This Uzès to Nîmes road trip itinerary in France’s Languedoc follows the route that Roman engineers used to bring water into the City. However, fascinating Uzès, the amazingly well-preserved Pont du Gard Aqueduct and the stunning historic centre of Nîmes are the real stars. All three are different. Uzès is a small city with interesting medieval architecture and a great market. Nîmes is a large city with a magnificent Roman heritage and a great buzz. Finally, the Pont du Gard is an absolutely stunning piece of Roman Civil Engineering.
For this itinerary it is advisable to have a copy of the Michelin Departmental Map 339. Also when you arrive, obtain city plans from the tourist offices of both Uzès and Nîmes. While this trip could be done in one day by car it is advisable to take two days and stay in either Uzès or Nîmes.
Uzès is our starting point as it was for the water which the Romans channeled via Pont du Gard to Nîmes. Saturday is best in order to enjoy the colourful market in the Place des Herbes. Make sure you check out the Tour Fenestrelle and the Ducal Palace before you continue.
Leave Uzès in the direction of Pont-du-Gard and follow the D981 for about 13km. Pass Vers Pont du Gard on your left, go straight ahead at the first roundabout and take the 3rd exit from the second roundabout to reach the Pont du Gard car parking. It is about an 800m walk to the Pont du Gard itself from the car park. The sheer magnificence of the two thousand year old structure is awesome.
If you can tear yourself away return to the main road and take the D19 in the direction of Remoulins which you drive past and follow the D6086 direction Nîmes/Beaucaire/Tarascon for 21km.
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Nîmes is a large city but all of the sites are within walking distance. Head for the city centre where there are several underground car parks. Parking Arènes on Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle is a good choice because it is adjacent to one the main sites of the city, the extremely well preserved Roman Amphitheatre known as Les Arènes. Walk along the Rue des Arènes leading away from the north side of the Amphitheatre which brings you to the Place du Marché. At the eastern end of the Place is the famous and very lifelike Chained Crocodile languishing in its fountain.
From the Place du Marché head West along the Rue des Greffes for about 50m to Rue de l’Étoile. Turn right, proceed for 800m and you will arrive at the best preserved Roman temple of all, the Maison Carrée. Arguably, this is classical architecture at its best. From the back of the Maison Carrée, walk west along the Rue de l’Horloge for 200m and turn right into the Place d’Horlage. Now turn left into the Rue de la Madeleine, the main shopping street of Nîmes. After 100m you will enter the Place Aux Herbes overlooked by the Romanesque Cathedral of Nôtre Dame and St Castor.
Retrace your steps back to the Maison Carrée and continue to Rue Racine. Turn right and in a few metres bear right into Rue Gaston Boissier. This brings you to the Quai de la Fontaine and the entrance to the Jardins de la Fontaine. Moreover, the Gardens are extremely peaceful after the bustle of the city and you can easily spend a couple of hours here just chilling and strolling along the balustraded walks beside the canals. Before you leave though another stunning Roman monument awaits. Climb the path to the top of the garden and be amazed by the Tour Magne or great Tower of Nîmes.
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