Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of the Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct built nearly 2000 years ago. It’s sheer size, and the realisation that this huge structure was built without any of today’s modern technology, is almost hard to comprehend.
Built by the Romans around 50AD, the aqueduct was a means of transporting water from the springs of Uzes to the city of Nimes, about 20 kilometres from Avignon in the French region of Provence. It is, in my opinion, most definitely one of the ten most impressive bridges in Europe.
Today it’s possible to view the Pont du Gard up close and actually walk across the bottom level of the aqueduct. With a guided tour, you can also visit the top level which was originally the channel across which the water flowed.
The UNESCO World Heritage site allows access not only to the Pont du Gard but also features a cinema (showing a film about the Roman structure), a museum, gift shop, cafes and restaurants.
We were lucky enough to visit on a hot summer’s day and my husband, along with many others, enjoyed a swim in the River Gard below the aqueduct. Canoe hire is also available and the banks of the crystal clear river make a great place to enjoy a picnic.
If you are visiting the Pont du Gard, I recommend walking across the ‘bridge’, then walking along the Panorama circuit (about 2000 metres) on the far side. The walk takes you to an excellent vantage point where you’ll get amazing views of the Pont, before descending down to the river bank.
Need to know about the Pont du Gard
Allow at least two hours for your visit, particularly if you want to enjoy a swim or spend some time in the cinema and/or museum.
Entry to the UNESCO World Heritage Site costs €18 per car with up to five passengers. (Prices current June 2015.)
The Pont du Gard is well sign-posted along the A9 as you approach Nimes. It's 27 kilometres from Nimes and 21 kilometres from Avignon.
The site is open daily from 8am to 7pm (longer opening hours in summer). Visit the Pont du Gard website for further details.