The 2,000-year-old aqueduct called the Pont du Gard is one of the most magnificent sites in Provence; I never get tired of gazing at it, tromping around on it, photographing it. (I've yet to kayak the Gard River underneath it but hope to soon.) So I can only imagine how breathtaking my favorite Roman relic will be when she’s all lit up with video, light, flame and fireworks in a new evening sound-and-light show called Ludolux. (To see a video from last year, click here.) The theme of this year's show is the human passion for games of all types, from the Olympics to duels to video games. The show will be presented four times in June, on Friday and Saturday evenings: June 8, 9, 15 and 16. Showtime is 10:30 p.m or at dusk. But definitely arrive early as there are some "animations" before the main event, probably starting around 7 p.m.
If you’re thinking that this will be like your kids running around the backyard with flashlights or sparklers, think again: Ludolux was created by Groupe F, the internationally acclaimed pyrotechnic group known for shows at the Eiffel Tower, Versailles and the Olympics. If you want a smile, have a look at their website; their work is over-the-top wonderful. I think the Romans would love it!
The Pont du Gard site will be open all day, as usual, but separate tickets are required. Seating will be on the right bank of the river so if you arrive on the left bank, you must be in by 9:30 pm in order to cross the bridge; the gates to the Pont du Gard park will close at 9:30. Bring cushions, chairs and blankets or you'll be sitting on the ground; the shops on site also sell seats if you forget. ''And don't forget to bring also warm wears,'' my contact at the Pont du Gard sweetly tells me.
Tickets for Ludolux range from €15.10 to €21.10. They may be purchased on line here or at the Pont du Gard box office at any time. They're also available at FNAC, Virgin, Carrefour, Cultura and France Billet. Children under six are free and group rates are available (for group rates call 04 66 37 51 10). If you have an annual pass to the Pont du Gard, you get a discount.
So what about dinner? Casual food will be sold on site or you can bring a picnic in with you. There's also a restaurant called Les Terrasses that serves excellent Mediterranean cuisine (04 66 63 91 37) but I'm told they're already fully booked for dinner on those evenings. They may have space at lunch.
For historical info on the Pont du Gard, click here. For more info on the Ludolux show or on visiting Pont du Gard at other times, click here. For info on Groupe F, click here. And finally, here's a number you can call to get info and yes, they speak English: 04 66 37 50 99.
If you want to catch a Groupe F fireworks show at another time, here are some upcoming ones in Provence:
July 7: Martigues
July 14: Martigues
July 14: Arles
And if you'll be up near Paris, you can experience Groupe F at the Chateau de Versailles, where there will be ''Royal Fireworks'' on June 22, 28, 29, July 5, July 6 and ''Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes'' (a musical fountain display) on Saturdays from June 16 to September 7. More info on the Chateau de Versailles is here.
Photos: Three from last year at the Pont du Gard; one from December 31st, 1999. All photos © Groupe F-Thierry Nava.