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Pôt Pourri

The Pont-du-Gard, the Roman aqueduct near Nimes, Gard.

The Roman Pont du Gard aqueduct, near Nimes

The Pont-du-Gard aqueduct is probably the most famous Roman construction, after the Colosseum in Rome. The setting is beautiful and it's a pleasure to be here, even at the height of the tourist season. I don't think I've seen a modern building anywhere to equal it for beauty; it really needs to be seen in its setting, in the sunlight, to appreciate it.

It was built around 20 BC, as part of a 30 mile long aqueduct to bring fresh water to the roman city of Nemausus (Nîmes). Water flowed along the aqueduct by gravity, the aqueduct drops only 54 feet over the whole 30 miles – part of it is underground. The bottom tier carried a road originally designed for chariots and foot soldiers, but the arches have been strengthened and now it carries a single lane highway suitable for cars. No cement was used in the original construction of the bridge. The protrusions on the middle tier aren't just for decoration, the Romans put them there to support scaffolding when repairs were done on the top tier.

You can walk across the top tier if you're feeling brave enough to walk 300 yards along a 9'6" wide ledge with no protection, 160 feet above the river. I'm not!

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