Pont du Gard - Amazing Architectural Feat
When you are visiting the south east part of France and more specifically, the Languedoc-Roussillon region, you absolutely have to make a side excursion to see the Pont du Gard, the most famous Roman aqueduct.
It is located near the city of Nimes and the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard, spanning the Gardon River.
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UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct truly is a marvel to behold and is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Excerpt from Unesco's website - "The Pont du Gard was built shortly before the Christian era to allow the aqueduct of Nîmes (which is almost 50 km long) to cross the Gard river.
The Roman architects and hydraulic engineers who designed this bridge, which stands almost 50 m high and is on three levels – the longest measuring 275 m – created a technical as well as an artistic masterpiece."
Here also, is a link to the Pont du Gard write-up provided by Wikipedia.org which provides very good information from the engineering perspective.
Visiting the Tourist Park - North Side
The Pont du Gard bridge is located near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard and can be accessed from both sides of the Gardon River. Both sides have very large parking lots. Prices are very reasonable per car as well as per person for entry. Again, you will not be disappointed.
From the North side of the Gardon River it is a nice stroll along a walkway that leads you to the aqueduct.
At first sight of the bridge (once you round the final bend of the walkway) you are immediately in awe of just how big the structure really is and the fact that it spans the entire gorge.
As you approach the bridge, one other amazing thing to see is a group of ancient Olive Trees which are dated from the year 908.
It is hard to believe that these living trees are over 1,100 years old! If these trees could talk, just imagine the stories they could tell...
2,000 Year Old Architecture
The size of the aqueduct structure is truly jaw dropping. You really can not appreciate it until you actually stand on it...
Visiting the Tourist Park - South Side
When you enter the park from the south side, again you have a bit of a stroll past some beautiful trees which lead you past the Pont du Gard museum.
From this side of the park you end up approaching the bridge from a lower level, alongside the Gardon River.
This immediately reveals a variety of available water based activities, including kayaking, swimming and sunbathing.
This side also offers some rugged terrain for the adventurous photographer to traverse. The reward is being able to take your photos from some awesome vantage points.
This view shows people taking in the views from atop the bridge's walkway.
Now, let's zoom out a bit to really put the bridge's size into perspective!
Bridge Views of Gardon River and Gorge
The views from the bridge's walkway are very picturesque.
Exploring the Aqueduct
If you want to explore the aqueduct further, there are a number of hiking paths that take you up to the aqueduct level and beyond.
But make sure you have a bottle of water (especially in the hot sun) because the trails are fairly steep.
Here is the actual aqueduct, which is gated off (for protection).
Les Terrasses Restaurant
After an amazing time exploring the bridge and sights, we were a bit dehydrated and hungry of course. So we decided to try out the restaurant - Les Terrasses.
Surprisingly they offered quite the selection of meals which Mark is carefully investigating...
The first priority however, was quenching our thirst - with a Sangria and Pelforth Brune beer (would become one of our favourites)...
We were a bit more venturesome with our meal selection this time because there were some very different choices.
This is especially so for Janet, who went for the frog legs...
Here are some of the selections from the group:
- Salmon Wrap
- Potato, Tuna & Greens Salad
- Frog Legs
- Burger Boucher
Well that's it for this adventure.
I'll end with this image of the perfect SUV. I don't think my wife would go for this one on those narrow windy roads of the Gorges of the Tarn!
Stay tuned for highlights of some of our other ‘back roads’ blogposts of our travels through the Languedoc-Roussillon Region, including Gorges du Tarn > RVDH…