An hour northwest of Marseille is the amazing Roman aqueduct I’d learned about in high school Classics; yet another gem that Tiernan hadn’t been to before. It was really awesome being able to visit places for the first time together and I was astonished that it wasn’t harder to put together a trip for someone born and raised in Europe.
Leaving Marseille at nine and using an unnecessary amount of GPS assistance we arrived at the, mostly deserted, site. The carpark at Pont du Gard costs €18 for a car full of as many people as you can stuff in and they will get access to the information centre as well. Seems a fair deal to me if you were to have a car of six.
What I loved most about travelling in winter was the lack of queues and even seeing the renovations for next season was somewhat interesting. Walking down to the aqueduct in almost perfect isolation is exactly the type of sightseeing I enjoy. Tiernan also enjoyed taking the opportunity to touch as much as possible.
He wasn’t the only one wanting to leave his mark it seems!
Pont du Gard is a 275m section of a Roman aqueduct (orignally 50km long) designed to transport water from a spring source at Uzès to their colony at modern Nîmes. As it turns out, a lot of the originally aqueduct would have been underground before it emerged at the Gardon River gorge, which required the bridge. It is beautiful, magnificent and downright huge when you are standing below it, looking up.
After it was abandoned by the Romans, Pont du Gard persevered as an important toll bridge for local lords. During the 17th Century it was looted for stone – why not take the stone that’s easiest to take and already finished after all. But it was the 18th Century where it began to attract the attention of the common tourist.
Following in the footsteps of my much earlier counterparts, 2013’s visitors have made their pilgrimage!