Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard: hotel project for 2013
The Pont du Gard has had a very good tourist season with an increase in visitor number. But in order to strengthen its attraction and to hold the influx of visitors, the site clearly needs some form of accommodation.
Visitors are staying for an increasingly longer period of time at the site: an average of three hours in comparison with only one ten years ago. Museums, restaurants, cinemas - everything has been done to prolong their visit.
Yet the absence of accommodation at the site penalises organisers and discourages those who want to benefit from the beauty of the site. «Everybody sees the problem» states Paolo Toeschi, Pont du Gard managing director, «people on seminars expect to be accommodated on site as it’s more practical and we have no solution for them.» The objective, therefore, is to provide 250-300 beds on site which would also help to prolong the tourist season.
The crux of the problem is, for once, not money (not yet anyway) but the land. A lot of the land around the bridge is wooded and often protected. Other plots are classified as flood zones. The Conseil Général own 160 acres around the bridge which is managed by the Pont du Gard. The rest will have to be found in the lands belonging to surrounding communities: Vers-Pont-du-Gard, Castillon and Remoulins.
Once the land problem is resolved, developers and hotels groups will be called upon. «Investors are already blocking our switchboard» laughs Claude Rezza, the Director of the departemental committee for tourism.
Officially all establishments are welcome but higher quality is prefered. There is also talk of a gastronomic restaurant. Now it’s up to the politicians to negotiate. But locally, there doesn’t seem to be much opposition. Everybody understands that the Pont du Gard is not just a monument but a serious economic feature of the region.
Source: Gard Eco (economic newspaper in the Gard) To read the full version of this article in French please go to www.gard-eco.com/pont-du-gard-un-projet-hotelier-a-l-horizon-2013.html
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The sun is out, bank holidays are in, we all want to go and explore, although this can sometimes be ruined by the dreaded mistral (p14). But let’s not spoil things. How about a visit to St Jean du Fos (p20) or if you’re feeling more urban, a nice shopping day in Avignon with a healthy tea break (p23) or a visit to an art gallery in Nîmes? (p17) If you’re feeling extra energetic like me, how about entering the Pont du Gard race on 30 June to raise money for a fantastic local charity? Also in this issue, the remarkable story of a simulated space mission by Claire (p18) and a very funny article by Bernice on her pathological inability (or so she says) to learn languages (p22).