Pont du Gard

October 14, 2006


We are so glad that we made Pont du Gard our first stop in Provence! This world heritage site of the highest Roman aqueduct ever built is awe inspiring. No matter how many pictures we have seen, reality does not disappoint as pictures just can not do it justice. Mozart is very into the Romans, so we thought we would focus on those aspects in Provence first and are so glad we did. The museum connected to the site was a jewel that we all loved and we virtually had the bridge and museum all to ourselves so this was a perfect time to come as they get over two million visitors a year.

We are in a fabulous campground with in walking distance less than a kilometer away and on the river. Its big, wooded  and almost empty as it closes for the season at the end of this month. There is a nice pool, playgrounds, restaurant and even miniature golf. Near the river where we are it is very quiet. We got in late because we started very late as we had to do some shopping and handle some business via internet before leaving and that ended up taking most of the day. So it was a wonderful surprise to see what an enchanting place we had landed in when we got up and looked around.

Mozart was excited to explore Pont du Gard and the museums and suggested that we take a picnic which was a great idea. It was a pleasant hike from the campground and I thought it would be just a short stay, but we loved it all so much that we stayed and stayed all day until after seven. Pont du Gard is really so impressive and so are the many museums connected to it.  One could easily spend a week here taking it
all in. The ancient Romans were really amazing and it is hard to believe they could create something so magnificent almost 2000 years ago. It was started in 38 AD and finished in 52 AD, a marvel from antiquity.

The oldest olive tree in the world is also there near the bridge. It sprouted in Spain in 908 AD and was brought to this site in 1985 and looks very happy with its enormous trunk. By the looks of their trunks,
there are some others that are nearly as old nearby too.

The aqueduct stands 157 feet above the river and is not only the highest, but is also one of the best preserved aqueducts in the world. It was a utilitarian structure when built ,but has become a work of art to our eyes. Stone and water, earth and sky come together to make something magnificent. It is more golden than I had imagined and so much bigger. If it makes this much of an impact on a person today, I can not imagine what it did on the people here at the time it was built. The markings and ancient graffiti chiseled into the stone were also cool.










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