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Respect for the site

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Respect for the site

The Pont du Gard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is set in an environment of rare beauty. This remarkable site must be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Respecting the site: a few guidelines

The Pont du Gard has over a million visitors every year. It stands today as one of Europe’s most prestigious cultural sites.

The Pont du Gard is the most visited ancient monument in France.

Un site naturel d'exceptionUn site naturel d'exception (Yann De Fareins)

Take part in the preservation of a natural site

Over the years, the general public has become aware of the many risks and dangers posed by the bad management of tourist sites. A neglectful approach can result in terrible damage to the natural environment of a site. General awareness of these problems plays an important part in preventing environmental degradation.

Various institutions have dedicated themselves to protecting these important and culturally significant monuments. This movement gradually progressed to include the safeguarding of natural and culturally important sites in general.

The Pont du Gard has, over the years, been protected in the following ways:

  • 1840 : The Pont du Gard was added to the first list of classified historic monuments. This movement, started by Prosper Mérimée, launched the first great restoration projects applied to the Pont du Gard.
  • 1993 : 407 hectares around the Pont du Gard were placed under the protection of the 1930 law designed to safeguard sites of special interest.
  • 1985 : The Pont du Gard was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • 2000 : A 'Grand Site Operation' was implemented.
  • 2004 : The Minister for the Environment granted the site the title of 'Grand Site de France ®'.
  • 2010 : The title of 'Grand Site de France ®' was renewed by the Minister for Ecology and Sustainable Development.

Creating general awareness

In 1985, local authorities sought to launch an operation that would redefine and increase recognition of the importance of the land surrounding the Pont du Gard. This increase in general awareness led to the purchase of 165 hectares of land around the Pont du Gard by the Gard's General Council.

2002 saw a large project designed to increase the site’s cultural appeal and its attraction to tourists. This undertaking led to better traffic management and signposting and created new buildings and two car parks at the entrance to the site. It also established a walkway linking the bridge with the welcome centres and museum areas.

The thinking behind this new approach to preserving the site was a reflection of the importance of its ancient history. It was this focus on maintaining the quality and dignity of the site that made it a worthy addition to the World Heritage Site list. Since 2005, all cultural activities have been supervised under the Charter of Site Usage, which guarantees proper respect is given to the historical and natural environment. It defines the possibilities and limits of good usage by underlining the following:

  • The importance of safeguarding the site’s natural habitat, of preserving the quality of the scenery and of working to prevent the effects of natural disasters, like fires and floods.
  • The importance of following the rules laid out by legislation on historical site protection. This protection extends to the monuments and forests.
  • The importance of respecting the fundamental principles that go into presenting cultural sites – not to mention the skill that goes into managing the flow of tourists to a popular site.
  • 2000 : A 'Grand Site Operation' was implemented.

In addition to these tips, it is important to take local customs into account. Local residents must be able to continue to use the area in peace for their picnics, swims, walks and days out.

Mise en lumière du monument les soirs d'été (Yann de Fareins)

Maintaining a legacy

The site is a shining example of what the World Heritage Convention is designed to protect. It is important to note however, that this fame can also present some special challenges to its upkeep.

In the interest of avoiding unnecessary risks to this special place, we remind visitors of the following important guidelines. These simple rules exist to prevent degradation of the site:

  • Take your rubbish with you
  • Do not pick plants or flowers
  • Keep to the official signposted paths
  • Ensure that your pets remain on a leash at all times

NEVER

  • Start a fire anywhere on the site
  • Dive into the Gardon river from the bridge or the cliffs along its banks

Taking these simple steps will ensure your safety and will allow the Pont du Gard site to remain a place of exceptional natural wonder for generations to come.