In Nîmes, after the Place du Marché, Avenue Carnot also finds its palm tree

This Thursday, May 2, a Washingtonia palm is planted near the bus shelter designed by Philippe Starck in Carnot. As with the Place du Marché, the avenue thus finds the coat of arms of Nîmes.

He is approximately 7 meters tall and around 40 years old. The new palm tree on Avenue Carnot is planted this Thursday morning. A Washingtonia type palm tree – like the one at the Place du Marché planted on April 18 – which replaces the one which was cut down in September 2021, also a victim of the red weevil (a beetle insect which destroys palm trees by gnawing on them with interior).

Starckophage »

Before arriving on the avenue, this palm tree had been installed at the former Albert-Camus school at Mas-de-Mingue. But with the creation of the new Jean-d’Ormesson educational and cultural center, the palm tree was transferred to municipal nurseries.

Today it is found next to the “Starckophage”, nickname of the bus shelter designed in 1987 by designer Philippe Starck. The latter draws the shape of a crocodile on the ground with urban furniture in dark marble. With the return of the palm tree, Avenue Carnot reconnects with the symbols of the coat of arms of the City of Antonin.

The coat of arms of Nîmes: crocodile and palm tree

It was King François I, around 1535, who ordered the people of Nîmes to use the crocodile chained to a palm frond as their coat of arms. Symbols which, of course, refer to the naval battle of Actium in 31 BC where the Romans, led by Octavian and his general Agrippa, subdued Egypt. Egypt is then represented as a crocodile chained to a palm frond – the Roman symbol of victory.

In 1985, Jean Bousquet, mayor at the time, proposed a modern version of the city’s coat of arms. He then called on the famous designer Philippe Starck. The latter in 1987 also created marble street furniture for Nîmes on Avenue Carnot providing a very contemporary interpretation of the crocodile and palm tree of the city’s coat of arms.

For the Market Square, it is the work of the artist Martial Raysse. This square hosts a marble fountain with a bronze crocodile. A work created in 1987, in collaboration with the Italian sculptor Vito Tongiani.

By Julien Ségura

Relive behind the scenes of the Market Square palm plantation on video.




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