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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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sal FromCal (4 months ago)
An impressive structure that really needs to be seen in person to understand the scale of it and the fact it was built so long ago. There are many different viewing sites on either side that one can climb up to that will provide some great views of the structure. A great place to bring a lunch and enjoy the beautiful view.
Marcin Zieba (6 months ago)
Another lovely Roman project still in good shape! We arrived quite late but still have fantastic time here. We have to deep in the tempting water as well . Warm and clean with rocky beaches and rocky bed (water shoes helped children). Sadly we leaving soon and can't come back for more this year! I don't think the all day parking charge is expensive at all €9! You can't please everyone! Coffee /ice-cream and snacks on site also clean toilets! Highly recommended!
Julie Collett (6 months ago)
The whole area is massive. Obviously the highlight is the fabulous bridge and the history behind it and you can pay for a tour. You can spend the whole day there. Parking payable on the way out at the ticket office is 9 euros. A restaurant and snack bar are on site or bring a picnic. People were swimming in the river and on small 2 people kayak/canoe type boats. Lots of walking and biking routes are also signposted.
Caroline Sajas (7 months ago)
What a perfect place for a day, perfect for couples, kids, families or anyone wanted a nice day out. The restaurant is nice and so is swimming in the river! The pond du gard is to die for, such a lovely monument and the museum was a really lovely way to finish the day! All of that for only 6 euros, I was really happy! Well done!
Aviva (9 months ago)
What a spectacular historical site. Perfect place to spend the day outdoors with kids and dogs. Lots of lovely walking trails and beautiful scenery. There’s a climb up the hill next to the bridge which leads to a panoramic view point, which is definitely worth the climb.
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