Le Pont du Gard: Just Plumbing, But Gorgeous!

Any construction for running water is something like an inclined gutter which transports water from one point to another. It’s simple, a piece of cake, but not for the ancient Romans!

Their “gutter” could look like THIS!

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Le Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct located in Provence, France. Standing near it, you feel like you’re a midget. This is also a bridge. “Le Pont du Gard” means “The bridge across the Gardon River.” But by no means does this tiny river merit a structure on this scale.

Why wouldn’t they just construct something more modest? Something like the irrigation systems of our high-tech century. No way. They erected the 47-meter-high wonder over the tiny river, and this wonder has already been standing, without any special reconstruction, for two thousand years. The gutter itself crowns the whole construction. Builders even breached a tunnel in the rock; note, without drilling machines, but with some kind of metal instruments.

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Le Pont du Gard is more than 2000 years old!

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Le Pont du Gard, a bridge and an aqueduct, Provence, France.

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Can you imagine even the most high-tech modern plumbing system that will function for the following 2,000 years? It’s hardly possible. But Le Pont du Gard is operating and looking as if it can do it for another 2,000 years. After all, the Romans didn’t even have cement! Just stones and … brains.

What thoughts must have entered the minds of people whose nations were competing with the Romans when they saw something like this? How powerful must an empire be, which has such running water systems!

Of course you can say it’s possible to construct anything if you have a large slave workforce. Maybe. But I doubt that slaves would have been able to process stones to a certain angle and lay them in accurately prepared places in a specific way without directions from a certain person. And that person, as we can see, was a GENIUS!

Le Pont du Gard - a Roman aqueduct in Gard department of Languedoc-Roussillon, France.

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

Le Pont du Gard aqueduct, Nimes, France.

The most wonderful aqueduct I have ever seen in my life!

Like us, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the famous Geneva philosopher, writer, and composer, also visited Le Pont du Gard. But that was 300 years ago, and he wrote about it in his book, The Confession. Let’s compare our impressions.

I had been advised to visit the Pont-du-Gard; hitherto I had seen none of the remaining monuments of Roman magnificence, and I expected to find this worthy the hands by which it was constructed; for once, the reality surpassed my expectation; this was the only time in my life it ever did so, and the Romans alone could have produced that effect. The view of this noble and sublime work, struck me the more forcibly, from being in the midst of a desert, where silence and solitude render the majestic edifice more striking, and admiration more lively, for though called a bridge it is nothing more than an aqueduct. One cannot help exclaiming, what strength could have transported these enormous stones so far from any quarry? And what motive could have united the labors of so many millions of men, in a place that no one inhabited? I remained here whole hours, in the most ravishing contemplation, and returned pensive and thoughtful to my inn.

– The Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

More about France:

Le Mont Saint Michel – The Grave of God
Our Dinner in Michelin Restaurant Eskis in Lyon, France
Peyrepertuse – one of Cathar Castles

18 Responses to “Le Pont du Gard: Just Plumbing, But Gorgeous!”

  1. Tales and Travels of the Tin Man Says:

    FANTASTIC! I do not believe that we have advanced so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Champagne Vacations Says:

    Beautiful pictures! I visited here a couple of years ago and I couldn’t believe how well it has stood the test of time either! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. artsmith7 Says:

    Wonderful series — well done

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wordsfromanneli Says:

    That’s truly amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sharon Says:

    OMG where the lovely clear cold water that i swam in 3 years ago!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. taraisarockstar Says:

    I agree…gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Susie C. Says:

    What is stunning to me is the marriage of engineering, architecture and artistic sensibility displayed by the ancient Romans. It’s just amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anita Mac Says:

    It is so amazing what the Romans achieved – and to think they don’t have all the equipment we have now! I remember standing at the Pont du Gard and just being in awe at what they had created. Just visited the Coliseum in Rome – unreal! Had the same effect on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Garden Walk Garden Talk Says:

    I really would love to see this in person one day. Your photos make it look mammoth.

    Liked by 1 person

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