Located at the fringe of the Occitanie region in Southern France, the World Heritage Site Pont du Gard is an ancient aqueduct crossing the Gardon River. The impressive structure was constructed in the times of the Roman Empire in the first century AD. The building’s purpose was the transport of water to supply the city of Nimes some 25 kilometers southwest of it.
In that regard, it was part of an extensive structure stretching over some 50 kilometers and beginning at the source of the Alzon River near the small town of Uzès. Historians believe the aqueduct has been in use for more than 250 years and carried enough water to Nimes to make the city boast fountains in its parks and bath houses for its residents.
The Pont du Gard is particularly impressive because of its size. It has a length of 275 meters and a maximum height of almost 49 meters. The bridge has three tiers, with each one having more arches from bottom to top. At the lowest level, six arches support the whole structure, which becomes narrower going up. The middle level, carrying eleven arches, was used for traffic across the river while the third, consisting of 35 arches, was the one on which the water flowed. The whole aqueduct is made of limestone. It is assumed that the construction work was done by some 1,000 workers, many of them slaves.
To relieve the structure, another bridge was built right next to it in the 18th century. This second bridge is now also closed to traffic but open to pedestrians who cannot enter the Pont du Gard itself. One exception to that are guided tours offered through the nearby museum area that bring visitors to the third level of the bridge. An admission charge is due to enter the area, which consists of the site, the museum, a number of stores and a restaurant. The area is open year-round.