inscription “Col Nem”, the Colony of Nîmes, suggests that victorious legionaries had been granted land near Nîmes. But in fact Nîmes was simply the place where the coin was minted. Over the centuries, the people of Nîmes became attached to these relatively common coins.
In 1535 they were authorized by king François 1 to adopt the palm tree and the crocodile as the town’s coat of arms. Since then the inhabitants have been extremely proud of their crest.
Redesigned in 1986 by Philippe Starck, it can be found all over the town, even in the bronze studs set in the paving of the old town.