Pont du Gard Aqueduct | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Pont du Gard Aqueduct

Vers-Pont-du-Gard, Occitania, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020

About Pont du Gard Aqueduct

Pont du Gard is an iconic Ancient Roman bridge and aqueduct built in first century AD and located near Nimes in France. In fact, it was the tallest bridge ever built by the Romans, rising 160 feet.

Pont du Gard Aqueduct history

Nimes had been a major city of Gaul before 45BC, when it was incorporated in the Roman Empire. As the city’s population grew, exceeding 20,000, the need for water surpassed the available supplies of the Nemausus spring. Thus, from 40AD, over 1,000 workers were engaged in building Pont du Gard in order to transfer water from the Gard River (the Eure) to the city. Upon its completion, it would stay in use until the sixth century, when it was finally abandoned.

Pont du Gard aqueduct remains one of humankind’s great masterpieces. A marvel of Antiquity and a true technical feat, it is also a stupendous site that has regained its unspoiled state since its refurbishment.

Since then, Pont du Gard has undergone a series of restoration projects and is now a spectacular place to visit. In 1985 it was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Pont du Gard Aqueduct today

Today guided tours of Pont du Gard take visitors right to the very heart of this iconic structure to see the how such an engineering feat was achieved and how the aqueduct operated. Visitors can also walk the full length of the bridge itself and explore this Roman marvel up close. These tours last approximately 1.5 hours.

There is also a Pont du Gard museum on site that explores the engineering techniques used by the Romans to build the bridge as well as the history of the area in which it is built, which actually stretches back to prehistoric times. Other exhibits found within the museum also focus on the history of Nimes and the surrounding area during the Roman era.

Getting to Pont du Gard Aqueduct

If travelling by car, the way to the Pont du Gard is very well indicated on the A9 motorway from Nîmes to Lyon (take exit 23 at Remoulins) or the N100 from Avignon and on the smaller roads that lead from it to the site. There are two car parks. The road signs will probably direct you to the larger, rive gauche (left bank) one (800 places), near the village of Vers Pont du Gard.

If travelling by train, a brand-new TGV station opened in 2019 called Nîmes-Pont-du-Gard. However, despite the name, it is actually in the small town of Manduel, 15 miles south of the Pont du Gard. Shuttle buses may be available in due course, and it’s within striking distance of a taxi ride.

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