The Pont du Gard

My last post in this series was French Villages.

Two weeks into our vacation we departed our St-André apartment near the Spanish border and headed east to Italy.

We had a full day ahead and that necessitated some time driving the major highways, but near Nimes we veered off in the direction of the Pont du Gard.

The Pont du Gard  is an aqueduct bridge across the Gard River near Remoulins. It is part of a system built to carry water from a spring at Uzès to Nîmes.  The next photo shows the channel running along the top of the bridge.

Two thousand years old and a UNESCO  World Heritage Site, it was built in the 1st C by the Romans and at one time it carried an estimated 44,000,000 gallons of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes.

We read that severe storms and flooding about 25 years ago damaged and washed out bridges built in the 20th C, but the Pont du Gard stood strong, a testament to the Romans’ engineering and construction skills.

Near the bridge stand three olive trees, gnarled trunks and twisted branches, like the lines of wisdom etched in an elder’s face, attesting to their durability.

A plaque has been set in the ground by these trees and it reads:  “I was born in 908 AD in Spain and was planted by the Pont du Gard in 1988 – 1080 years later.”  I have to say I wouldn’t have wanted the responsibility of transplanting them.

Seeking the roads less travelled inland from the coast, the mountainous, back and scenic roads we continued across southern France through areas rich with small villages, walled towns, stone buildings and cobbled streets.  Rounding one twist in the narrow road, Tourrettes-sur-Loup came into view –

Regretfully it was late in our day and exploration was necessarily postponed to a future trip. We spent the night in La Gaude, near St-Paul de Vence, another town worthy of exploration but not slated for this trip.  The following morning we hit the road early, caught a glimpse of Monte Carlo …

… had a boot breakfast in Menton …

… and crossed into Italy.

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23 thoughts on “The Pont du Gard

  1. Love your photos and documentary! We were in Provence in July and I have photos of the old olive trees, and remembered the plaque, but couldn’t remember the particulars to include in my scrapbook. And here they are……I couldn’t find them ANYWHERE……. so thanks for being so diligent in your descriptions and reporting! You captured the essence of the “Pont” !!

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    1. 🙂 I’m so glad I was able to help out and that my site came up in your search 😉 Isn’t southern France glorious? No matter how many times I visit I am never disappointed.

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  2. Amazing photos and I can’t believe that the Pont Du Gard is still standing. You’d think our engineers could learn from them and make stuff that lasts.

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    1. We were away a month. I love a driving holiday – having a car to come and go as we please, to take any interesting road that appeals provides so much freedom. Having said that, I don’t do any of the driving. My wonderful brother-in-law likes to do it and we just let him, while my husband acts as navigator-extraordinaire with all the ‘turn left here’ that are required. It can be stressful driving in a foreign country if you can’t read all the directional signs and the Italian drivers really show no fear. It works really well for us, but certainly may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

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  3. The Pont du Gard is truly majestic! Love the photos of the tree and how you describe –like the lines of wisdom etched in an elder’s face, … Well done!

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