The Pont du Gard is a three-level bridge intended for the passage of a Roman aqueduct. It is located in Vers-Pont-du-Gard near Uzès, not far from Nîmes, in the Gard department (Occitania, France). It crosses the Gardon river.

Probably built in the first half of the 1st century, it ensured the continuity of the Roman aqueduct which carried water from Uzès to Nîmes. According to the latest research, it ceased to be used at the beginning of the 6th century.

In the Middle Ages, the piers of the second floor were indented so that the structure could be used as a road bridge. From the 16th century, the exceptional architecture of the Pont du Gard having attracted attention, the work benefited from regular restorations intended to preserve its integrity. A road bridge was attached to it in 1743-1747. The highest aqueduct bridge known in the Roman world, it is classified as a historic monument in the 1840 list and was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in December 1985.

The bridge has three tiers of arches made from Shelly limestone and stands 48.8 m (160 ft) high. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 40,000 m3 (8,800,000 imp gal; 11,000,000 US gal) of water a day over 50 km (31 mi) to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. The structure’s precise construction allowed an average gradient of 1 cm (0.39 in) in 182.4 m (598 ft). It may have been in use as late as the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but lack of maintenance after the 4th century led to clogging by mineral deposits and debris that eventually stopped the flow of water.

The Nîmes aqueduct was built to channel water from the springs of the Fontaine d’Eure near Uzès to the castellum divisorum (repartition basin) in Nemausus.

The straight-line distance between the two is only about 20 km (12 mi), but the aqueduct takes a winding route measuring around 50 km (31 mi). This was necessary to circumvent the southernmost foothills of the Massif Central, known as the Garrigues de Nîmes.

The Fontaine d’Eure, at 76 m (249 ft) above sea level, is only 17 m (56 ft) higher than the repartition basin in Nîmes, but this provided a sufficient gradient to sustain a steady flow of water to the 50,000 inhabitants of the Roman city. The aqueduct’s average gradient is only 1 in 3,000. It varies widely along its course, but is as little as 1 in 20,000 in some sections. The Pont du Gard itself descends 2.5 cm (0.98 in) in 456 m (1,496 ft), a gradient of 1 in 18,241.

Shortest distances by car

From Paris: 7 hr (697 km) via A6 and A7

From Toulouse: 3 hr 8 min (317 km) via A61 and A9

From Marseille: 1 hr 36 min (122 km) via A55

From Nice: 3 hr 6 min (286 km) via A8

From Monaco: 3 hr 19 min (307 km) via A8

From Andorra: 4 hr 56 min (444 km) via A61 and A9

From Madrid: 10 hr 23 min (1,023 km) via A-2

From Moscow: 34 hr (3,206 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 16 hr 37 min (1,618 km) via E70 and A4

From Istanbul: 27 hr (2,569 km) via A4

From Bern: 5 hr 16 min (538 km) via A1

See here France travel guide

See here Spain travel guide

See here Pyrenees travel guide

See here Andorra travel guide

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