Cirque de Navacelles, Pont du Gard
May 22, 2018
|Yesterday we drove from just south of Bordeaux to Brive le Gaillard on the autoroute. From here we turned south leaving the motorways at D802 to go to Rodex and on to Millau. We drove from coastal plain through foothills to the Mediterranean Pyrenees. In the distance we could see medieval villages.
Rodex was a modern town with perhaps an 17th - 18th century center.
Millau was a red-roofed beige blocked building town with a medieval center. We saw a small white train tourimg people aroumd. Just north and west we had seen unusual rock formations....an arch and limestone projections. Unfortunately we didn't stop. We went on to Le Caylar.
This little 17th - 18th century town had a modern rest area and hotels. We found a room at Le Hotel Durocher. We walked around noting the big cross and church atop a rocky outcropping on top of the mountain behind town. Below it and beside it was a huge limestone rock...Stone de Caylar.
This a.m. we decided to drive through town and into La Causee de Cevennes. We went first southeast across a high plain turning more north than east at Le St. Pierre de la Fage. As we drove to St. Michel de Navacelles we saw a stone circle reminiscent of those in Spain and Portugal. We continued north to the lip of the Vis River Gorge. Here we started the hairpin curves of descent to the river. And the scenery changed.
Limestone cliffs that seemed to be in blocks along the road with limestone projections above along the lip of the gorge. Far below we could see the Vik River coiling around the valley floor. And then we saw Cirque de Navacelles. It is almost an island with the river coiling around it. There are three small villages...all medieval. Neat. We drove along the river and crossed over. We wound our way up the other side stopping at a lookout just below the top. Here we took pics. There was a rocky projection in three that was curved. Possibly left over from an ancient Roman aquaduct.? We went on.
At the top we were back to grasslands again...with the exception of Moulin de Fox....more rock projections. We continued to Blandas turning northeast to Montdardier. Now hete was an ancient town. We wound through narrow streets turning east to Saint Laurent le Miniet. A pretty little village complete with a Chateau...Joue...an arched bridge over the L'Arre River, a waterfall and an old Roman aquaduct....still operating. Neat! Here we crossed the bridge and went northeast to Ganges...a bustling city, the area's center. A large supermarket, pharmacy, MacDonald 's, building supplies, car dealerships and all.
We turned south on D999 to Nimes. We wound our way through the busy town turning onto D113 avoiding the motorway. We made our way east towards Avignon on D6086. We turned off at Pont du Gard.
Pont du Gard is the largest Roman Aquaduct built. It was built in 50 - 70 A.D. It has three layers of arches plus what was once a road and is now a walkway across the river. It is over 47m high and at the top over 240m wide. It supplied water to the Roman town of Nimes. We walked up the Gard River to the aquaduct and across. The museum explained how the aquaduct was built. It had an unremarkable film. Beside it was a snack bar and souvenir stand. Lots of limestone made up the banks of this river.
Rainclouds threatened as we walked back to the car. They continued to darken and rumble as we drove towards Avignon looking for a hotel. In the little town just beyond Pont du Gard we found Les Ancantes and have a room here for the night. We walked a km for dinner at an Italian restaurant and have settled for the night.