Pont du Gard, Roman Aqueduct, France

Pont du Gard is both a bridge and a part of the aqueduct of Nimes, France. It was built approximately 2000 years ago and is considered a masterpiece, both technically and artistically. It’s the tallest of all Roman aqueducts. It’s a simple and elegant structure set amidst the Mediterranean countryside just north of Nimes and west of Avignon.

Pont du Gard, France

The bridge was built entirely by hand using dressed stone without masonry; the limestone blocks were fitted together and secured with iron clamps. It’s composed of three levels of stone arches with the first level used as a road and the third level used as a water conduit.

The first level has six arches, the second level has eleven arches, and the top-level, which supports the water channel, has thirty-five or forty-seven arches (reports vary). The biggest stone blocks weigh close to six tons and came from surrounding quarries, some of which are still active today.

It’s reported to be 900 feet long and 160 feet high (about the height of a 16-story building). Pont du Gard was part of an aqueduct nearly thirty miles long that supplied Nimes with fresh water.

Here’s a photo showing people on the bridge. It gives a sense of its immense size and a close-up view of its ancient architectural form.

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Close up of Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. They’ve produced a short video about the bridge and ancient aqueduct.

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Learn more about UNESCO’s World Heritage here: UNESCO World Heritage

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