Vacation: Day 4

On this day, we took it easy in the morning, then headed west about 30 minutes to visit the Pont du Gard.

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The site was truly stunning. The area is now somewhat like a national park in the States. It’s a beautifully preserved natural area with this stunning Roman bridge/aqueduct smack in the middle. The Romans built the Pont du Gard to carry water across the Gard river on its path from Uzes to Nimes. I read in the museum that the bridge is the tallest of any in the Roman water system. And it’s amazingly well-preserved. There’s a pedestrian bridge attached to the bottom tier that you can walk across (it’s newer than the rest of the bridge, but still a few hundred years old). The photo above was taken on the right bank after climbing up into the hills a little way.

We parked at the lot on the left bank where the visitor center is. They have cafes, gift shops, a museum and a kid’s area on that side that are kept a tasteful distance from the historical bridge. Then we tromped down the path to the river where at first you can only see the two upper tiers. That was impressive, until we got closer and were met with the full-size of the bridge. It boggled my mind to imagine people creating such a huge span two millennia ago.

We crossed the bridge to the right bank where there’s lots of hiking. You can climb the hill almost straight up so that you’re at the top of the bridge (it’s collapsed a little at the top on the other side, so the aqueduct no longer meets the left bank). Here’s Phil standing where water used to flow across the top of the bridge.

Phil at the top of the bridge on the Rive Droit

A few yards behind Phil was this very scary cave. We walked through it to my chagrin. I kept my head down and hurried through. I’m not a fan of cold, dark places that may or may not hide bats (no bats were seen).

Maybe this is how the Romans gauged the height

Hiking around the area, it was pretty common to stumble across other pieces of the aqueduct that have fallen into ruin. We climbed up on this structure that seems to be a collapsed arch.
Heather on top of ruins

The landscape of the garrigue was beautiful. The limestone deposits in the soil make for short, scrubby plants. It was amazingly lush in some areas, and then the limestone peeked through in other spots.

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We really enjoyed visiting the area. The combination of a tourist attraction plus natural surroundings made it a unique spot. The museum was extremely helpful as it was multilingual and explained in detail the history of the site (which also contains a few pre-historic caves that are still being excavated). The Romans were impressive engineers and architects! It’s amazing that this bridge has endured.

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