Pont St-Bénézet

Pont d'Avignon, Boulevard de la Ligne, 84000 Avignon, France

The Pont St-Bénézet is so famous it even has its own song, “Sur Le Pont d’Avignon” (as the bridge is more commonly known). The last crossing on the Rhône between Lyon and the Mediterranean Sea, the 3,000-foot bridge was built between 1177 and 1185, using similar engineering to the Pont du Gard (one of the world’s most famous Roman aqueducts, just up the road). As legend has it, the process began when a young shepherd named Bénézet heard voices telling him to build the bridge, then carried a boulder down from the mountains and threw it into the water to lay the foundation. The bridge was later destroyed during a siege in 1226 and rebuilt in 1234 with 22 stone arches. Due to flooding, all that remains of it today are four arches, but it’s worth a visit for historical purposes. You can purchase one ticket for entry to both this UNESCO World Heritage site and the adjacent Palais des Papes.

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Admiring Avignon from Pont Saint Bénézet

We spent the majority of our time in Avignon marveling at Place du Palais, a UNESCO World Heritage Site complex made up of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms d’Avignon, the Palais des Papes (Pope’s Palace), and Pont Saint Bénézet. These are the attractions that lure tourists behind the walls of this ancient city.

Sur le Pont d’Avignon L'on y danse, l'on y danse

Both our kids learnt this song in their Montessori class - well - one of their teacher’s was French. A very cute song and ever since we became familiar with it we were itching to visit the bridge in Avignon. During our trip to Provence it was the first stop we made. The bridge itself is very old - dating back to the 15th century and it spans the Rhone just outside the old city of Avignon, and opposite the Palais des Papes. It was a chilly March and the Rhone was placid - but we were so excited to walk on the bridge - which is now only half its original span - that my wife and younger daughter broke out into a dance on what was left of Pont d’Avignon...because the song goes like this.. Sur le Pont d’Avignon L’on y danse, l’on y danse Sur le Pont d’Avignon L’on y danse tous en rond translated to On the bridge of Avignon We all dance there, we all dance there On the bridge of Avignon We all dance there in a ring

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