Friday, July 23, 2010

Our Visit to Le Pont du Gard

This magnificent structure is the Pont du Gard, part of an aqueduct constructed by the Roman Empire in the first century A.D. to carry water 50 kms through the south of France, from Uzès to Nîmes.  Le Pont du Gard was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985, and is today one of France's top five tourist attractions.

The Pont du Gard, literally the Bridge of the Gard, spans the river Gard, or Gardon.  Its three levels reach a height of 49 meters and is 275 meters long.  The lower level carries a road, which is now only open to pedestrian traffic.  The third level is the water conduit, which was in use until the 9th century.

This bridge, built in just fifteen years, was constructed entirely without the use of mortar.  Each of its massive stones, many weighing up to six tons, was cut with precision to fit perfectly, eliminating the need for mortar.

A scaffolding system was employed to aid the workers and support the bridge during construction, and remnants of the scaffolding protrude from the bridge's face to this day.  As the bridge rose, workers hoisted the heavy stones using a rudimentary block and tackle system:  
(To give you an idea...)

Me and the kids, on the first level of the Pont du Gard

View of the Gard below, from the bridge.

Sidney, Cody and me next to the gnarled trunk of an enormous olive tree, near the Pont du Gard. 

Cody, in his typical "I'm okay!"gesture, after taking a spill.  Ah, the grace of adolescence!

Sidney, me and my beautiful belle-mere (mother-in-law), Yvonne

To read more about Le Pont du Gard, visit the official website HERE.

Have a wonderful day!