pont du gard, france

With just 24 hours left in France to go, we checked out the three-tiered aqueduct and UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985, the Pont du Gard.  The mighty bridge and aqueduct was built by the Romans in 19BC to carry water 50km from Uzés to Nîmes (we only saw a small portion of that, obviously), and it did so until the 6th century.  In the Middle Ages it became a tollgate, and later on a road was added along a lower tier so that it could act as a road bridge as well.  Now it welcomes more visitors than any other ancient monument in France, and many consider it the most impressive aqueduct in the world as it stands 50m high and 275m stretches long.  

We visited the Pont as our last stop on Easter before heading to our Airbnb for the night, and while there were plenty of visitors due to the Spring Festival taking place that day (which meant our visit was free!), we didn't feel it was overly crowded as we were there in the late afternoon and early evening.  We spent a good chunk of time in the museum, which is full of models and multimedia displays explaining the importance of water, the building of the aqueduct, and life in an ancient Roman town.  Everything was available in French and English, and top-notch - don't miss the museum and cinema if you visit the Pont du Gard!

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We also took our time walking around the base of the aqueduct and then over and back on the part that was added in more recent centuries for pedestrians, animals, and carts, essentially, to be a road.  Now, of course, it functions as a walkway for people only, but it's a great way to get up close and personal with the aqueduct.  We had a great visit to the Pont du Gard, and the only thing that could've made it better in my opinion would have been to get to see it from the water, say from a canoe or kayak.  We didn't leave enough time for this popular option, but it's something to keep in mind for the future.

D - I should have just swam underneath it.  I've yet to regret taking a spontaneous swim in a river or pool when I hear the water calling my name...

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See more from our road trip around southern France: our day in Toulouse here, and all of our stops on our first day: Cahors, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Bouzies, Rocamadour, Padirac CaveLoubressac, and Figeac.  We began our second day in Marcillac-Vallon and Belcastel, made a stop at the Viaduc de Millau before heading into the Gorges du Tarn, and finally checked out the lovely Sainte-Enimie.  That night, we stayed in Le-Pont-de-Montvert.  

We started our third day in Labeaume before driving through the Gorges de l'Ardeche and stopping afterwards in Aiguèze and then spending some time checking out Roman remains in Orange and staying the night in Vaison-la-Romaine.  The next morning we explored Vaison-la-Romaine, drove on to Sisteron and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and through the Gorges du Verdon and stayed the night in Castellane.

The morning of the fifth day of our road trip, we drove to Grasse, onto Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and then to Antibes and finally onto Nice for the night.  On our first morning in Nice we took the train to Monaco and then started explored Nice in the afternoon.  

We started our second day in Nice by taking the train along the coast and visiting different towns, the first being Villefrance-sur-Mer, traveling onto Menton, and then to Ventimiglia and finally Èze.  After our third night in Nice we packed up and drove to Cannes and then to Aix-en-Provence where we stayed overnight and in the morning we drove onto the Arles, and then Avignon and finished up at the Pont du Gard.