Day Trip 8 - Over the Rhône: Uzès – Pont du Gard
We’ve done east and north so here is one I could have called “Go West Young Man”. Uzès is pronounced as two syllables – “oo” and “zess” – and if you want to get really close, make sure your “oo” is the short u-sound of du and tu. If you say anything like the English word “oozes” then you are on your own I’m afraid. Set a course for Avignon, cross the Rhône and then continue westward on the N100 to Remoulins and the Pont du Gard. A true masterpiece of ancient architecture, the Pont du Gard aqueduct is one of the most beautiful Roman constructions in the region. Built halfway through the 1st century AD, it was the principal construction in a 50 km long aqueduct that supplied the city of Nîmes with water. Built as a three-level aqueduct standing 50 m high, it allowed water to flow across the Gardon river and its valley. It was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 because of its historical importance. Uzès is only a little further on up the D981 and so these two destinations logically group themselves on the same itinerary. Uzès started life as Ucetia, a Gallo-Roman administrative centre and was the source of the water that flowed in the aqueduct of the Pont du Gard. The present-day city retains the traces of its walls as a circuit of boulevards. The 11th century Romanesque Tour Fenestrelle ("Window Tower"), with its paired windows, is probably the most famous icon of the city. It was listed as a French Historical Monument in 1862. Uzès is famous in the area for its Saturday market as not only does it sell local produce but it also sells fabrics of the region. The tourist office has a walking tour map covering all the important buildings and sights.