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.) And my favorite Roman relic is even more spectacular when she’s all lit up with video, light, flame and fireworks as she is each summer during a popular evening sound-and-light show called “Les Féeries du Pont’’ (Fairies of the Bridge).
This year’s show is called Ulysses in Wonderland. It will be presented four times in June, on Friday and Saturday evenings: June 7, 8, 14 and 15, 2013. 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.
Once again, the producer is Groupe F, the internationally acclaimed pyrotechnicians 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. My best advice is sit as close to the bridge itself as possible. ''And don't forget to bring also warm wears,'' my contact at the Pont du Gard sweetly tells me.
Tickets for the Les Féeries show range from €14 to €20. You can buy them online 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. Parking is free.
Still not sure? You can see another video from a previous year, click here.
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). A special Féeries du Pont menu will be offered at Les Terrasses but the restaurant fills up very quickly so reserve early.
My pals at the Pont du Gard also wanted me to let you know that on July 11 and 12, they'll be hosting “Lives au Pont,’’ an electro-pop music festival For the third year, the French group IAM will be the headliner. Other bands performing are Woodkid, Asaf Avidan and Jamie Lidell. For info, click here.
For all the info on the Féeries du Pont show or on visiting Pont du Gard at other times, click here. For historical info, click here. To contact the Pont du Gard directly: firstname.lastname@example.org or 04 66 37 50 99....and yes, they speak English.
If you want to catch a Groupe F fireworks show at another time, go to their site here and click Rendezvous to see the 2013 schedule. After Les Féeries du Pont, they’ll be staging shows in Provence on the following dates:
July 5: Avignon
July 6: Martigues
August 8: Port St. Louis
August 17: Port St. Louis
Finally, if you plan to be in Paris this summer, you can get a taste of Groupe F at the Chateau de Versailles, where they're once again staging their musical fountain display called ''Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes.'' It's on certain evenings until September 14 and the schedule is on the Versailles website here.