Those Romans really were a clever lot!

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Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Vers-Pont-du-Gard
September 24th 2010
Published: September 30th 2010
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Last full day today. We decided that we would head out of Provence and into the neighbouring region of Languedoc-Roussillon so we could visit Pont du Gard.

Pont du Gard is a very impressive aqueduct bridge that was built by the Romans. It is made up of 3 rows of arches which span the river Gard. It is part of the 50km aqueduct that ran from Uzes to Nimes. Apparently the Romans were using so much water that they needed to have huge amounts of it brought in. We went to the museum on site and as a result I am well up on Roman's and their plumbing. They had running water in their houses and huge bath houses. They were using more water per capita than we are now!

The aqueduct is a very impressive feat of engineering. There is only a 17m difference in height from the start of it in Uzes to its end in Nimes. The water isn't pumped so the height of the aqueduct is very important to ensure that it flows and that it is going in the correct direction. Also there is practically no mortar in the bridge. All the pieces were precision cut and then slotted into place. It is all holds itself together.

There used to be 12 more arches on the top row but they disappeared in the 12th century when the stone was stolen to make churches and other buildings out of.

As well as the museum, an assortment of caf├ęs and obviously the bridge there was also a short walking path through the garrigue which we went on. There were loads of crickets jumping around in the grass and in a couple of places there were absolutely loads of white snail shells. The shells all looked empty but there were literally hundreds of them all stuck on the grass.

By lunchtime the weather seemed to have gone from quite nice to rather wet! We had to abandon our idea of having a picnic on the riverbank and then a paddle in the river and opted instead for sheltering near visitors centre!

By the late afternoon the weather had improved considerably and we went to a farmers market in Graveson. There was loads of nice looking food although I particularly liked the look of all the biscuits!

Back to the UK tomorrow. Best make the most of the last of the sunshine and the nice French food.

Au Revoir!

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