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Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard Review
No other architectural sight in Provence rivals the Pont du Gard, a mighty, three-tier aqueduct nearly midway between Nîmes and Avignon. Erected 2,000 years ago as part of a 48-km (30-mi) canal supplying water to the Roman settlement of Nîmes, the structure is astonishingly well preserved. In the early morning the site offers an amazing blend of natural and classical beauty—the rhythmic repetition of arches resonates with strength, bearing testimony to an engineering concept relatively new in the first century AD, when it was built under Emperor Claudius. Later in the day, even off-season, crowds intrude upon the serenity.
You can approach the aqueduct from either side of the Gardon River. If you choose the south side (Rive Droite), the walk to the pont (bridge) is shorter and the views arguably better. Note there have been reports of break-ins in the parking area, so get a spot close to the booth. Although access to the spectacular walkway along the top of the aqueduct is now off-limits, the sight of the bridge is still a breathtaking experience.
Espaces Culturels. At the Espaces Culturels, a museum and themed cinema detail the history of the aqueduct; in addition, there is a hands-on children's area and an interactive exhibition about life in Roman times that covers topics such as archaeology, nature, and water. Pont du Gard, 84230. 04–66–37–50–99. Included with entry to Pont du Gard. Mar.–May and Oct., daily 9–6; June and Sept., daily 9–7; July–Aug., daily 9–8; Nov.–Feb., daily 9–5.
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