On July 1, 1994, Thursdays of Nîmes were launched: a look back at a successful summer event

On July 1, 1994, Thursdays of Nîmes were launched: a look back at a successful summer event

Les Jeudis de Nîmes, au fil des années, ont trouvé leur public familial. Midi Libre – Archive Mikaël Anisset

On July 1, 1994, the first edition of Jeudis de Nîmes was launched. Current president of the Agglo, Franck Proust, who was then president of the Nîmes Tourist Office and experienced the beginnings, remembers.

With 60,000 people each evening, the Thursdays of Nîmes, which are celebrating their 30th anniversary this July 4, have found their audience and in July and August bring the historic center of the city to life, enough to delight local merchants. This is what dictated the choice of the mayor at the time, Jean Bousquet, and the president of the tourist office, a certain Franck Proust, current president of Nîmes Métropole, to launch this event.

The second remembers this first edition on July 1, 1994: "In July and August, the city, touristy, magnificent, a gift from the gods, is often declared as the hottest in France. We didn't want a dead town in the evening and attracting people returning from the beach. We had to try to find an activity that would allow them to visit the city, to consume in shops open, once a week, between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m."< /em>

It could have been called the Fridays of Nîmes but this date was quickly ruled out: it was necessary to take into account the fact that tourists and locals were preparing their departure on that day. The choice of Thursday was therefore obvious. But we had to convince the merchants to open in the evening, in the middle of summer, without having a guarantee of significant attendance.

Living places

On the main squares of the city center (Bellecroix, du Marché, de la Calade, Ilot Littré), entertainment is gradually taking place with music but at first the list of businesses open on Thursday evening is not very long. "No matter, Jean Bousquet told me that we should not be discouraged because the hardest part was done: it was launching the Thursdays of Nîmes", confides Franck Proust.

On July 1, 1994, Thursdays of Nîmes were launched: a look back at a successful summer event

Franck Proust in the center during the press conference presenting Jeudis de Nîmes in 1994.

The lively summer evenings are thus launched and their programming will be enriched within the Écusson. The promotion of the productions of the Costières de Nîmes winegrowers (Place de l’Abbé Pierre, then on the Esplanade) will follow. "We attracted craftsmen. Their number has increased over the years. A commission had even been created to select quality exhibitors, underlines the former president of the Tourist Office.

This year, under the mandate of Jean-Paul Fournier, the Thursdays of Nîmes are preparing to pull out all the stops, thirty years later: "Since 1994, things have progressed significantly with many more businesses open. Other cities were inspired by what we organized. In the future, we will have to adapt to global warming, do as in Spain, offer activities in the morning and open businesses in the evening", envisages Franck Proust, inexhaustible when it comes to the architecture of the city, its lighting which beautifies the city of Nîmes.

The beauty of a lively and lively city in the heart of summer whose success has not been denied for so many years.

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