pont du gard smallThis page contains practical information about the Pont du Gard and an overview of the various ways of getting there if you are travelling individually rather than on a guided coach tour.

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Click here to read our full guide to the bridge itself and the other attractions on the magnificent, 165 hectare / 408 acre site around it.

The Pont du Gard at moonrise

There are two basic approaches to seeing the Pont du Gard. Some visitors will just want a quick look and a photo to mark it down as "been there" in their diary.

Or perhaps they may be passing through quickly in the course of some sporting activity such as cycle touring or hiking.

Other people will want to make this a major destination and stay for hours. A family could easily spend the best part of a day here, perhaps bringing a picnic lunch to eat on the wide river bank by the bridge or in the shady wooded areas.

Which method you choose of getting here will mainly depend on what you want from your meeting with this iconic monument.

By car: The way to the Pont du Gard is very well indicated on the A9 motorway from Nîmes to Lyon (take exit 23 at Remoulins) or the N100 from Avignon and on the smaller roads that lead from it to the site.

map of pont du gard site smallThere are two car parks. The road signs will probably direct you to the larger, rive gauche (left bank) one (800 places), near the village of Vers Pont du Gard.

This is the principal entrance and the side of the river for the main reception, museum, cinema, shops and cafes. The tourist coaches park here. Pictured: a plan of the site showing the two entrances. Click on the map to enlarge the image.

The rive droite (right bank) is near the village of Remoulins and better if you are planning to swim, picnic or attend outdoor shows in the evening, since the wide part of the river bank where everyone gathers is on this side.

So is the congress hall where indoor events are held. The main restaurant, Les Terrasses, is also on the right bank and there's a smaller reception area and shop. This car park has 600 places. In both cases a hefty surcharge kicks in if you stay after 1am.

Whichever side of the river you arrive on, there is - we're told - almost always space for all comers, even in the middle of summer. When big events are on at night, extra car-parks are opened up slightly further away from the site and shuttle buses provided.

Admission prices to the Pont du Gard were increased dramatically in 2009. They were - and still are - controversial: click here for the current ones. Critics argue that this is a national treasure access to which should remain free to all. In response the management points out that significant funds are needed to protect, maintain and improve the site.

pont du gardLocals from the area can't really complain too much, since they get free entry: we saw joggers and even someone arriving to feed the resident feral cats!

The aim of charging an all-inclusive fee is to encourage people to linger and explore not just the Pont du Gard but everything around it, including the impressive museum, which many skipped when it cost extra to go in.

The strategy seems to be working as, eager to get their money's worth, visitors are spending considerably longer on the site: in many cases nearly three and a half hours, according to a recent survey.

Some little optional extras such as Visioguide apps and handbooks do still come at an extra charge, and can quietly push up the cost.

Even so, the Pont du Gard really does represent very good value, certainly compared to other major (and indeed many minor) tourist and family attractions in Provence.

There is a sliding scale of charges, depending on whether you want a guided tour, and if you are in the region for a longer period, you can buy a pass that gives you unlimited access for a year.

The entrance fee includes access to a secure and busy car park with attendants and video surveillance. (Vehicles parked on the road near big tourist attractions in Provence are highly vulnerable to break-ins.) Even so, it's probably wise not to leave valuables in your car.

But what if you don't want to spend the whole day at the Pont du Gard or pay to go in? Well, then you're out of luck because, huge as it is, it's difficult to get a really decent look at it from the road.

We were told that one of the best spots is the self-styled "panoramic view" overlooking the plain from the village of Castillon du Gard three km / two miles away.

We checked this spot out later, and couldn't recommend it. From Castillon the bridge is not much more than a speck in the distance and you get no sense at all of the sheer scale of the thing - clearly visible in the photo above showing tiny figures next to the second tier of the bridge. And that is, after all, one of the main points.

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By bus: The Pont du Gard is served by bus from Nîmes (no.B21) and from Avignon or Uzès (no.A15). In both cases the trip takes around 50 minutes. The bus drops you by the left bank car-park in the middle of summer and at a nearby roundabout at other times.

There are between two and six buses a day in each direction, depending on the season. Click here for more details and the current timetables (choose the tab "Horaires des lignes", then the relevant timetable).

You can buy a combination ticket that includes the bus fare and entrance to the site and is on sale at the usual outlets (tourist offices and bus stations).

By minibus - organised tour: An organised tour might look pricey, but bear in mind that it includes entrance fees as well as transport. This half-day one offered by Provence Panorama also takes in nearby Uzès and the Roman sights in Nîmes

By bicycle: Cycling is not allowed within the site itself, but you can arrive by bike and leave it in one of the racks at the entrances on both banks. There are a few lockers for cyclists (and other visitors) to deposit their kit; we suspect these would fill up very quickly in summer.

Topoguide to hiking through the Gard and the Pont du GardOn foot: Two of France's Grandes Randonnées (long-distance footpaths) cross the Pont du Gard and pass through part of the site on the right bank: the GR6 and the GR63.

Of course you don't have to walk the entire routes (GR6 is over 1,000 km long!) But you can pick one of them up at a nearby village such as Saint Bonnet du Gard or Collias.

Or you could go on a more ambitious hike that would give you a glimpse of other Roman remains along the long aqueduct of which the Pont du Gard is just one small part.

The trail is indicated at intervals with the usual GR red and white marks, pictured below on the Gardon river bank, and you can buy a large-scale IGN hiking map of the area around the Pont du Gard here and a topoguide (an official descriptive guide, in French only) here.

A 30 km / 18.5 mile long "Voie Verte" ("Green Route") between Beaucaire and Uzès via the Pont du Gard is also being created for cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians. A substantial stretch of this path is already complete.

Insider tip for the Pont du GardCyclists and hikers are allowed free access to the Pont du Gard, assuming that they are passing through the site as part of a ride or hike, and not intending to linger there. Obviously this does not include entrance to the museum, gallery or cinema.

hiking trail at pont du gardBy kayak or canoe: One popular way of seeing the Pont du Gard is to go down the Gardon river by canoe and there are numerous companies offering this service, especially in Collias, from where you paddle under the bridge downstream in the direction of Remoulins.

The canoe company will provide shuttle transport to your point of departure and from the point of arrival. The French word for canoe, is spelled almost the same as English, canoë, but is pronounced canoh-ay. River visitors, too, aren't supposed to stop on the site but to keep paddling through it.

By air: Planes aren't permitted to fly directly over the bridge, though we saw several light aircraft skirting the area (as well as a military jet!) And a number of local companies do offer flights around the Pont du Gard in light aircraft, gliders, helicopters or hot air balloons (montgolfières). Microlight trips are also possible.

Note that most of these aerial activities are highly dependent on weather conditions and could be cancelled if the fierce Mistral wind that so often sweeps through the region is blowing. So they're unsuitable for anyone travelling on a tight schedule.

Where: The Pont du Gard is about 26 km / 16 miles west of Avignon and about 30 km / 18.5 miles north-east of Nîmes. The nearest village is Vers Pont du Gard. Site du Pont du Gard - La Bégude, 400 route du Pont du Gard, 30210 Vers Pont du Gard. Tel: (+33) 4 66 37 50 99. Website for the Pont du Gard.

As well as the two Information Centres inside the site itself, there's a Pont du Gard Tourist Office locally, which covers the surrounding area. Place des Grands Jours, 30210 Remoulins. Website for the Pont du Gard Tourist Office Tel: (+33) 4 66 37 22 34 E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Pont du Gard remains open all year round, though the restaurant and some indoor areas close for part of the winter. You can stay there after dark (exact closing times vary depending on the season), when the bridge is illuminated in summer. The indoor areas such as the museum close in the early evening, so you should visit these first if you arrive late in the day.

The Pont du Gard is set up for disabled visitors, with reserved parking spaces and wide, well-made paths through most of the site. You wouldn't be able to access the upper levels of the bridge with a push- or wheel-chair, and there are a few steps in some parts of the Memories of the Garrigue park.

Where to eat and drink: On the right bank of the river is the main restaurant, Les Terrasses, an 18th century former inn which serves à la carte and set meals on a lovely outdoor terrace.

Various other snack bars and bistros are dotted around the site: one of the nicest ones - closed when we visited in early spring - looks to be an old water mill dating back to 1865 on the left bank, whose terrace opens for riverside drinks in the summer.

Alternatively, visitors spending a day here in good weather might prefer to bring a picnic (and blankets and cushions to sit on, as picnic tables are few and far between).

Photo credits (from top): © A Rodriguez, Claude Quiec, A Rodriguez, RWS for Marvellous Provence.

Slideshow: © A Rodriguez (Pont du Gard at sunset, picnic on the river, the water mill, inside the Museum and Ludo); O2 Prod (aerial view); Pont du Gard (canoeing); Yann de Fareins (Memories of the Garrigue); Clement Puig (music concert) and Thierry Nava for Groupe F (fireworks).



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