Usually when we think of Roman ruins, we think of sites that have been… well, ruined. Most retain only a fraction of their original glory and have been compromised over time by war, looting of materials and mother nature. This context makes a visit to the Pont du Gard, just 30 minutes drive from Avignon, a treat for antiquity enthusiasts and architecture buffs! Melissa from The Family Voyage is here to tell you all about it:
Aqueduc Pont du Gard
Historical significance of the Pont du Gard
The Aqueduc Pont du Gard was built around 40-60 CE originally to supply water to the growing city of Nîmes and it served that purpose for nearly 500 years. Can you think of anything in our contemporary life with that sort of staying power? The 50m high span is made of over 50,000 tons of soft yellow limestone quarried nearby. Over time the Pont du Gard fell into disrepair, but finally Napoleon III (not that Napoleon) designated funds for its repair in the 1850s. The Pont du Gard has also been the victim of more recent floods, but in 1985 it was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in celebration of its creative engineering and design.
Visiting the Pont du Gard (Visite Pont du Gard)
If you’ll be visiting the south of France, don’t miss the Pont du Gard! You can step into the excellent visitors center for more information on the history and engineering of the span, as well as a multimedia exhibit on daily life during the era of the Pont du Gard’s construction. If you’re not in a rush, be sure to stay for “golden hour” and into the evening to get a totally different view of the span!
- Cost? 8.5 € per adult for a daytime visit, 3 € for an evening visit
- Photography? Photography is permitted, as the main site is outdoors
- Public transport? Bus transportation is available from Avignon or Arlès on line A15 or from Nîmes on line B21
- Accessibility? The Pont du Gard is fully accessible and even offers wheelchairs to borrow for those who need them
- Location? Approximately 30 minutes from several major hubs in Provence
- Weather-dependent? It’s best to visit the Pont du Gard in nice weather, particularly during “golden hour” approaching sunset.
Like this post? Check out more historical sites around the world!