Our next outing while in the south of France consisted of several destinations all near each other. We would be going to Uzès for their market day, Nîmes to see a Roman temple and arena, and the Pont du Gard to swim and enjoy the Roman aqueduct.
Back when I was first researching places to visit for our trip, I asked for recommendations in the family travel facebook group, Club Bebe Voyage (such a fantastic group. Their actual website can be found here and gives great suggestions for kid friendly places to visit around the world). Anyway, Uzès came up as a recommendation in that group and then a couple of my husband’s friends also recommended it as well so we decided to put it on our list of places to visit.
We came on Saturday which was Market Day (every Wednesday and Saturday, but Saturday is a bigger and busier market). There was everything here from clothing to food to souvenir trinkets to fine wine. We had our girls mostly in the double stroller as we wandered through the quaint french village.
We ended up getting some amazing smelling perfume for me, beautiful dresses for the girls, and a hat (like the ones in the photo above) for my husband. We then got some delicious African food for lunch from one of the food stalls.
It was very crowded (much more than what I was expecting), but a neat experience and a fun place to do some shopping.
Avignon to Uzès is about 45 minutes by car and then Nîmes is another 40 minutes from Uzès. We used the driving time to give our girls some downtime and allow them to take a potential nap or two.
Nîmes is famous for their Roman Temple, Maison Caree, and their Roman amphitheatre that is still used today for concerts and other events.
The temple dates back to 2 A.D. and is one of the best preserved Roman temple Facades. It stands in the middle of the city surrounded by (delicious) ice cream parlors, restaurants, and shops. Inside, a video is shown about the temple, although we decided to just admire the temple from the outside while our girls ran around the square.
From the temple, we walked over to the amphitheatre. While not as pleasant looking as Arles’ amphitheatre, it was still very impressive to see. It was originally built in 70 A.D. and can seat 13,600 visitors. Today, it also has a moveable cover and heating system.
Nîmes has a few ticket combinations that allows visitors to see multiple sites. We decided against actually going in either of these stops (especially after just recently visiting Arles), but if we ever came back, I would definitely be interested.
Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard is just over a half hour away from Nîmes. We grabbed a couple sandwiches to take with us for dinner and headed over.
The Pont du Gard was something that my husband and I had both been really excited to see our whole trip. I would definitely put it up their with the Colosseum as amazing places to visit.
The Pont du Gard is an UNESCO Heritage site and dates back to the 1st century. It was used by the ancient Romans to carry water from Uzès to Nîmes (see how all of our stops today got tied together 😉 ).
In the 1990’s, tourists were still allowed to drive over the bridge and it became very touristy and congested with traffic. In 1996, the General Council of the Gard began a 4 year project to improve the area. They made the bridge as a pedestrian only area and added a new visitor centre. This has helped to make the Pont du Gard much quieter and a bit more remote. We loved it.
Once we parked, it was a short walk to the aqueduct. Our girls were so excited to get in the water. We quickly ate our sandwiches and then headed down to the river.
The water was pretty shallow and didn’t have too strong of a current near the shore. Adeline got a little nervous walking around so mostly we took turns holding her. London loved it though and had a lot of fun running around the water.
The view was fantastic and it was so cool to be out enjoying nature while at the same time viewing an ancient Roman site. Even with it being summer and super hot that day, the river wasn’t too crowded and we felt like we had plenty of space to ourselves.
It was hard dragging London away from the water, but we did eventually go and walk across the bridge. The walking (or driving bridge at the time) was built in the 1800’s.
More fantastic views greeted us from atop the bridge and it was a very nice walk. We only walked out maybe half way and then decided to go down and see the other side of the aqueduct.
From the other side, we could see the full original Roman structure. Barely anyone else was on this side of the Pont du Gard and so it made it even more special.
The Pont du Gard is definitely in our top 3 favorites from the summer (and probably our number 1). I highly recommend visiting, especially with how close it is to Avignon (half hour drive back to our Airbnb). It was a perfect outing for our kids as it mixed nature with history and allowed them plenty of space to run around. All in all, a perfect way to end our day.