Pont du Gard is a masterpiece of Roman architecture. This is a three-level stone aqueduct crossing the Gardon river valley, about 25 km west of Avignon. A road bridge was added to the structure in 1743 and used until 1996. The site is now well maintained and a very popular tourist attraction.
History of Pont du Gard
It was constructed around 19 BC as part of a Roman aqueduct system that transported spring water from the nearby city of Uzès to Nimes. Constructed without mortar, this bridge carried 4.4 million gallons of water per day on its top level.
From the Middle Ages to the 18th century, the aqueduct was used as a bridge to facilitate foot traffic across the river. The pillars of the second level were reduced in width to make more room for the traffic. As a result this jeopardized the stability of the structure. In 1702 the pillars were restored to their original width in order to safeguard the aqueduct. In 1743, a new bridge was built next to the arches of the lower level, so that the road traffic could cross on a purpose-built bridge. The aqueduct was restored in the 18th century, by which time it had become a major tourist sight, and was restored again in the reign of Napoleon III in the mid-19th century.
A World Heritage Site
Pont du Gard is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1985 and in 2004 the Environment Ministry labeled it “Grand Site de France”. It attracts more than a million tourists each year; the 2nd most visited provincial monument after Mont-Saint-Michel.
Between 1996 and 2000 the special plan was developed within a 165-hectare perimeter around the monument. The plan aimed at conserving the site and offering a quality environment and cultural content for visitors. The philosophy of the new site includes protecting the environment, offering a quality services to visitors, transmitting the knowledge of the Ancient city of Nîmes aqueduct and developing the local economy. A new life was restored to the natural space around the Pont du Gard. It was made a fully pedestrian area and all traces of the previous abuse restored.
Location: 400 route du Pont du Gard | La Bégude, 30210 Vers-Pont-du-Gard
Nearby hotels: La Begude Saint Pierre, A Gauche du Pont, Au Temps des Cerises
Nearby sights: Jardins de la Fontaine, Arenes de Nimes, Grotte de la Salamandre
Tel.: +33 4 66 37 50 99