“You must see the Pont du Gard, as you leave Nîmes,” the friendly boutique owner told us; so off we went on a hot July day to find the ancient Roman aqueduct bridge. After parking, we thread our way down natural pathways to the shore of the Gard River. The magnificent bridge gracefully spans the river; while lively young folks jump to the water from a nearby cliff, and canoers maneuver their way among the swimmers. Had we but known, we would have worn our swim suits! Alas, we did not, so we find a cool, shady spot from which we can admire a bridge that has reigned for over 2000 years.
The Roman architects and engineers once again applied their brilliance in designing the bridge with three rows of arches that rise 165 feet (the highest of all aqueducts) over the water. The 15 years of construction took place from about 45 to 60 A.D. under the Claude and Nero empires. The aqueduct itself was designed to channel the spring waters of the Eure to the water tower of the thriving city of Nîmes. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most visited in France and spreads across 400 acres of natural Mediterranean countryside.
We traveled on from the Pont with two memorable impressions – the exceptional ability of the Romans and the very small point in time we are on this earth.
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