Wednesday Wander – Pont Du Gard, France

Pont Du Gard 2This rather splendid aqueduct is the Pont Du Gard, a Unesco World Heritage site located in France. Pont Du Gard is about 2000 years old, built by the Romans when they were occupying what was then Gaul, to channel water from a spring at Ucetia (now Uzes) to the city of Nemausus (modern Nimes). The aqueduct is the best preserved section remaining of a system that ran for about 50km, or 31 miles.

On an overcast day in May, many years ago, I climbed the steps to the top level of the aqueduct (along with quite a few other people), crossing to the other side. A few brave souls walked along the top of the outer walls, but most of us stuck to the safety of the water channel running along the centre. To give you an idea of scale, the small dots visible on the top level are people.

Pont Du Gard 1When I dug these images out of an old photo album, there were exclamation marks on the captions I’d written underneath – I’d obviously been impressed. By the age, the precision and the sheer scale of the aqueduct – the fact that it was part of a much larger system says much about the Romans and how technologically advanced they were. And I was not the only one impressed – the aqueduct has fascinated visitors through the centuries. The novelist Henry James, visiting in 1884, wrote that,

‘The hugeness, the solidity, the unexpectedness, the monumental rectitude of the whole thing leave you nothing to say – at the time – and make you stand gazing. You simply feel that it is noble and perfect, that it has the quality of greatness …’

I think the Romans would have been pleased with that.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time 🙂