"Pont du Gard: quite simply staggering!" Top 5 Page for this destination Pont du Gard - Roman Aqueduct Tip by CatherineReichardt
Pont du Gard - Roman Aqueduct, Avignon: 20 reviews and 25 photos
Where do you even begin to start in describing Pont Du Gard, simply one of the great wonders of the world in my book?
Well, to start with, there's so much to say about this site that I have written a series of tips to highlight different aspects of its attractions, otherwise this tip would be as long as your arm.
I suggested this to my parents as a possible day trip from Avignon, not knowing that this was somewhere that my father had wanted to visit his whole life, so it turns out that I was kicking in an open door on that front!
Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct that dates to the first century BC and was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site as early as 1985.
Despite its astonishing engineering, it started to fall into disuse about the 4th century AD, due to poor maintenance which allowed the buildup of debris and chemical precipitates in the water channel. The gradient is so slight along the channel (a tiny 17m over 50km) that even the slightest impediment would significantly impede water flow, and with time flow continued to decline. By the Middle Ages, ironically its primary function was as a toll bridge across the River Gard and a source of 'free' building materials for local farmers who borrowed from it liberally for their own constructions (and wouldn't you have been tempted too in their position?). It was restored under Napoleon III in the 19th century and underwent a major makeover in 2000 which saw the construction of a visitors' centre and museum, as well as improved parking, ablutions and associated facilities.
Most astonishing of all, at the time of writing (October 2011) entrance to this miracle of classical engineering is FREE! The museum - which we didn't visit due to time pressures - has an entrance fee but you can just wander through the visitors' centre down to the river and feast your eyes on this utterly remarkable sight.
The only downside? I can imagine that this gets incredibly crowded in peak season, so my suggestion is that you visit out of season (we visited at the end of September, and it was still warm enough to swim in the river) or visit early or late in the day (which, admittedly, is difficult if you use public transport).
Lastly, some advice on how to get there. Pont du Gard cannot be practically be accessed by rail, so you'll need to catch a bus from the bus station in Avignon (see my transport tip for more details on how to access this).
To access Pont du Gard from Avignon, catch bus A15 which runs between Avignon and Alès. The journey takes about an hour but be aware that buses on this route run only every couple of hours and so there are only a few services a day that allow you to make a comfortable day trip. The cost of a one way ticket is a laughably paltry ?1.50 - well worth running the gauntlet of litter and stinky smells at the less-than-hygienic Avignon bus station for!
Address: La Bégude,b400 Route du Pont du Gard, 30210 Vers-Pont-du-Gard
Directions: Av. du Pont Gard (D981) Across Le Gard Ou Gardon
Phone: 04 66 37 50 99
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