What a beautiful day we have chosen to visit the Pont du Gard. Here’s some info on Pont du Gard from Wikipedia.
“The Pont du Gard (English: Bridge of the Gard) is an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge that crosses the Gardon River in Vers-Pont-du-Gard near Remoulins, in the Gard département of southern France. It is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50 km-long (31 mi) structure built by the Romans to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because the terrain between the two points is hilly, the aqueduct – built mostly underground – took a long, winding route that crossed the gorge of the Gardon, requiring the construction of an aqueduct bridge. Built in the 1st century AD, the Pont du Gard is the highest of all Roman aqueduct bridges and is the best preserved after the Aqueduct of Segovia. It was added to UNESCO‘s list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 because of its historical importance.
“The bridge has three tiers of arches, standing 48.8 m (160 ft) high. The whole aqueduct descends in height by only 17 m (56 ft) over its entire length, while the bridge descends by a mere 2.5 cm (0.98 in) – a gradient of only 1 in 3,000 – which is indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve using only simple technology. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 200,000 m3 (44,000,000 imp gal) of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It continued to be used possibly until the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but lack of maintenance after the 4th century meant that it became increasingly clogged by mineral deposits and debris that eventually choked off the flow of water.”
This bridge is awesome when you realize how and when it was built. We have the feeling that this location is going to be the highlight of our trip, apart from the Moulin Rouge evening in Paris (of course).
We move across to Uzè which is a town with a skyline that marks the region from afar…and from within holds treasures for the eyes, ears, and taste buds. There are only 8,300 residents, but there are still narrow streets with stone houses on either side. We visit on a Wednesday, a market day. The locals line the square with their products. It is time to try out a café, one of many that surround the market. Hot chocolate is good but a little on the low side.
We return to our Scenic ‘spaceship’ for another lunch and it becomes ridiculous to be offered 4 courses when you are used to a sandwich late in the day. Avignon is just across from our berthing point and the new electric bikes that Scenic has obtained are waiting for us. Many reading this will agree that riding a bicycle that does all the hard work is something they would enjoy. You do half a pedal and the electronic assistance system starts to assist you in the ride. Top speed we got up to was 28kph. We ride about 8 km along the bank of the Rhone River, not seeing much of the scenery, but enjoying the ‘wind in the hair’ experience on a bicycle.
Avignon is a quaint little town where years ago, the Popes fled when leaving the corruption of Rome in the 14th century. The palace they built, ‘Le Palais des Papes’, or the palace of popes, is the world’s largest Gothic edifice. It was largely emptied over the centuries, and its vast stone rooms are full with little more than old frescos, but it is still an imposing building. There are about 200,000 inhabitants in Avignon. We wander its streets and up to a viewing point on the top of a hill just nearby the city square.
We return to the ship when the town starts to ‘close down’ for the day for another 4-course meal. Oh, too much!!!
We depart at 11:00pm and travel through a few major lochs along the Rhone River.