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“"An unexpected delight"”
Review of Barbegal Watermill

Barbegal Watermill
Ranked #30 of 53 things to do in Arles
Attraction details
Reviewed 23 October 2014

We shared our jeep with two other people and the tour guide (Camargue tours) was fabulous. Not only did we walk along the Watermill adjacent to olive trees but the tour guide was extremely familiar with all the history of this 2000+ year old aqueduct. On the way to other hill side towns he stopped and picked wild spices and herbs for us to enjoy the scents. A stop at a busy but amazing market place in St. Remy and a quick look at the hospital (in Glanum) that Van Gogh was sent to after loping off his ear lobe! A ride up to the top of the mountain (where most tourists don't go) offered a remarkable view of the north and south.

Date of experience: October 2014
1  Thank Frank T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5 - 9 of 22 reviews

Reviewed 22 September 2014

If you are new to Europe and visiting this area, get yourself to the Pont du Gard to see one of the world's impressive engineering accomplishments. It is the sister system to the west of Roman Gaul and the aqueduct system of which Barbegal is a part. Take your imagination with you when you travel to the village of Fontvieille where the mills used to be; otherwise you will not be able to envision the vastness of what was once...
I often take visitors here, have them climb atop the dual aqueducts and peer off towards the Alpilles Mountains and the sources of water, ask them to imagine tons of water moving faster and faster down towards Arles until it reached Barbegal. Then we turn west to the facing ridge and the creve cut into the rock where the waters were forced through and out towards a gigantic basin. Down the westward slope were the mills. The waters irrigated the basin crops which when harvested were crushed at the grinding wheels of the mills.
Go there, and let your mind imagine.

Date of experience: May 2014
3  Thank vincent13520
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2014

Being an Engineer, I found this one of the most interesting sites in France. Unluckily there are no informative signs on site and you need to figure it all out on site or read it up on the internet before hand. Definitely a site to visit for any scientifically minded tourist. Some of the other reviews give more détails of the site that I will not repeat. Take time on the site to explore everything, but be carefull as some areas are dangerous. One day the National Government may do something to restore this site when they realise that historic sites are more than churches!

Date of experience: August 2013
8  Thank OnVacation00Again
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2013

If you're interested in Roman remains, this mill site is a must-see and, as it's off the usual tourist routes, it's likely to be quiet. As well as the mill, there are aqueduct remains both sides of the road and you can trace odd bits of the Arles aqueduct through the woods and scrub to the west of the rock cutting above the mill itself. Just to the east in the village of Paradou, there are other aqueduct remains in the museum car park on the D17 west of the village. These include the foundations of a bridge over the aqueduct that carried the Via Aurelia and, a little distance away, a masonry collection basin. If you visit the mill by car and park in the little layby just by the aqueduct, it might be advisable to leave someone with the vehicle. Both my car and the Spanish one behind it had their back windows smashed but, thankfully, nothing was stolen. Apparently it's not exactly unheard of and is reckoned to be young men having 'fun' by targeting foreign registrations with a catapult from a moving car. I have to say that all the local people I met following this unfortunate incident were very sympathetic and did all they could to help, and the Gendarmerie Nationale at Les-Baux-de-Provence could not have been kinder or more professional. And thank heavens for insurance!

Date of experience: September 2013
3  Thank johng-mannin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 March 2013

We had to visit this site after seeing the model in Musee de l'Arles et de la Provence Antiques. Although noted in guidebooks with detailed directions to the site, it is not a typical tourist attraction. There is no curation of the site other than sign posts to get you there - just bring your imagination. The site is just east of D82/D33 on CR8 Chemin de Caparon for you GPS users. Parking is only a dirt pull-off along an olive orchard. Remains of the aqueduct to the mills can readily be seen on either side of the road. A path along the south side of the aqueduct ruins leads to site of the watermills.

Walk on the aqueduct and through the channel cut in the rocky outcrop and you will be standing above the watermills site. Very few ruins remain. Need your imagination to imagine the Roman industrial site powered by mills that ground enough grain to feed 10 to 12 thousand people/day.

Before the cut, the aqueduct flow was split by a hydraulic structure, diverting flow to Arles and to the watermills.

Exciting site - for history buffs and for those who appreciate the genius that was Roman engineering!

Date of experience: June 2012
6  Thank WC-Travelers-75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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