by Brenda W. Clough
This beautiful site is not actually a bridge, as its name indicates. It’s actually an aqueduct, a fantastic work of engineering that supplied water to the regional Roman capital of Nimes. Later on, the medieval residents repurposed the lower tier to support a footbridge over the river Gard, hence the name.
Pont du Gard is not only a World Heritage site, it’s one of the main glories of France, and as such it has rated a vast and state of the art museum and guided tours right through the water channel at the very top of the structure. It is just barely tall enough to walk through, and very narrow, but passable. We walked across and then had lunch on the terrace on the other side, from which I took the first picture.
The very different site we went to in the afternoon is Ambrussum, also a bridge and a town as well. But because it’s decidedly unglitzy it didn’t get as much love. But we were able to walk on the rue Domitia, which is in surprisingly good shape for a road that was made two thousand years ago. I have seen driveways in my home state that look shoddier than this Roman road, which originally connected Italy with Spain. And the remaining arch of the Ambrussum bridge is unutterably Impressionist. Can you see the water lilies, lower right? Artists have perched here for years, I am sure, with their oil paints and easels; if I had the time I would. The water was the color of every blue and green jewel you have ever seen.