Interesting Facts About France
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 Interesting Facts About France
1. The official name of France is The French Republic and its motto is 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.'
French motto
The head of the French Republic is elected by the people and is the President of France. 
The current president is called Emmanuel Macron and he is the youngest French president ever: -  just 39 years old when he was elected on 7 May 2017.

Below is the official emblem of The French Republic. 
The letters R and F are entwined in the centre.

The emblem is on the front cover of French passports.

Le Passeport Français.

2. The name France means 'Land of the Franks.'  The Franks were a Germanic tribe who lived in Northern Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.

 3.  Apart from France, French is the official language of the following countries -
Benin; Burkina Faso; Central African Republic; Congo; French Caledonia; French Guiana; French Polynesia; Gabon; Guadaloupe; Guinea; Ivory Coast; Luxembourg; Mali; Martinique; Monaco; Niger; Senegal; Togo; the Canadian province of Quebec; the Swiss districts of Vaud, Neuchatel, Geneva and Jura.
French  French  French  French  French  

4. French is one of the official languages in the following countries -
Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Channel Islands (Guernsey and Jersey), Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles and Vanuatu.

5.  French is widely spoken in the following countries - Algeria, Andorra, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Dominica, Egypt, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Lebanon, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco,  Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia,  United States (Louisiana, New England) and Vietnam.

6.  People who speak fluent French are called 'Francophones.'

7. The flag of France is blue, white, red.  It is known as Le Drapeau Tricolore (or the three-coloured flag) because of its three colours.   It has existed since 1794.
It is said that -
Blue is the colour of Saint Martin.

White is the colour of the Virgin Mary, Joan of Arc and of royalty 
Red is the colour of Saint Denis and of the war-banner of France.  The original French war-banner was called the red Oriflamme of Saint Denis.

8.  The French national anthem is called La Marseillaise. It was composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in 1792.   It is called La Marseillaise because it was first sung by soldiers from the city of Marseille as they marched into Paris.
To read the words and to hear the French National Anthem sung by the famous French singer Mireille Mathieu, click HERE.
french music

9.  An important emblem of France is the cockerel (le coq).  It is used on the sportswear of French national teams.   It is a courageous animal, willing to fight. 
             Le coqCocorico !
The lily (la fleur-de-lis) and the iris are two flowers also used as emblems for France.
  la fleur-de-lis
The French symbol of freedom is the woman known as Marianne.  Her image is seen on coins,  stamps and paintings.  She wears a 'cap of liberty' on her head.

10.  The country of France is divided into twenty-two regions.  These are -Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie, Bourgogne, Bretagne, Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse, Franche-Comte, Haute-Normandie, Île-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Limousin, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrénées, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la Loire, Picardie, Poitou-Charentes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Rhône-Alpes.

Each region is divided into sections called départements.  There are ninety-six départements in France.  Each département has a name and a number.  Number 75 belongs to Paris.  Post codes and car number-plates tell you which département they belong to, according to the numbers they contain.  (The last two numbers of a vehicle number-plate are the ones that count.)  The post code for Paris is 75000.

11. One of the most important dates in France is the 14 July.  This is known as Bastille Day and it is a national holiday.  In France it is called La Fête Nationale.  It is a celebration of the storming of the prison in Paris called Bastille Saint-Antoine on 14 July 1789.  The storming of the Bastille is called La Prise de la Bastille in French.
On that day, angry peasants invaded the prison, released the prisoners (there were only a few prisoners inside at the time) and seized the weapons stored there. This was the beginning of the French Revolution.
The poor people hated the Bastille because so many had been imprisoned there without having a fair trial.  
Nowadays, on 14 July, there is a big parade in Paris, the French flag flies from L'Arc de Triomphe and there are celebrations and fireworks all over France.

French revolution  
                        (Image from Wikimedia Commons.)

12.  The French Revolution took place because there were too many poor people in France.  They thought that it was unfair that they were suffering from hunger, whilst the royal family and their rich friends were spending enormous amounts of money to live in great luxury.
So, the people of France protested but nothing seemed to change.  The royal family seemed not to care.  The king and queen and their friends were arrested.  They were no longer allowed to be in charge of the country.
Eventually, many people (including the king and queen) were executed.

13.  During the French Revolution, the King of France was Louis XVI and his wife was Marie-Antoinette (she was Austrian).  She was only fourteen years of age when she married.  In the portrait below, painted by Martin Van Meytins, she is only twelve years old.

King Louis XVI of FranceQueen Marie-Antoinette
(Images from Wikimedia Commons)

14.  The guillotine was the method of execution developed during the French Revolution.  It was invented with the help of surgeon, Dr. Guillotin.  In Paris, it was used regularly in La Place de la Concorde. 

the guillotine
(Images from Wikimedia Commons)

15. The guillotine remained the official method of execution in France until 1981 when the death penalty was abolished.  The last time it was used was as recently as 1977.

16.  The patron saint of France is Saint Denis.  He is also the saint of Paris.  He was Bishop of Paris in the Third Century and his feast day is 9 October.  

17.  The shrine of Saint-Denis is in the Basilica of Saint-Denis, Paris.  Most of the kings and queens of France are laid to rest in this cathedral.

Saint Denis
(Image from Wikimedia Commons, author 'Arnaud'.)

18.  Le Musée du Louvre in Paris is the most visited museum and art gallery in the world.   Inside, there are around 35,000 works of art and over 380,000 objects.  
It was first built in 1190 as a castle to defend Paris against enemy attacks.  The first building of the existing Louvre began in 1535, after demolition of the old castle.

In 1989, an enormous glass pyramid was completed as part of a new entrance to the building.
The foundations of the original castle lie underneath today's building.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons, author Benh Lieu Song.)

To visit the official website of Le Musée du Louvre,
click HERE.

19.   Some of the most famous and valuable works of art are exhibited in Le Musée du Louvre.  The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is kept there.  It is owned by the French Government and was valued at 700 million dollars in 2009.  It was bought by French King Francis I in 1519.  In France, the Mona Lisa is called La Joconde. 
La Joconde
(Image from Wikimedia Commons.)

20.   La Tour Eiffel.
Eiffel Tower
 (Image from Wikimedia Commons, author Tognopop.)

The Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel) was designed by architect Stephen Sauvestre and built by the construction company of Gustave Eiffel between 1887 and 1889.  
It is an iron tower standing over 300 metres high beside the River Seine in Paris.   Until 1930, it was the tallest building in the world.  Today, it is the tallest building in Paris. 
It has a total weight of 10,100 tons. 

It was originally built as a 'temporary gateway' to L'Exposition Universelle: - a fair to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution.   A competition had been held to find the best design for the special event and it was La Tour Eiffel that was the winner!  In fact, the tower had permission to remain standing for no longer than twenty years, so it was designed to be easily dismantled.

Below is an image of the Eiffel Tower standing as the gateway to the 1889 fair.

 At first, many people considered it to be very ugly, but when it was discovered that the tower made an excellent radio antenna, the city of Paris decided to keep it!   It is still used for radio transmission and has an aerial mast at the very top.

 La Tour Eiffel is cleaned all year round by a team of cleaners.  Each year they consume 4 tons of paper wipes, 10,000 doses of detergent, 400 litres of metal cleaner and 25,000 rubbish bags.
                               Je suis très occupé!

The re-painting of La Tour Eiffel begins every seven years and lasts for about 18 months.  It requires around 60 tons of paint in three different shades of brown.
painting Eiffel Tower
To visit the official website of La Tour Eiffel, click HERE.
For a quiz about the Eiffel Tower, clique ICI

21.   L'Arc de Triomphe is a very large monument in Paris to honour soldiers who have fought and died for France.  It was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1808 but its construction took a very long time and it was completed in 1836.  
Arc de Triomphe
(Image from Wikimedia Commons, author Benh Lieu Song.)

It is an arch standing just over 50 metres high and 45 metres wide.  It stands in the centre of a huge roundabout where there is always a lot of traffic circling around.  This famous roundabout is known as the 'star' because it has twelve roads running out from the centre, making it look like
a 12-pointed star.
  Beneath the arch is the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior from the First World War.  In 1923, an 'eternal flame' was lit here in memory of all French soldiers lost in war.  
eternal flame

22.   In 1624, King Louis XIII built a hunting lodge in the village of Versailles, outside Paris.  This building was enlarged by the next king - Louis XIV - who turned it into the magnificent palace we see today.  In French, this palace is called Le Château de Versailles.  The gardens of the palace are the most famous gardens in the world.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons, by Jean-Christophe Benoist)

Below is a photo of the famous Hall of Mirrors (La Galerie des Glaces) created by King Louis XIV in the 17th Century at Le Château de Versailles. 
At that time, mirrors were one of the most expensive items you could buy. 
Hall of Mirrors
(Image from Wikimedia Commons.)


23.   In France, you celebrate your 'name-day.' 
Every day of the year, a saint is remembered.  If you have the same name as a saint (or a name that has something to do with a saint) then you will receive presents on that saint's day, just like on your birthday.  The word for 'name-day' in French is Le jour de fête.  On occasions like this, people say 'Meilleurs voeux' - meaning 'Best wishes.'

24.  The French people call the English people les rosbifs, meaning - the roast beefs!

25.  In France, they eat snails (les escargots), frogs' legs (les cuisses de grenouille) and horsemeat (la viande de cheval).

French food         French food       French food

26.  Before eating a meal, it is polite to say Bon appétit.  This means 'I hope you have a good appetite so that you enjoy your meal.'

27.  The word Salut means both 'hello' and 'goodbye.'

28.  The most popular French bread is la baguette (little stick).  It is a loaf 5 or 6 cm. wide and up to a metre in length.  If it is a thinner version, it is called une ficelle (a string) and if it is wider it is called une flûte.  Bread rolls are called petits pains (little breads).  La baguette magique is 'the magic wand'!  The shape of la baguette makes it very easy to carry under your arm!
French bread

29.  The word for breakfast is le petit déjeuner (the little lunch).  In France you dunk your croissant into a milky drink at breakfast-time.  The word 'croissant' actually means 'crescent' because the pastry is a crescent shape.  The shape is very good for dunking! 
Although croissants are associated with France, they actually started in Austria.  The crescent was the symbol of the Turks.  When the Austrians defeated the Turks in a battle over three hundred years ago, the French chef employed by the Emperor of Austria decided to make crescent-shaped pastry (in the shape of the Turks' emblem) for the Austrians to eat in celebration - meaning they were crushing and chewing their enemies! 
When the chef returned to France, he made his 'invention' popular there too. This type of pastry is referred to in French as La viennoiserie, meaning - Viennese pastries.  (Vienna is the capital city of Austria).

Symbol of Turks (Ottoman Army)    French breakfast

Above is the symbol that inspired the invention of the croissant.

30.  Officially, it is said that France produces 365 different types of cheese!  That is to say, a different cheese for each day of the year.  However, it is believed that there are even more than this!
A few names are - Camembert, Roquefort, Brie, Beaufort, Emmental de Savoie.  The list contains hundreds of names............

31.  France has won the Football World Cup only once - in 1998.  The French football team is nicknamed Les Bleus (The Blues).  The French word for 'football' has been 'borrowed' from the English language - le football
If you like, you can just say 'le foot.' 
'Allez Les Bleus!'

French football

32.   France produces many cars.  The makes are Renault, Peugeot and Citroën.

33.  In the south of France, close to the Pyrenees Mountains, there is a little town called Lourdes. Millions of pilgrims from all over the world visit this place every year. 
Inside a cave beside the town, there is a very special spring of water, discovered by a young girl called Marie-Bernarde Soubirous in 1858.  

In a vision, she was told by Mary, the mother of Jesus, to dig in a certain place inside the cave.  When she dug, she discovered the spring of water.  
It is believed that the water is very special and that it has miraculous healing powers.  It is said that many sick people have been cured by touching the water.  Every day, sick people visit this place in the hope that the water will cure them.
The young girl who discovered the spring is now called
Saint Bernadette.  Be
low, is her photo. 
To learn more click HERE.
Saint Bernadette
(Image from Wikimedia Commons, source: Lourdes Rosary Shrine)

34.  Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) is a national heroine of France.  She was born in Domrémy, Northern France, in 1412.  During this period, the English were invading Northern France.  In fact, even Joan's village had been attacked by English soldiers.
Joan said that God, saints and angels spoke to her in visions and told her to lead the French soldiers in their battle against the English.  She visited the future French King, Charles VII, and he believed her.  Joan dressed as a soldier and led the French army into battle over a period of two years.

She was captured at the age of nineteen years.  On 30 May 1431, she was executed by the English in the city of Rouen, Normandy.
She was made a saint in 1920.  She is also known as The Maid of Orléans (or La Pucelle in French.)
Below, is a portrait of Joan dressed as a soldier
and her signature.

Joan of Arc Signature of Joan of Arc
To learn more about Joan of Arc click HERE
35.  Some famous French painters are -
16th Century, François Clouet and Jean Clouet.
17th Century, Nicolas Poussin.  
18th Century, Antoine Watteau.   
19th Century, Eugène Delacroix, Pierre-Auguste Renoir,
Henri Matisse,  Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, 

Henri-Marie Toulouse-Lautrec.  
20th Century,  Jacques Villon.

painting by Toulouse-LautrecPainting by Watteaupainting by Matissepainting by Renoir
(Paintings from left to right by Toulouse-Lautrec, Watteau, Matisse and Renoir.)

36.   Mary Queen of Scots was half French.  Her mother was Marie de Guise. 
Mary was sent to France at the age of five and married the future King Francis II in the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in 1558.  She became Queen Consort of France in 1559 when she was seventeen years old.   Mary loved France and the French language.  The last letter she wrote, just a few hours before her death, was in French. 
(Below is Mary's signature and a portrait of Mary and her French husband.  Portrait by Francois Clouet, 1558.)

Signature Mary Queen of Scots    Mary Queen of Scots and Francis II
(Portrait from Wikimedia Commons.  Image of signature from English

37.   The French King Francis I was the grandfather of Mary Queen of Scots' husband.  He was nicknamed 'Le Roi Grand Nez' (King Big Nose) because he had such a large nose! 
King Big Nose
(Image from Wikimedia Commons.  Portrait by Jean Clouet, visible at Le Musée du Louvre.)
He bought the famous painting Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and hung it and other works of art in his bathroom at Fontainebleau Palace.  When taking a bath in the palace,  Mary Queen of Scots was known to particularly admire the painting!  
  C''''''''''''''''est magnifique!La Joconde  

38.  There is a story that the word 'marmalade' comes from the French words 'Marie est malade' (Mary is ill).  Whenever Mary Queen of Scots was unwell, she liked to eat orange jam to make her feel better.

39.  In French history, the heir to the French throne was always called Le Dauphin - which also means 'dolphin.'

40.  Denim is a fabric that came originally from the French town of Nîmes (de Nîmes).

41.  Le Moulin Rouge (meaning- The Red Mill) is a very famous cabaret club in Paris.  It was built in 1889.  It is recognised by an imitation red windmill on its roof.
Le Moulin Rouge 
(Image from Wikimedia Commons, by author Arpingstone.)

42.  The cancan is a very energetic and acrobatic dance that first appeared in Parisian ballrooms in the 1830s.  It is performed by ladies dressed in frilly skirts who have to kick their legs high, perform cartwheels and the splits.  The ladies squeal and screech at moments as they dance. 
The word cancan means 'scandalous gossip'.  In fact, the dance has always been considered most 'scandalous' because the dancers lift their petticoats and show their legs.

(Painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: La Troupe de Mlle. Eglantine, 1896.  Image from Wikimedia Commons.)

To hear the traditional cancan music composed by Jacques Offenbach in 1858, click on the button and go to Track 40. 
french music french music

43.  The two most famous cancan dancers were Jane Avril and La Goulue.  They were regular performers at Le Moulin Rouge. Below is a photo of La Goulue.  Her real name was Louise Weber and she lived from 1829 to 1866.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons.)
The famous artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec painted the two famous dancers. In fact, he painted many pictures of life at Le Moulin Rouge.

La Goulue by Toulouse-Lautrecpainting by Toulouse-LautrecJane Avril by Toulouse-Lautrec

44.   A very famous singer from Paris was Edith Piaf. 
She was very small and always performed wearing a black dress.  It was said that she looked like a little sparrow, so she was given the nickname 'La Môme Piaf' which means 'little sparrow' in Parisian slang.  Her real name was Edith Gassion and she was born in 1915.  She died in 1963.  She sang in Parisian nightclubs, including Le Moulin Rouge.

Edith Piaf
(Image from Wikipedia, source  Copyright holder United Press International/Bettman Newsphotos. )

To hear Edith Piaf singing her two most famous songs,
click on the button and go to Tracks 41 and 42.
french musicfrench music

45.  Le Tour de France is the most famous cycling race in the world.  It is held every year over a three-week period and began in 1903.  At first, the race was planned to last for five weeks, but this was considered too demanding for the cyclists.
The race takes place in stages and is for teams.  Every day, a member of each team rides for a stage.  The speed and performance of each cyclist's stage is recorded.  At the end of the three-week period, all of the individual results are calculated to decide which team is the winner.  The stages take place in France and neighbouring countries.   

46.  The tradition of the white wedding dress began in France.  Anne of Brittany is believed to be the first bride to choose a white gown when she married Louis XII in 1499.  Then, in 1558, Mary Queen of Scots wore a white gown at her French wedding to the Dauphin.     
Anne de Bretagne 
(Image from Wikimedia Commons.)
Above is a portrait showing Anne de Bretagne (Anne of Brittany), born in Nantes in 1477 and who died in 1514.

47.   Le Réveillon de Noël is Christmas Eve dinner.  At around midnight, French families eat a big, special meal to celebrate the very beginning of Christmas Day. 

 French children leave their shoes out in front of the fireplace in the hope that le Père Noël (Father Christmas) will fill them with treats and will place gifts on and around the Christmas tree (le sapin de Noël) for when they awake on Christmas morning.   

(To find out more about Christmas in France CLICK HERE).

Many French children also believe in a Christmas bogeyman called Père Fouettard who visits any children who have been naughty!  He carries a whip, is dressed in black and his face is the colour of coal.  He brings no presents. 
Pere Fouettard
48.  During the first days of January, a special cake is prepared called La Galette des Rois (King Cake) to celebrate the Three Kings who followed the star to find the Baby Jesus (L'Enfant Jésus.) This occasion is called  L' Épiphanie.
Inside the cake, a special trinket (une fève) is hidden. 
On the 6 January parties take place in France and the cake is served.  The lucky person who receives the trinket becomes the 'king' or 'queen' of the party.

49.  Every May, there is a famous film festival in the southern seaside city of Cannes.  It began in 1939.  Lots of films are watched by panels of judges who decide which films and which actors should receive an award.  The most prestigious award given is the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) for the best film. 

Some famous French actors are -Brigitte Bardot, Sarah Bernhardt, Marcel Marceau, Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Jacques Tati, Gerard Depardieu and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

The city of Cannes is actually twinned with Kensington and Chelsea!

50.  The most famous mountain in France is Mont Blanc, meaning White Mountain.  It is also known as La Dame Blanche, meaning 'The White Lady.'  It has a summit 4,800 metres high and is the highest mountain of the Alps.  The mountain stands between Italy and France and its summit officially marks the border between the two countries.  Inside the mountain there is a tunnel running between France and Italy.  The tunnel is very busy with traffic.  It is 11.6 km long and was opened in 1965. 
(Below is a photo of Mont Blanc, from Wikimedia Commons, by Tinelot Wittermans.)

Mont Blanc

51.  The Statue of Liberty (La Statue de la Liberté) was a gift from France to America in 1886.

The internal part of the statue was designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel - the designer of the Eiffel Tower!   Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was the sculptor.

52.  In the south of France, near to Cannes, there is a town called Grasse and it is very famous for growing flowers.  Every year there are two important flower festivals there - La Fête du Jasmin and The International Rose Festival.

Until the Sixteenth Century, Grasse was a manufacturer of leather gloves but when a fashion for 'perfumed gloves' began in the 1600s, the town began to produce perfume too.  The flowers that grow abundantly in the area were put to good use and the town became the most important perfume-producer in the world.  Nowadays, the flowers of Grasse are grown for some of the famous perfume companies, including Chanel.  Twenty-seven tons of jasmine are harvested in the Grasse area each year.

Grasse perfumeGrasse perfume
(Images from Wikimedia Commons. On the left: a bronze statue of a perfume seller from Grasse.  On the right: A photo of a street in the town of Grasse.)

To read about the Chanel perfume and fashion company,
click HERE.

53.   In Avignon, a town in the south of France, there are the ruins of a very famous bridge.  The bridge is known as Le Pont d'Avignon or Le Pont Saint-Bénézet.  The bridge was built across the River Rhône between the years 1177 and 1185.  Originally, it was a very long bridge standing on many arches.  It was about 900 metres in length. 
Eventually, the bridge fell into a very poor condition and now only four arches remain.

Bridge of Avignon
(Image from Wikimedia Commons, by Chimigi.)
The story of the bridge:-  
A shepherd boy called Bénézet saw angels who told him to build a bridge across the dangerous river where many people had drowned. 
So, obeying the angels, the shepherd-boy lifted a very large and heavy stone all by himself and declared that it was the first stone of the bridge that he was going to build. 
The local people were very impressed and decided to help build the bridge.  They believed that the boy's strength, when lifting the heavy stone, had come from God.

The shepherd-boy is now known as Saint Bénézet and many Christian pilgrims visit the bridge that he built. 

Bénézet died young from exhaustion, at the age of 18 years.  He did not live to see the completed bridge.  The bridge took very many years to construct and was completed a year or so
after his death.   Bénézet's feast day is 14 April.

Saint Bénézet is the patron saint of architects because of the great bridge that he built.  He is often seen in images as a shepherd boy carrying a heavy stone.  (Below)
Saint Benezet
(Image from Horizon Provence.  La bannière de la confrérie des portefaix.)

Bénézet's tomb is in the Church of Saint-Didier, Avignon.

There is a famous French song about people dancing on the bridge.  It is called Sur le pont d'Avignon. 

54. The tallest bridge in the world is in the south of France.  It is called Le Viaduc de Millau and it was opened in December, 2004.  It crosses over the valley of the River Tarn and it belongs to the motorway called Autoroute A75.  It has four lanes.  At one part, it is 343 metres tall (1,125 ft.) and slightly higher than the Eiffel Tower! 
It was designed by the French engineer Michel Virlogeux and the British architect Norman Foster.

Tallest bridge in the world
(Photo by Mike Lehmann.  Wikimedia Creative Commons)

 55.  Underneath Paris, there is a very famous and vast network of secret tunnels and passageways called Les Carrières de Paris.  The only part where the public can visit is called Les Catacombes de Paris.   Otherwise, it is forbidden to enter the tunnels because they are considered too dangerous.

Photo of a secret tunnel by Jérôme Bon

  There are some adventurous people who go exploring the tunnels in secret.  The name for these secret explorers is Les Cataphiles.
The underground tunnels were originally used as mines and quarries  because, for centuries, the Paris ground was mined for its stone. 
The earliest known Paris mines are mentioned in a piece of text from the year 1292!

There is a special group of inspectors who check the safety of the underground tunnels and spaces, so that the buildings on the streets above will not collapse.  This group of inspectors was formed in 1777 and their work is still very important today! They are officially called L'Inspection Générale des Carrières

56.   A very famous bridge is Le Pont du Gard in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Southern France.  It is a small part of a very long aqueduct (about 50km long) that crosses the River Gard (or Gardon), so that at that part it looks like a bridge crossing the river. 
It was built by the ancient Romans around two thousand years ago.  
Its purpose was to transport water along a 50km journey from the spring called Fontaine d'Eure to the Roman town of Nîmes.

pont du gard pont du gard
At the part where the aqueduct crosses the river, it seems very high, on three levels. 
Above, you can see two photos of Le Pont du Gard.  The black and white image is from the 1850s!
It took around 1000 workers approximately three years to complete the 50km of aqueduct. 

When it was complete, every day it carried fifty thousand gallons of spring water to a big well in Nîmes.  The well was called the Castellum.  You can see a picture of the well, below.
pont du gard castellum