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World Heritage # 15: The Pont du Gard

As part of a series specially devoted to French sites recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO, writing Welcome Camping invites you to discover one by one the exceptional French destinations, preserved as a heritage of humanity. We continue this series with a site recognized in 1985, Gard's Bridge.

En Occitanie, between Uzès and Remoulins Gard's Bridge proudly spans the Gardon river. This aqueduct, built in the first half of the XNUMXst century under the reigns of the emperors Claudius and Nero, is a masterpiece of ancient architecture. He is a privileged witness of the Romanization of Gaul. Surrounded by hundred-year-old plane trees and scrubland, the monumental and aerial building is today in an exceptional state of conservation. This 2000-year-old “witness to human creative genius” is the only three-level ancient bridge still standing to this day.

A unique and monumental construction

With its three superimposed levels, the Pont du Gard displays a completely exceptional look. First of all, the first level consists of 6 arches. They carry the 11 arches of the second level, themselves overhung by the 35 arches of the upper floor. With its 49 meters high and 273 meters long, this grandiose structure weighs nearly 50 tonnes. A thousand men worked for five long years to complete the construction of this monumental work. With its difference in height of 000 meters between the water intake and the point of arrival, the flow of the aqueduct was once 17 m35 per day on average. A real technical feat which thus testifies to the genius and the technicality of the Roman engineers in Antiquity.

A little history

Gard's Bridge was an aqueduct intended for the delivery of water from the Fontaine d'Eure to Nîmes. For five centuries, he contributed to the supply of water to the fountains and homes of the nobles of the city. After the barbarian invasions, this achievement was abandoned. The ancient monument is then damaged. Some of its arches are then destroyed. It then becomes a crossing point for pedestrians wishing to cross the Gardon. This conversion will cause even more damage. From the XNUMXth century, interest in Gard's Bridge grows, which will favor its preservation over the centuries.

Charles IX, accompanied by the Court, but also by his brother the Duke of Anjou, Henri de Navarre, the cardinals of Bourbon and Lorraine, went there as part of his royal tour of France. In the XNUMXth century, the pitot bridge is built at the level of the lower arches. It then offers an additional crossing point and limits damage. From the nineteenth century, various phases of restoration were carried out, up to the World Heritage classification. In the 2000s, the architect Jean-Paul Viguier led a vast site development project. It thus works for its preservation and the perpetuation of the integrity of the monument.

The Pont du Gard today

In 2000, the Pont du Gard site is redeveloped. At the foot of the bridge, a swimming area becomes an essential meeting place for lovers of pebble beaches. The partners set up museum spaces and resource centers. This world heritage gem now attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year. The Pont du Gard has also become a place of concerts and major events . The Fééries du Pont de Gard are always an opportunity to admire a breathtaking sound and light show.