Pont du Gard – Country Roads of France

This 2,000 year old World Heritage Roman aqueduct is amazing to visit. The bridge is on three levels and was built before the Christian era so the aqueduct bringing water to Nimes could cross the Gard river.  On the way to the Pont, look out for three ancient olive trees on the right side of the track, one of which is 1,000 years old.  Brilliant blue skies provided a great backdrop to this majestic monument making it a photographer’s dream. 

We spent so much time taking snaps we nearly missed the opportunity to walk through the aqueduct.  Seeing a queue of people waiting at the southern end, I asked the guide if we could go up.  She said yes, but we needed tickets.  And where does one get tickets from — way back at the Museum near the entrance!  Luckily, today was the Jour National du Patrimoine and entry to all monuments and public attractions was free. The guide very kindly gave us two tickets.  Luck was on our side again as groups of 25 were allowed up each trip and we happened to be numbers 24 and 25… I actually think the guide took pity on us.   

Once you get to the top, you walk single file through the aqueduct and there’s no turning back.  I had thought that the views from the upper level would be amazing, but you actually walk through the closed tunnel where the water used to flow! It would be pitch black but for the fact that every ten metres or so they’ve removed a panel from the roof overhead. Tony pushed his camera out and took photos blind! The tunnel is very narrow, only one abreast, and in some places you have to squeeze through as the calcium deposits on either side make it even more confining; not recommended for the claustrophobic…

The exit is at the other end of the bridge and you then have to go down steps to the lower level, and cross the bridge again to get back to the museum area.  As we only had 30 minutes for that whole experience, it was quite a sprint back to the carpark.  Well worth it though.

Helen Page

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