Pont du Gard, Gard: visitors guide
Visit Pont du Gard, France
The Pont du Gard is a famous Roman aqueduct 20 kilometres from Nimes, in the Gard department of Languedoc-Roussillon. It was constructed by the Romans, probably sometime between 19 BC and 50 AD, as part of a grand undertaking to carry water by aqueduct for 50 kilometres across hills and valleys, to Nimes.
The aqueduct drops only 17 metres along its entire 50 kilometre length - an amazing feat of engineering.
Silt deposits had rendered the aqueduct unusable by the 9th century, and it had started to fall into ruin, but much of the bridge is still intact today and it is a remarkable site: the Pont du Gard is the highlight of the aqueduct, situated where the aqueduct crosses the Gardon River.
The bridge has three levels of arches, progressively narrower at each level, with the water originally being carried at the top (which was covered at that time) level through a conduit painted with a waterproofing plaster. Overall the Pont du Gard is 49 metres in height and 275 metres long.
The highlight of your visit is the walk across the bridge to appreciate both the architectural achievement and the great views from the top of the Pont du Gard. There is also a 1.4km marked trail around the site so you can see the river and bridge from all angles.
In recent years, a lot of work has been done to control traffic in the vicinity of the bridge, and there is now a museum at the site to help set the bridge in context for visitor. This includes a wide-screen film showing the history of this important monument.
France This Way comment: as well as being an amazing monument, one of the best known in France, you might not realise that the Pont du Gard is also a wonderful place to go for a day at the river. Below the bridge there are some river beaches and the river is wonderful for swimming at this point. Where better for a picnic, sun bathe and swimming than below this lovely bridge?
There is loads of parking on both the Rive Gauche and the Rive Droit of the river - just follow the signs. We headed for the beach on the Rive Gauche where access to the river is easy and they have even built some wooden platforms where you can lay your towels and sunbathe.
There are also opportunities to learn more about the Mediterranean countryside of the region; an 'off the beaten track' trail (paid); and various events - music concerts, light shows etc are held here (mostly during the summer months).
If you forgot your picnic don’t worry there is a great restaurant on the Rive Droit. The food is good, not cheap but good value nonetheless. The building is lovely and you can sit outside in the lovely courtyard and enjoy your meal looking out on to the Pont du Gard. Wonderful.
Attractions near the Pont du Gard
Although the Pont du Gard is the most famous Roman monument in the region there are several others that are also exceptional and date from the same period. In particular you can see the remarkable temple and amphitheatre, and various other Roman structures, in the nearby town of Nimes. A little further, both Arles and Orange also have important Roman monuments.
Map of Pont du Gard and places nearby
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Cathédrale Saint-Théodorit et Fenestrelle Tower (Uzes): religious monument (12 km)
- Uzes: town of art and history (12 km)
- Beaucaire: recommended detour (18 km)
- Nimes: secteur sauvegarde (19 km)
- Jardins de la Fontaine: remarkable garden (19 km)
- Fort Saint-Andre: national monument (21 km)
- Villeneuve-les-Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (21 km)
- Avignon Centre: heritage site (22 km)
- Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Repos de Montfavet (Avignon): religious monument (22 km)
- Jardin aquatique « Aux fleurs de l'eau: remarkable garden (22 km)
- Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (22 km)
- Cascades du Sautadet: site of natural beauty (27 km)
The French version of this page is at Pont du Gard (Francais)