The Pont du Gard has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I had often seen it in pictures, but never in real. And I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this is not just a tourist attraction where you can take some pictures and then leave. It is a really interesting place with lots of things to do. I will give you more than 7 tips for a day trip to the Pont du Gard
History of the Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard is an aqueduct built around the year 50 AD by the Romans. It is a huge structure and the tallest antique bridge in the world. It is one of the greatest Roman icons and shows how ingenious the Romans were. After all, the bridge is still there about 2000 years later!
Purpose of the aqueduct
The entire aqueduct was no less than 50 kilometers long and ran from its source near the town of Uzès to the city of Nîmes. The water was not intended as drinking water, as the Romans had already dug wells for this. The aqueduct was actually pure luxury and a sign of wealth. It was mainly used for the fountains and to provide rich households with bath water. If there was any water left, it was flushed into the streets over the edges of the fountains to keep the streets clean. The poorer families did not have their own water supply and the fountains served as a meeting place for women and hired water carriers.
A day trip to the Pont du Gard
If you plan to visit the Pont du Gard, take plenty of time. Preferably a whole day. In addition to taking beautiful photos, there is much more to do. Below I give you 7 tips for a day trip to the Pont du Gard:
1. Walk underneath the bridge
When you walk underneath the bridge you can see how immense the structure is and how much work it must have been to build it. What not everyone knows is that you can also shoot beautiful pictures on the “other side” of the bridge. Here the bridge reflects slightly in the water, what gives a beautiful view. Its especially beautiful at a setting sun, because it illuminates the bridge very nicely.
2. Climb up to the viewpoint
From the right riverbank (the side of the beach), you can climb some stairs up to the viewpoint. Here you can admire the bridge from the top.
3.Visit the museum
On the left bank of the Pont du Gard you will find the museum, a souvenir shop and a terrace. I found the museum really worth a visit. It is very clearly explained how the aqueduct was built and what it was used for. The museum is not too big, but just fine. It is also a refreshing stop at a hot day, which I found to be a pleasant side effect 😉
4. Take a hike around the Pont du Gard
There are many different hiking trails around the Pont du Gard. A special route has also been constructed: “Mémoires de Garrigue”. This means memories of Garrigue. This path is 1.4 kilometers long and depicts the changes in the landscape from 2000 years ago to the present day. Remains of the aqueduct can also be found along the route.
5. Go for a swim
The Gardon River is ideal for swimming, so be sure to bring your swimsuit! On the right bank you can find a beach with some shadow spots. Or walk a bit further away from the bridge and the beach to find a more private spot
6. Make a canoe trip
If you want to escape from the heat and the crowds, you can take a canoe trip under the Pont du Gard. Several courses are possible from 8km to 31km.
7. Visit the evening light show
In the evening you can watch the light show for a reduced entrance price. The Pont du Gard is then beautifully illuminated with moving images. This is truly magical and totally worth it. Check the site in advance to see if and when a light show will be given.
Parking: The Pont du Gard has two parking spaces: The Rive Gauche and the Rive Droite. Both are easy to find via Google Maps. The Rive Gauche is closer to the museum and the Rive Droite closer to the beach. Parking costs 18 euros for a whole day. But if you buy entrance tickets, the entrance ticket is immediately a parking ticket
Entrance: A ticket costs € 9.50 (2020). Children under 18 are free. You can do anything with the ticket. This way you can visit the site and the surrounding area yourself and you have access to the museum.
More information: View the website of the Pont du Gard
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