Sunday 24 August 2014

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France ... at night

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? Mr B asked me to organise an overnight stop somewhere in France on our way home to Spain. It was a great brief - anywhere, I mean anywhere interesting in France. Well the sky's the limit ... .

And it totally was. The sky was the limit with this leviathan of the Roman world. Feast your eyes, my friends, on the tallest aqueduct that Rome ever built.

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France
Twilight at the Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France

Isn't it a beauty? Way up on top, where it looks like someone sewed on the top tier using blanket stitch, they used to carry the water across the valley to feed the growing Roman colony in Nîmes. Down below where you can see the wider arches they had a viaduct where people would travel across the river gorge with the Gardon river flowing merrily on its way down below.

Mr B thought that it was a pretty good choice.

We arrived in Remoulins in the early evening, and checked in with our (dog-friendly) hotel in the centre of town. Then we decided to take Maxi, the wonder dog, for a walk to stretch his paws after all that time sitting in the back of the car watching Scooby-Doo videos with Emi, who was also looking slightly goggle-eyed in the way that eight year old boys do when they've just spent eight hours watching non-stop Scooby-Doo on a small screen in the back of a fast moving car.

As we had a UNESCO world heritage site on the outskirts of town that seemed like the obvious destination to bend our steps towards. We asked the chap in the hotel reception, and he gave us one of those Gallic shrugs and told us that it would take tventy minoots to get to the bridge.

About an hour later we ambled up to the bridge, hungry and wondering how we'd ever manage to drag our weary backsides back to town without some pommes frites and a nice glass of something cold and wet.

Then we saw this:

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France

... and forgot about the pommes frites.

We wandered around admiring it and wading into the river to get the best possible photo. And then we wondered whether or not they'd have some sort of son et lumière gig later when it got properly dark.

It got properly dark.

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France

And the lights came on ... and I felt a bit inadequate at having come without my tripod ...

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France

Taking photos in the pitch dark, half way across the river was a challenge. Not least because my anxious son would shout out my name every five minutes from the viewing terrace to reassure himself that I hadn't been swept away by the water. Every time I released the shutter I had to shout back reassurance that I was still very much in the land of the living, resulting in a blur as my exhalation shook the camera ever so slightly. And, with the lights dancing in waves of colour, it took very little to blur the image.

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France

And then we climbed the bridge and walked across it with the lights playing around us. It was a moonless night, which made the colours all the more dramatic given the contrast they made with the inky blackness of the sky.

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France

Emi's new word for the evening was serendipitous: adjective: occurring or discovered by chance in a happy and beneficial way. Our discovery of the night-time spectacle had been a truly serendipitous gift of fate, and our good luck didn't end there. You see, by now, we had really worked up an appetite and the idea of a nice steak-frites was weighing very heavily on our thoughts.

Just as the happy holiday mood was in danger of being deflated by hunger pangs we saw this place, Les Terrasses, on the rive droite of the Gardon.

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France

Now we would normally run a mile from the only restaurant operating at a tourist hotspot like this, dismissing it as something that only survived because it held the foreign tourists to ransom being the only pit-stop in town. But we were very hungry and it was a long walk back into town (merci, Monsieur le concierge for your advice on that point). So we decided to give it a go. And it was really great. They offered us a bowl of water for le petit chien, which immediately earned them multiple brownie points chez moi, and with very little fuss and fanfare they delivered succulent rib eye steaks in a pepper sauce with pommes frites and some lovely ice-cold glasses of the local beer. Fantastique! Formidable!

And the best bit was the magnificent view from the terrace where we sat feasting in the balmy night air:

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France

Apologies, but the glass of the fine local beer did very little to steady my hand on the camera ... .

So, if you happen to be in the neighbourhood of Remoulins and you'd like to go for a stroll, head for the rive droite, the right bank of the Gardon, walking out of town. It's much closer than the left bank, and don't be afraid to try, Les Terrasses, the terrace restaurant when you get there. It's not half bad!

Pont du Gard, Remoulins, France
Anyway, drop by tomorrow, and I'll show you what this baby looks like in daylight.

À demain,

Bonny x

Or if you're in the area why not check out Perpignan?

Or the insect kingdom of Micropolis?


  1. That is amazing and I loved your photos. It looks so beautiful all lit up at night with the various colors. A spectacular feat of engineering for sure.

    1. Thank you, Ida. Yes, indeed, it was quite a feat of engineering especially back then when they had no power tools or mechanical cranes. Thanks for stopping by, Bonny