The Gier Aqueduct | Attraction Guides | History Hit

The Gier Aqueduct

Chaponost, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Gier Aqueduct

The Gier Aqueduct was a Roman aqueduct used by the Gallo-Roman city of Lugdunum, which would later become the city of Lyon.

The Gier Aqueduct history

Built to bring water to the city of Lyon, the Gier Aqueduct was the longest of the four aqueducts present at the time. Built in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, it ran for 86 kilometres and is one of the best-preserved of these structures to date.

Excavations have made it possible to retrace its route, from Saint-Chamond in the Pilat massif to the Fourvière hill in Lyon. The aqueduct shows real ingenuity for its time, in particular thanks to the penstock technique which allowed it to cross steep valleys. The Beaunant siphon bridge is a fine example of this: it crossed the valley with a length of 270 metres and a height of 17 metres.

Chaponost in Rhône, more specifically the locality of Le Plat de l’Air, is where the most significant remains of the aqueduct are to be found: a long and majestic string of 72 arches running for over 550 metres is still visible there today.

In 1887, a stone was found near the aqueduct, with an inscription mentioning Hadrien’s name: the famous Chagnon stone.

The Gier Aqueduct today

Today, the impressively restored remains of the Gier Aqueduct, with its stone arches, can be seen just south of Lyon, on the roadside in Chaponost. Including the loop in the Dureze Valley, The Gier Aqueduct is 86 kilometres long with a drop level of 105 metres at an average gradient of 1.1 metres per kilometre.

Leaflets and itineraires are at your disposal at the Tourist Office.

Getting to The Gier Aqueduct

The Gier Aqueduct lies just outside of the city of Lyon, south-west of the town centre. From here, the site is roughly a 20 to 30 minute drive.

Public transport links to the site from Lyon are somewhat limited, the nearest train station being Gare d’Oullins which is still a half-hour bus ride (route 12) away from the Gier Aqueduct or an hour long walk.

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