The Bridge of Avignon

The Saint Bénézet Bridge, often called the Bridge of Avignon, is one of the most famous monuments in the world thanks to its song sung by children of all countries.
Did you know ? The people of Avignon did not dance on the bridge, its narrowness allowing neither farandole nor sarabande. On the other hand, the formation of the islands and in particular that of the Barthelasse, developed an intense picnic activity and taverns which made it possible to transform the banks of the Rhône into a place of relaxation and leisure from the 19th century. It was therefore at that time that we were dancing, not on, but ... under the bridge.

The first works relating to the Saint Bénezet Bridge date back to the 12th century. The Bridge of Avignon takes its name from a young shepherd, Bénezet, who descended in 1177 from the Ardèche mountains. He said he was sent by God to build a bridge in Avignon. At first, he was taken for a madman, but he succeeded in the challenge launched by the prelate to load a huge stone on his shoulders and throw it into the Rhône, said to be helped by divine intervention, and even by bathed angels of golden light ...

The Bridge of Avignon was damaged and rebuilt several times following wars and the Rhône floods. Reconstruction work ceased in the 17th century. The Pont d'Avignon now has only 4 arches out of the 22 of its origin. There is no season to visit the Pont d'Avignon but a sunset visit is recommended! Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, it welcomes no less than 400,000 visitors a year.


© Jeff Habourdin