Village De Gites Les Olivettes Pont Du Gard 92Village De Gites Les Olivettes Pont Du Gard 92
©Village De Gites Les Olivettes Pont Du Gard 92

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Discover the fascinating history of the Pont du Gard:

The Pont du Gard is a masterpiece of ancient architecture and one of the best-preserved Roman remains in the world. With its extraordinary dimensions, it is an impressive testimony to the creative genius of mankind. In this article, delve into the fascinating history of this emblematic monument.

The Pont du Gard, one of France’s most beautiful historic monuments:

The Pont du Gard is one of France’s must-see sites. This masterpiece of ancient architecture, steeped in history and exceptional in size, offers a fascinating immersion in the past. Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast or simply curious in search of new discoveries, a visit to the Pont du Gard is an unforgettable experience.

An extraordinary monument:

Built in the 1st century AD by the Romans, the Pont du Gard is a bridge-aqueduct of exceptional dimensions. At 49 metres high, it stands out as the highest Roman bridge-aqueduct in the world. Its structure is made up of three rows of arches one above the other, with 6 arches on the first level, 11 arches on the second and 47 arches on the original. A rare achievement for its time. Its remarkable preservation has earned it admiration as a masterpiece of human creative genius. The Pont du Gard is the only example of an ancient three-storey bridge still standing today. This colossal monument was completed in just five years, with nearly a thousand men working on the site.

Characteristics of the Pont du Gard :

  • Construction period:1st century A.D.
  • Height: 48.77 metres
  • Estimated total weight: 50,000 tonnes

The construction technique used was that of rolls of juxtaposed arches, a form of construction standardization.

Discover and visit the Pont du Gard

The Pont du Gard, a masterpiece of ancient architecture :

The Pont du Gard, a jewel of ancient architecture, is eloquent proof of human creative genius. Classified as one of the world’s best-preserved Roman remains, it offers a journey back in time through its imposing dimensions and fascinating history.

The history of the Nîmes aqueduct :

In the 1st century, the Roman city of Nîmes, the ancient “Nemausus”, underwent exceptional development, which led it to equip itself with an aqueduct, in the image of Rome, the capital and model for the entire Roman Empire. The Pont du Gard is part of the aqueduct built around 50 AD, under the reigns of Claudius or Nero. This achievement gave the city a new level of prestige: fountains, thermal baths, running water in wealthy homes and healthy streets all contributed to the city’s well-being. With an average gradient of 25 cm per kilometer, one of the lowest ever achieved at the time, the aqueduct conveyed by gravity 30,000 to 40,000 m³ of running water per day from a spring in Uzès, over a distance of 50 kilometers to Nîmes. The aqueduct supplied the city of Nîmeswith pressurized water for five centuries. For enthusiasts, a signposted discovery trail runs alongside these remains.

The original quarry :

The Estel quarry, located 600 metres downstream from the bridge on the left bank of the Gardon, was one of the main extraction sites for the stone used to build the Pont du Gard. Recent excavations at the quarry have uncovered the ancient building site and its quarry faces, providing a better understanding of the techniques used by the Romans. In the 18th century, when the road bridge (Pont Pitot) was built alongside the ancient structure, the quarry underwent major new extraction. Despite the 18 centuries that separate these two sites, the evolution of techniques is very slight and hardly perceptible to the non-specialized observer.

The Pont du Gard through the centuries:

The Pont du Gard is steeped in history and has been a source of inspiration for many artists over the centuries. From prehistoric times to the present day, the site has seen a variety of uses and has been the site of many significant events.

The site’s prehistoric origins :

Mainly known for its Roman aqueduct, the Pont du Gard site actually has a much more ancient history. Archaeology takes us back in time to discover its prehistoric past. A number of caves, including the Grotte du Taï, Grotte de la Salpêtrière, Grotte de la Balauzière and Grotte de la Sartanette, bear witness to human occupation of the site during the Neolithic and Paleolithic periods.

The Pont du Gard in Roman times:

The history of the Nîmes aqueduct, of which the Pont du Gard is a part, begins in the 1st century AD, under the reigns of Claudius or Nero. The Roman city of Nîmes, known as “Nemausus”, underwent major development in the 1st century and decided to build an aqueduct similar to the one in Rome. The Pont du Gard, a major work of art in this aqueduct, was exceptional for its size and construction technique. The aqueduct supplied the city of Nîmes with pressurized water for 5 centuries. With an average gradient of 25 cm per kilometer, the aqueduct gravity-fed 30,000 to 40,000 m3 of running water per day from a source in Uzès, over a distance of 50 kilometers. In addition to providing drinking water, the aqueduct also supplied water for the thermal baths, fountains and gardens, thus contributing to the enjoyment and well-being of the city’s inhabitants. The Pont du Gard is an essential part of this aqueduct. At 49 metres high, it is the world’s highest Roman bridge-aqueduct. Comprising three levels of superimposed arches, it is the only example of a three-storey ancient bridge still standing today. It took almost a thousand men to build and was completed in just 5 years. The Pont du Gard is a masterpiece of engineering and a symbol of Roman genius.

The Pont du Gard after Antiquity

Over the centuries, the Pont du Gard has seen many different uses. From the 6th century onwards, it was abandoned and the pipe began to be used as a quarry. In the Middle Ages, the monument was put to many different uses, and became a source of inspiration for many Renaissance artists. In the 18th century, the Etats du Languedoc ordered the construction of a road bridge alongside the pont-aqueduc. Henri Pitot, the engineer in charge of this project, reopened the Estel quarry to complete this large-scale project.

An exceptional historical heritage:

The Pont du Gard is an exceptional piece of historical heritage, and has been the subject of regular restoration and preservation measures for centuries. Classified as a Historic Monument in 1840, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and awarded the ” Grand Site de France” label in 2004, it is now accessible only to pedestrians. Over the centuries, the Pont du Gard has inspired many artists. Famous writers such as Rabelais, Rousseau, Stendhal, Dumas and Mérimée have described its unique beauty in their works. Stendhal, in his Mémoires d’un touriste, describes the Pont du Gard as a majestic monument that plunges the soul into deep reverie. During your visit to the Pont du Gard, take time to admire the marks engraved in the stone by the companions of the Tour de France between 1611 and 1989. These marks testify to the craftsmen’s admiration and respect for this exceptional monument.

Visiting the Pont du Gard today

Today, the Pont du Gard is open to visitors all year round. You can stroll along its majestic arches, discover its museum and exhibitions, and enjoy on-site activities such as swimming in the Gardon or canoeing. The Pont du Gard site is also surrounded by magnificent natural landscapes, such as the Gorges du Gardon, part of a biosphere reserve. You can stroll along the hiking trails, discover the flora and fauna of the region, and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. To get the most out of your visit to the Pont du Gard, the activities and walks on offer, and to relax around this exceptional site, we recommend that you plan several days and a week’s stay in one of the Gard’s self-catering villages, which offer comfortable, authentic accommodation in an unspoilt natural setting. Whether you’re a couple, a family or a group of friends, don’t miss the opportunity to discover the fascinating history of the Pont du Gard and enjoy a unique experience at the heart of this emblematic monument to Roman antiquity. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover or in search of relaxation, the Pont du Gard will win you over with its beauty and authenticity.

Practical information :

For those wishing to discover this exceptional site, the Pont du Gard can be visited all year round during your vacation in one of the Villages de Gîtes du Gard. Several cultural and outdoor activities are on offer, including guided tours, fun and educational workshops, an “Explorama” treasure hunt, sound and light shows, and walks along the water’s edge and the remains trail. Contrary to popular belief, the site is really great for families with children! Children will love visiting the monument, discovering the discovery areas and taking part in workshops.

How to prepare for a visit to the Pont du Gard?

Here’s some advice and answers to the most frequently asked questions about getting to and visiting the Pont du Gard:

How do I get to the Pont du Gard free of charge?

  • The Pont du Gard is about 27 km from Nîmes and 21 km from Avignon. It links the towns of Vers-Pont-du-Gard and Remoulins. By car, take the A9 freeway and exit at junction 23 at Remoulins. Follow the signs to Uzès and choose either the right or left bank of the Pont du Gard.

How do I visit the Pont du Gard?

  • The Pont du Gard site is entirely pedestrianized and free to all visitors, whether on foot or by bike.
  • Opening hours for the site and parking lots, all year round: 8am-24pm
  • Discovery area opening times: April to September: 9am to 7pm (8pm in July and August).
  • Only parking, entrance to the discovery areas and guided tours and workshops are subject to a charge.
  • The monument is also illuminated every evening at dusk in summer.
  • For your comfort, we recommend that you wear shoes suitable for walking and exploring the natural and cultural site of the Pont du Gard, especially for children and senior citizens.
  • A tour adapted for people with reduced mobility is available, with facilities such as elevators in the cultural areas and free access for people with disabilities.

Where can I park to visit the Pont du Gard?

  • There are 800 guarded parking spaces on the left bank (in the commune of Vers-Pont-du-Gard) and 600 on the right bank (in the commune of Remoulins).

How much does it cost to visit the Pont du Gard?

  • Access to the site is free, but there is a charge for access to the discovery areas (museum, cinema, children’s play area and temporary exhibition): €6 / adult, free / children and disabled people. Cultural areas are closed on Monday mornings.
  • 1-hour guided tour: in French or English. 9 €, including access to discovery areas, excluding vehicle parking.
  • Vehicle parking to be paid on site: €9 / day

Can I eat at the Pont du Gard?

  • Absolutely: there’s a “bégude”, as we say here! There’s a bar (“le Bistrot”), a restaurant (“Les Terrasses”), and “little terraces” overlooking the site. You’ll be able to feed the kids, who’ll be doing a lot of climbing all day long!

Follow our advice and enjoy your visit! 🌿🌉

What places are worth visiting in the Gard?

The Gard, this magnificent département in the Occitanie region, is full of treasures to explore. Here are a few must-sees for your visit:

  1. Nîmes: Start with the department’s prefecture. Over two millennia old, this city is home to historic monuments such as the arena and the Maison Carrée, vestiges of Roman domination. Don’t miss a stroll through the Gardens of the Fountain, where the city was founded around a spring. Climb to the Tour Magne for a breathtaking view of the surrounding area.
  2. Pont du Gard: This site is an absolute must-see. Spanning the Gardon river, it is the only surviving example of a three-storey aqueduct and the highest bridge built in antiquity. You can visit it on your own or with a guide. A museum tells the exceptional story of its construction. Take advantage of the trails to discover the local flora and fauna, then take a refreshing dip in the river.
  3. Grotte de Trabuc: Explore this impressive cave in Mialet. It features spectacular rock formations and stalactites. A guided tour will immerse you in its fascinating history.
  4. Uzès: This charming medieval town is famous for its duchy, picturesque alleyways and Provencal market. Stroll its cobbled streets and discover its architectural heritage.
  5. La Bambouseraie d’Anduze: Nature lovers won’t want to miss this exotic garden where you can admire an incredible variety of bamboos and tropical plants.
  6. Parc naturel régional de Camargue: Explore this unique nature reserve, where you can observe pink flamingos, wild horses and Camargue bulls.
  7. Cirque de Navacelles: Admire this spectacular canyon formed by the river Vis. The views are breathtaking.
  8. Picturesque villages: Aigues-Mortes, Beaucaire, La Roque-sur-Cèze and Les concluses de Lussan are among the most beautiful.
  9. Culinary specialties: Taste the delights of the region, such as brandade de morue, fougasse d’Aigues-Mortes, and pélardons, small goat’s milk cheeses.
  10. Kayaking in the Gardon gorges: Paddle through magnificent scenery and explore the gorges by kayak.

Make the most of your vacation in the Gard, with Villages de Gîtes! 🌿🌞

Vacations in the Gard: how to visit the Pont du Gard?