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Pont Du Gard Aqueduct

Pont Du Gard Aqueduct

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Pont Du Gard - History

The construction of the aqueduct has long been credited to Augustus' son-in-law and aide, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, around the year 19 BC. At the time, he was serving as aedile, the senior magistrate responsible for managing the water supply of Rome and its colonies. Espérandieu, writing in 1926, linked the construction of the aqueduct with Agrippa's visit to Narbonensis in that year. Newer excavations, however, suggest the construction may have taken place between 40 and 60 AD. Tunnels dating from the time of Augustus had to be bypassed by the builders of the Nîmes aqueduct, and coins discovered in the outflow in Nîmes are no older than the reign of the emperor Claudius (41–54 AD). On this basis, a team led by Guilhem Fabre has argued that the aqueduct must have been completed around the middle of the 1st century AD. It is believed to have taken about fifteen years to build, employing between 800 and 1,000 workers.

From the 4th century onwards, the aqueduct's maintenance was neglected as successive waves of invaders disrupted the region. It became clogged with debris, encrustations and plant roots, greatly reducing the flow of the water. The resulting deposits in the conduit, consisting of layers of dirt and organic material, are up to 50 cm (20 in) thick on each wall. An analysis of the deposits originally suggested that it had continued to supply water to Nîmes until as late as the 9th century, but more recent investigations suggest that it had gone out of use by about the sixth century, though parts of it may have continued to be used for significantly longer.

Although some of its stones were plundered for use elsewhere, the Pont du Gard remained largely intact. Its survival was due to its use as a toll bridge across the valley. In the 13th century the French king granted the seigneurs of Uzès the right to levy tolls on those using the bridge. The right later passed to the Bishops of Uzès. In return, they were responsible for maintaining the bridge in good repair. However, it suffered serious damage during the 1620s when Henri, Duke of Rohan made use of the bridge to transport his artillery during the wars between the French royalists and the Huguenots, whom he led. To make space for his artillery to cross the bridge, the duke had one side of the second row of arches cut away to a depth of about one-third of their original thickness. This left a gap on the lowest deck wide enough to accommodate carts and cannons, but severely weakened the bridge in the process.

In 1703 the local authorities renovated the Pont du Gard to repair cracks, fill in ruts and replace the stones lost in the previous century. A new bridge was built by the engineer Henri Pitot in 1743–47 next to the arches of the lower level, so that the road traffic could cross on a purpose-built bridge. The novelist Alexandre Dumas was strongly critical of the construction of the new bridge, commenting that "it was reserved for the eighteenth century to dishonour a monument which the barbarians of the fifth had not dared to destroy." However, the Pont du Gard continued to deteriorate and by the time Prosper Mérimée saw it in 1835 it was at serious risk of collapse from erosion and the loss of stonework.

Napoleon III, who had a great admiration for all things Roman, visited the Pont du Gard in 1850 and took a close interest in it. He approved plans by the architect Charles Laisné to repair the bridge in a project which was carried out between 1855–58, with funding provided by the Ministry of State. The work involved substantial renovations that included replacing the eroded stone, infilling some of the piers with concrete to aid stability and improving drainage by separating the bridge from the aqueduct. Stairs were installed at one end and the conduit walls were repaired, allowing visitors to walk along the conduit itself in reasonable safety.

There have been a number of subsequent projects to consolidate the piers and arches of the Pont du Gard. It has survived three serious floods over the last century in 1958 the whole of the lower tier was submerged by a giant flood that washed away other bridges, and in 1998 another major flood affected the area. A further flood struck in 2002, badly damaging nearby installations.

Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct) *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Country France
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iii, iv
Reference 344
Region ** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1985
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO

The Pont du Gard was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 on the criteria of "Human creative genius testimony to cultural tradition significance to human history". The description on the list states: "The hydraulic engineers and . architects who conceived this bridge created a technical as well as artistic masterpiece."

Read more about this topic: Pont Du Gard

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What is the purpose of the Pont du Gard?

Louis, Missouri and various bridges across the world. All in all, the Pont du Gard aqueduct has been an important construction to both ancient civilizations as a key water supply and people of modern times as a tourist destination and inspiration for architectural structures.

Likewise, who built the Pont du Gard? The Pont du Gard is an aqueduct in the South of France constructed by the Roman Empire, and located in Vers-Pont-du-Gard near Remoulins, in the Gard département. It has long been thought that the Pont du Gard was built by Augustus' son-in-law and aide, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, around the year 19 BC.

In respect to this, what is the function of the Pont du Gard?

The Pont du Gard is a Roman monument built halfway through the 1st century AD. It is the principal construction in a 50 km long aqueduct that supplied the city of Nîmes, formerly known as Nemausus, with water. Built as a three-level aqueduct standing 50 m high, it allowed water to flow across the Gardon river.

The Pont Du Gard and the Testament to Roman Engineering

The structure is composed of three tiers of arches made from limestone that is often dazzling in the hot southern French sun. This ancient structure is 140 feet (42m) high.

Five stone piers are located at water level. The first tier consists of 6 arches measuring between 50 to 80 feet (15 to 24 m) wide. The Pont du Gard’s second tier has eleven arches all of equal length and height. The third and upper tier consists of 35 smaller (15-foot) arches, which supported the channel which carried the water. Most of the structure was built without using mortar .

Only the top of the structure was constructed from blocks held together by mortar. The aqueduct has a gradient of one inch, a testament to the genius of Roman engineering . Once the Pont du Gard could transport 40,000 cubic meters of water to the center of ancient Nimes. Although it originally extended for 31 miles (50km), most of the aqueduct system that was connected to the Pont du Gard has disappeared. Investigation of the aqueduct has shown that the structure is tilting a little more each year and may one day collapse.

A highway bridge has since been added to the structure alongside its base, which can be crossed.

Tips for a Visit to the Pont du Gard

Go visit the Pont du Gard if, for no other reason, this “masterpiece” has been standing for 2000 years! Our favourite Roman ruin in the South of France is the Pont du Gard, the aqueduct bridge that crosses the Gardon River about 60 km (37 miles) from our house in Sablet, between the towns of Remoulins and Uzès.

A Bit of History

The Pont du Gard is part of a 50 km (31 mile) aqueduct constructed by the Romans in the middle of the 1st century. This massive engineering project brought fresh water from the Eure spring near Uzès to the Roman city of Nîmes, where it supplied running water to fountains, baths and private homes.

Although the Pont du Gard is an impressive (and massive) section of this aqueduct system, the entire project required a precision that is hard to imagine in an era before modern technology.

One Amazing Structure

The Pont du Gard has three tiers of arches. The span is 274 meters (899 ft) in length and stands at the height of 48.8 m (160 ft). Its width varies from 9 m (30 ft) at the bottom to 3 m (9.8 ft) at the top. The three levels of arches are recessed, with the main piers in line one above another. Continue reading here for the original article and beautiful photos by Michel.

To maintain the water flow while crossing the Gardon River, the Pont du Gard required the 50 m of height. It was constructed with an estimated 50,400 tonnes of stone, including limestone blocks from a nearby quarry. Water flowed through a channel on the top level of the 3-story structure. At its widest point, the Pont du Gard stretched 360 m (1181 feet) from one side of the river to the other.

Visitor Information and Tips

Purchase your tickets online to save time.

If you wish to walk through the top level of the bridge, you must be with an official guide. It is well worth the additional ticket price.

Do NOT miss the museum and short film, both of which provide a terrific overview of the Pont du Gard and this ambitious engineering feat.

La Bégude
400 Route du Pont du Gard
30210 Vers-Pont-du-Gard
Tel: +33 (0)4 66 37 50 99

Located at the heart of a large triangle formed by the cities of Avignon, Marseille and Montpelier, this UNESCO site makes for a great day trip.

Hours of Operation:

The Pont du Gard site is open all year-round. However, there are seasonal adjustments in the opening hours. Please check the website for details.

Entrance and Parking:

The Gardon Rivers divides the site in half. There are two entrances both with large parking lots the Pont du Gard. The left bank (rive gauge) has 800 parking spots and the right bank (rive droite) with 600 places.

Places to Eat:

You are welcome to bring food and picnic on the side of the river. For a light bite, there is a snack bar near the entrance on the left bank. Or enjoy the view at “Les Terraces” at the foot of the Pont du Gard on the right bank.


Route of the Nîmes aqueduct

The location of Nemausus (Nîmes) was somewhat inconvenient when it came to providing a water supply. Plains lie to the city's south and east, where any sources of water would be at too low an altitude to be able to flow to the city, while the hills to the west made a water supply route too difficult from an engineering point of view. The only real alternative was to look to the north and in particular to the area around Ucetia (Uzès), where there are natural springs. [5]

The Nîmes aqueduct was built to channel water from the springs of the Fontaine d'Eure near Uzès to the castellum divisorum (repartition basin) in Nemausus. From there, it was distributed to fountains, baths and private homes around the city. The straight-line distance between the two is only about 20 km (12 mi) but the aqueduct takes a winding route measuring around 50 km (31 mi). [6] This was necessary to circumvent the southernmost foothills of the Massif Central, known as the Garrigues de Nîmes . They are difficult to cross, as they are covered in dense vegetation and garrigue and indented by deep valleys. [7] It was impractical for the Romans to attempt to tunnel through the hills, as it would have required a tunnel of between 8 and 10 kilometres (5 and 6 mi), depending on the starting point. A roughly V-shaped course around the eastern end of the Garrigues de Nîmes was therefore the only practical way of transporting the water from the spring to the city.

The Fontaine d'Eure, at 76 m (249 ft) above sea level, is only 17 m (56 ft) higher than the repartition basin in Nîmes, but this provided a sufficient gradient to sustain a steady flow of water to the 50,000 inhabitants of the Roman city. The aqueduct's average gradient is only 1 in 3,000. It varies widely along its course, but is as little as 1 in 20,000 in some sections. The Pont du Gard itself descends 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in 456 m (1,496 ft), a gradient of 1 in 18,241. [8] The average gradient between the start and end of the aqueduct is far shallower than was usual for Roman aqueducts – only about a tenth of the average gradient of some of the aqueducts in Rome. [9]

The reason for the disparity in gradients along the aqueduct's route is that a uniform gradient would have meant that the Pont du Gard would have been infeasibly high, given the limitations of the technology of the time. By varying the gradient along the route, the aqueduct's engineers were able to lower the height of the bridge by 6 metres (20 ft) to 48.77 metres (160.0 ft) above the river – still exceptionally high by Roman standards, but within acceptable limits. This height limit governed the profile and gradients of the entire aqueduct, but it came at the price of creating a "sag" in the middle of the aqueduct. The gradient profile before the Pont du Gard is relatively steep, descending at 0.67 metres (2 ft 2 in) per kilometre, but thereafter it descends by only 6 metres (20 ft) over the remaining 25 kilometres (16 mi). In one section, the winding route between the Pont du Gard and St Bonnet required an extraordinary degree of accuracy from the Roman engineers, who had to allow for a fall of only 7 millimetres (0.28 in) per 100 metres (330 ft) of the conduit. [10]

It is estimated that the aqueduct supplied the city with around 200,000 cubic metres (44,000,000 imp gal) of water a day [11] that took nearly 27 hours to flow from the source to the city. [12] The water arrived in the castellum divisorum at Nîmes – an open, shallow, circular basin 5.5 m in diameter by 1 m deep. It would have been surrounded by a balustrade within some sort of enclosure, probably under some kind of small but elaborate pavilion. When it was excavated, traces of a tiled roof, Corinthian columns and a fresco decorated with fish and dolphins were discovered in a fragmentary condition. [13] The aqueduct water entered through an opening 1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) wide, and ten large holes in the facing wall, each 40 centimetres (16 in) wide, directed the water into the city's main water pipes. Three large drains were also located in the floor, possibly to enable the nearby amphitheatre to be flooded rapidly to enable naumachia (mock naval battles) to be held. [14]

The spring still exists and is now the site of a small modern pumping station. Its water is pure but high in dissolved calcium carbonate leached out of the surrounding limestone. This presented the Romans with significant problems in maintaining the aqueduct, as the carbonates precipitated out of the water during its journey through the conduit. This caused the flow of the aqueduct to become progressively reduced by deposits of calcareous sinter. [15] Another threat was posed by vegetation penetrating the stone lid of the channel. As well as obstructing the flow of the water, dangling roots introduced algae and bacteria that decomposed in a process called biolithogenesis, producing concretions within the conduit. It required constant maintenance by circitores, workers responsible for the aqueduct's upkeep, who crawled along the conduit scrubbing the walls clean and removing any vegetation. [16]

Much of the Nîmes aqueduct was built underground, as was typical of Roman aqueducts. It was constructed by digging a trench in which a stone channel was built and enclosed by an arched roof of stone slabs, which was then covered with earth. Some sections of the channel are tunnelled through solid rock. In all, 35 km (22 mi) of the aqueduct was constructed below the ground. [17] The remainder had to be carried on the surface through conduits set on a wall or on arched bridges. Some substantial remains of the above-ground works can still be seen today, such as the so-called "Pont Rue" that stretches for hundreds of metres around Vers and still stands up to 7.5 m (25 ft) high. [18] Other surviving parts include the Pont de Bornègre, three arches carrying the aqueduct 17 m (56 ft) across a stream the Pont de Sartanette, near the Pont du Gard, which covers 32 m (105 ft) across a small valley and three sections of aqueduct tunnel near Sernhac, measuring up to 66 m (217 ft) long. [19] However, the Pont du Gard is by far the best preserved section of the entire aqueduct.

Description of the bridge

Built on three levels, the Pont is 49 m (161 ft) high above the river at low water and 274 m (899 ft) long. Its width varies from 9 m (30 ft) at the bottom to 3 m (9.8 ft) at the top. [21] The three levels of arches are recessed, with the main piers in line one above another. The span of the arches varies slightly, as each was constructed independently to provide flexibility to protect against subsidence. Each level has a differing number of arches: [20] [22]

Level Number of arches Length of level Thickness of piers Height of arches
Lower (1st row) 6 142 m (466 ft) 6 m (20 ft) 22 m (72 ft)
Middle (2nd row) 11 242 m (794 ft) 4 m (13 ft) 20 m (66 ft)
Upper (3rd row) 35 (originally 47) 275 m (902 ft) 3 m (9.8 ft) 7 m (23 ft)

The first level of the Pont du Gard adjoins a road bridge that was added in the 18th century. The water conduit or specus, which is about 1.8 m (6 ft) high and 1.2 m (4 ft) wide, is carried at the top of the third level. The upper levels of the bridge are slightly curved in the upstream direction. It was long believed that the engineers had designed it this way deliberately to strengthen the bridge's structure against the flow of water, like a dam wall. However, a microtopographic survey carried out in 1989 showed that the bend is caused by the stone expanding and contracting by about 5 mm (0.20 in) a day under the heat of the sun. Over the centuries, this process has produced the current deformation. [23]

The Pont du Gard was constructed largely without the use of mortar or clamps. It contains an estimated 50,400 tons of limestone with a volume of some 21,000 m 3 (740,000 cu ft) some of the individual blocks weigh up to 6 tons. [24] Most of the stone was extracted from the local quarry of Estel located approximately 700 metres (2,300 ft) downstream, on the banks of the Gardon River. [25] [26] The coarse-grained soft reddish shelly limestone, known locally as "Pierre de Vers", lends itself very well to dimension stone production. The blocks were precisely cut to fit perfectly together by friction alone, eliminating the need for mortar. [11] The builders also left inscriptions on the stonework conveying various messages and instructions. Many blocks were numbered and inscribed with the required locations, such as fronte dextra or fronte sinistra (front right or front left), to guide the builders. [27]

The method of construction is fairly well understood by historians. [28] [29] [30] The patron of the aqueduct – a rich individual or the city of Nîmes itself – would have hired a large team of contractors and skilled labourers. A surveyor or mensor planned the route using a groma for sighting, the chorobates for levelling, and a set of measuring poles five or ten Roman feet long. His figures and perhaps diagrams were recorded on wax tablets, later to be written up on scrolls. The builders may have used templates to guide them with tasks that required a high degree of precision, such as carving the standardised blocks from which the water conduit was constructed. [31]

The builders would have made extensive use of cranes and block and tackle pulleys to lift the stones into place. Much of the work could have been done using simple sheers operated by a windlass. For the largest blocks, a massive human-powered treadmill would have been used such machines were still being used in the quarries of Provence until as late as the start of the 20th century. [31] A complex scaffold was erected to support the bridge as it was being built. Large blocks were left protruding from the bridge to support the frames and scaffolds used during construction. [22] The aqueduct as a whole would have been a very expensive undertaking Émile Espérandieu estimated the cost to be over 30 million sesterces, [31] [32] equivalent to 50 years' pay for 500 new recruits in a Roman legion. [19]

Is the Pont du Gard still used today?

The Pont du Gard is a Roman monument built halfway through the 1st century AD. It is the principal construction in a 50 km long aqueduct that supplied the city of Nîmes, formerly known as Nemausus, with water. Built as a three-level aqueduct standing 50 m high, it allowed water to flow across the Gardon river.

Also Know, is the Pont du Gard still standing? Pont du Gard today stands 48 meters (160 feet) tall and 275-meter-long, but in its original state, it was much longer at 360 meters (1,180 feet). By 17th century bridge was still operational, but some of its stones were damaged, missing or were looted.

Considering this, do we still use aqueducts today?

The only Roman aqueduct still functioning today is the Aqua Virgo, known in Italian as Acqua Vergine.

Why is the aqueduct important to us today?

Aqueducts allow us to bring water from where it is plentiful to where it is useful. They have been essential to civilization since Roman times, and Roman aqueducts still exist today. New York City gets all its water fresh from upstate through major underground aqueducts.

Pont du Gard

After our morning tour of the Palace of the Popes and Les Halles in Avignon on day 3 of our Viking River Cruise, we returned to the ship for lunch before our next excursion. Our new friend, Laura, joined us and we discussed our plans for the afternoon. Laura had chosen an optional Chateauneuf-du-Pape Tour and Tasting. We had considered it but being Roman history junkies, we opted instead for the excursion to Pont du Gard. I asked Laura to pick up a bottle of wine for us to share at dinner that evening so that we wouldn’t entirely miss out on tasting this celebrated wine.

Laura, Kathy, Jerry, Jim, and Lori at lunch on the Viking Buri

Following lunch, we boarded our motor coach for the half-hour ride to Pont du Gard. We especially enjoyed seeing the vineyards from the bus and wondered whether any of the grapes we saw were used for Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine.

Grape vines viewed from our motor coach

Built by the Romans over 2000 years ago, the Nimes Aqueduct carried 5 million gallons of fresh water each day from the springs of Uzes to the Roman outpost of Nimes, 31 miles away. The actual distance is somewhat less but the uneven terrain necessitated a longer winding route. The engineering requirements amazed me. Obviously, the aqueduct transported the water downhill using gravity to get it to flow but Nimes is just 55 feet lower than the water source. Consequently, the slope of the aqueduct was just 25 inches per mile. Much of the aqueduct ran underground or at ground level but the magnificent Pont du Gard was built to cross the Gardon River and stands today at 50 meters (164 ft.) as the tallest aqueduct built by the Romans. The three-level bridge was built of locally quarried limestone and according to our guide, constructed without the use of mortar. The official website of Pont du Gard, however, says, “The highest part of the structure is made out of breeze blocks joined together with mortar,” so I believe mortar was used on the uppermost level in the water channel to waterproof it.

Although use of the aqueduct to transport water ceased by the 6th century, it continued to function as a bridge for carts and pedestrians to cross the Gardon River. By the 18th century, a road designed by Henri Pitot was incorporated into the second level and motorized traffic was allowed until 1997. In 1985, Pont du Gard was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today the bridge is used strictly for pedestrian traffic. For those who are particularly adventurous, you can also take a guided tour of the third tier for an extra fee. We did not.

Our tour guide showing us a map of the area at the entrance to Pont du Gard

The entrance to the Pont du Gard site

1000-year-old olive tree transplanted from Spain to Pont du Gard in 1988

First view of Pont du Gard

Closer view as we approach Pont du Gard

View of the Gardon River that Pont du Gard crosses

Le Bistro du Vieux Moulin along the walkway to Pont du Gard

Approach showing bicycler enjoying this space, too

I don’t get tired of this view, do you?

View of Gardon River from Pont du Gard

On the bridge on the second level of Pont du Gard

After our guide led us to the bridge on the second level of Pont du Gard while telling us about the construction and history, we had free time to explore on our own. Well-marked paths on both the right bank and left bank of the river enable visitors to wander, explore, and picnic in the Garrigue, as the wooded scrubland surrounding Pont du Gard is called. Swimming, canoeing, and kayaking are allowed in the river but it was a little late in the season to see anyone engaged in those activities.

We followed the path on the right bank (rive droite) and clambered first down to the river level where I found my favorite view for photographs.

Then we climbed up the trail to see Pont du Gard from the hillside and explore some of the Garrigue. We also found the perfect spot to take Jim’s picture holding up his Iowa State flag. The athletic department has a social media contest to pick a fan photo each week to post on their Facebook page. Our photo won.

Iowa State University Athletic Department’s photo of the week

View of the Gardon River and Garrigue from the path above with limestone rock in the foreground

Another view of the Garrigue

The top level of Pont du Gard was not open but we did get a selfie of us underneath it.

Laura, Lori, Jerry, and Jim beneath the third tier of Pont du Gard

This excursion was worth every penny of the $59 we paid for it. And when we returned to the ship, Laura brought an excellent bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape to celebrate a day well-spent.

The History of Pont Du Gard, France

The construction of this aqueduct dates to the First Century AD. The Roman emperor Augustus' son-in-law, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa , was appointed to the role of supervising the water supply for Rome and its many colonies. Agrippa financed and oversaw the construction.

The Pont du Gard was part of the Nimes aqueduct network which was then a Roman colony . It is believed that it took approximately 5 years to build and involved 1000 workers. Modern historians now believe that the structure was completed during the reign of Claudius (c 60 AD). Roman legionnaires possibly contributed to the construction of the structure as it was common for Emperors to use soldiers on public works during peacetime. The majority of the stone was taken from a local quarry.

The water channel of the Pont Du Gard, ancient Roman aqueduct ( travelview / Adobe Stock)

The Pont du Gard was crucial to the agriculture of Nimes which led to prosperity of the region. It was also a crucial trade center. The structure transported water until after the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was still in operation when Visigoths ruled the area.

During the Middle Ages, the Pont du Gard was used as a bridge and for centuries it was the only safe route across the Gardon River valley. Local lords and bishops would charge a toll for its use. This practice helped to preserve the structure and it was not dismantled for its stone as happened to so many other Roman structures.

In the 1620s, the Huguenots (French Protestants) and Royalists (Catholics) went to war in the region. The bridge was partially destroyed to allow Huguenot artillery to cross the river valley. In the 18 th century, a new bridge was built nearby, and the authorities did all they could to conserve the site. Napoleon III launched a project to oversee its preservations in the 1860s. The Pont du Gard managed to withstand several major floods in recent decades.

The Roman amphitheater in Nimes, one of the largest in the empire ( lamax / Adobe Stock)

Pont du Gard, France

The aqueducts built across Europe are among the most important symbols of the Roman Empire. The masterpieces demonstrate engineering prowess and an ability to move and contain the earth's most precious liquid, water. Of these, the Pont du Gard is considered among the best-preserved and a wonder of ancient construction—providing a glimpse of the Empire's ability to spread new technologies to its colonies and thus across the world.

It may sound like a simple advancement today, but in ancient times controlling the flow and supply of water was critical to the success of the Roman Empire. The system of aqueducts built across the continent was more sophisticated than anything seen before. Being able to transport and store water allowed for the colonisation of new areas and for the endearment of the Romans to the locals by providing easy access to an important resource. The techniques developed by the Romans have been used ever since, with many parts of the world still utilising the innovations that were designed 2,000 years ago.

The wonder of the Pont du Gard can be appreciated from different angles, with trails leading up each side of the river and viewpoints from below. The three-tiered structure has a pathway on the top that you can access with a guided tour. A modern museum gives you insight into the history and the operation of the aqueduct, while a short film blends documentary and fiction. In the warmer months, a beach on the riverbank is a glorious place for a swim, with the ancient marvel as a backdrop.

Le Pont du Gard: A Living Masterpiece

The Pont du Gard is the centrepiece of an aqueduct designed to supply running water to the city of Nemausus (Nimes). Its extraordinary dimensions—50 metres high, 490 metres wide (originally)—and its excellent state of preservation make it one of the most valuable relics of Antiquity. Recognised as a masterpiece of human creative genius, it has been a World Heritage site since 1985.

With more than a million visitors per year, Pont du Gard is the most visited ancient monument in France. To preserve this architectural wonder, the nearly 165-hectare site underwent major development in 2000. The project reconnected this amazing structure with its natural environment, ensured its long-term protection, and created a visitor centre to showcase the monument. The Pont du Gard has been recognised as a "Grand Site de France."

There are a vast range of cultural activities offered around the monument, encouraging you to learn about Roman civilisation, construction techniques, agriculture and Mediterranean landscapes. These sessions can be booked with a tour guide, alone or in a group.

Learning in Real Time

At the Pont du Gard Museum, you will marvel at the wonder of Roman civilisation and ingenuity. And for the kids (and kids at heart), a visit to the education-based Ludo is a chance to go back in time and pretend to be a Gallo-Roman scholar, an engineer trying to control the water, or a budding archaeologist.

After touring the exhibits, don't miss the documentary film "A Bridge through Time," which is broadcast on a giant CinemaScope screen with Dolby sound. The movie explores this incredible structure with stunning aerial images.

Beyond Walls

In the heart of the garrigue, where the aqueduct is located, 15 hectares of old agrarian plots have been restored. "Memories of Garrigue" is a 1.4-kilometre marked trail enclosed by dry stone walls and filled with acres of vineyards, olive groves, wheat fields, and oak trees. It tells the story of a Mediterranean landscape shaped by man for more than 2,000 years.

With its history and nature, outdoor and indoor activities, swimming and exhibitions, Pont du Gard is a unique destination to visit. Throughout the year, a full programme of original cultural events brings this place to life and showcases its artistic offerings. Major events at the Pont du Gard site include "Garrigue en Fête" over the Easter weekend, the light show "Les Fééries du Pont" in June, and the annual temporary exhibitions. Throughout the summer, people come to enjoy its "River Rendez-Vous" and the magnificent illumination of the monument at nightfall.

How to Get There

Pont du Gard is located in the heart of the Avignon, Marseille, and Montpellier triangle. It takes 2 hours and 40 minutes from Paris (or one hour from Lyon or Marseilles) by high speed train (TGV Mediterranean) to reach the site.

If arriving by car from the A9 motorway, take exit 23 at Remoulins towards Uzès, then follow the signs to the right or left banks. Nîmes is 27 kilometres away, Avignon is 21 kilometres away.

Travelling by rail, the Nîmes and Avignon train stations are served by the TGV. The Paris–Nîmes TGV train takes 2 hours 50 minutes.

By bus, you should take Line A15, when departing from Avignon or Alès. Take Line B21 from Nîmes.

If you are arriving by plane, Pont du Gard is 30 minutes from Avignon and Nîmes, 45 mInutes from Montpellier, and 1.25 hours from Marseille.

When to Visit

The Pont du Gard site is open to the public all year round. In spring, the Mediterranean landscapes reveal all their beauty. In summer, it is possible to swim in the river and enjoy an array of evening entertainment. In autumn, vineyards and vegetation take on their most beautiful colours. And in the winter, you can enjoy all the magic of the place in peace.

How to Visit

Pont du Gard offers three different types of vistior passes. The Pass Aqueduc (with guide) enables you to discover the channel, on the third level of the bridge, at 48 meters high (30 minutes). For a private visit of the Pont du Gard and its museum, take advantage of the Pass Patrimoine and discover the secrets of the aqueduct's construction (1 hour and 30 minutes). With the Pass Découverte, you can visit this unique place by yourself and enjoy the cultural areas (museum, cinema, children area ludo, and natural paths “Mémoires de Garrigue”).

Make sure to investigate the entire year-long festival and artistic schedule, including the lighting of the bridge, expositions, and the discovery areas: the museum, cinema, ludo, and surrounding landscape.

Watch the video: Pont du Gard Roman Aqueduct UNESCONHK (August 2022).