The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River in southern France. The bridge is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50-kilometre system built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because of the uneven terrain between the two points, the mostly underground aqueduct followed a long, winding route that called for a bridge across the gorge of the Gardon River. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all elevated Roman aqueducts, and, along with the Aqueduct of Segovia, one of the best preserved. It was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 because of its historical importance.

The bridge has three tiers of arches, standing 48.8m high. The whole aqueduct descends in height by only 17 m over its entire length, while the bridge descends by a mere 2.5 centimetres which is indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve, using only simple technology. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 200,000 m3 of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It continued to be used possibly until the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but lack of maintenance after the 4th century meant that it became increasingly clogged by mineral deposits and debris that eventually choked off the flow of water.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire and the aqueduct's fall into disuse, the Pont du Gard remained largely intact, due to the importance of its secondary function, as a toll bridge. For centuries the local lords and bishops were responsible for its upkeep, in exchange for the right to levy tolls on travellers using it to cross the river, although some of its stones were looted and serious damage was inflicted on it in the 17th century. It attracted increasing attention starting in the 18th century, and became an important tourist destination. It underwent a series of renovations between the 18th and 21st centuries, commissioned by the local authorities and the French state, that culminated in 2000 with the opening of a new visitor centre and the removal of traffic and buildings from the bridge and the area immediately around it. Today it is one of France's most popular tourist attractions, and has attracted the attention of a succession of literary and artistic visitors.

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Details

Founded: 40-60 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in France
Historical period: Roman Gaul (France)

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Happy Ox (5 months ago)
Roman aqueduct, museum and Mediterranean gardens. This historic site is on the UNESCO world heritage list and is a location where you could spend all day or just an hour to see the basics of the site. It is an affordable adventure for the entire family.
Alexander Kuo (8 months ago)
Spectacular sight of Roman history. Great photo opportunities, with a good museum next door to teach the history. If you have time, bring a bag lunch and picnic on the green in front of the adequate for a leisurely lunch!
Jack Wills (9 months ago)
The bridge is incredible and the area is great. The staff were very friendly. I wish they had better lighting in the museum exhibit area, it was poorly lit with no lighting on the floor walkways & some of the text displays were not illuminated at all. Had to use my phone torch to follow some of the text ? as a Lighting Designer myself I can see the style they were going for but it’s way too dark down there! Also wish they had lockers to put a motorbike helmet but staff were very kind and let me leave it behind ticket desk for the hour
Rwa Art (12 months ago)
The state of preservation and the sheer size of the aqueduct (it is the tallest among the still standing, as the official sources would have it) are amazing. Not sure if taking a stroll on the top layer is still allowed, but we took a chance and it was breathtaking (not recommended for the faint-hearted, mind you). An awesome reminder of the genius of architecture of old Rome. If you are there in the summer, a dip in the river below the aqueduct could pleasantly surprise you - it worked splendidly for us.
Nath de Jager (2 years ago)
Exactly as I expected: relaxing day, fresh water and a view of the Roman remains. But the parking lot does not have many trees (we had to park our car on the sun). There's place to eat and to have an ice cream. A lot of people passing with kayaks through the river. Next time, we'll explore the treks / paths.
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