Pont St-Bénézet, or Pont d’Avignon, Avignon, France

Bridge seen from the bluff

If I were French, I would know this bridge from a famous nursery rhyme, “Sur le Pont d’Avignon.” Since I was raised in the U.S., though, the only bridge I know from childhood songs is London Bridge. However, my lack of familiarity didn’t stop me from admiring Pont d’Avignon, or, rather, its remains.

This bridge was constructed in the 12th century upon orders by Pastor Bénézet who experienced not one, but three, saintly visions telling him to build it. He finally took the hint, only to have the bridge continually damaged by sieges and the Rhône’s raging waters.

The not-so-mighty bridge spanned the Rhône and connected Avignon with Villeneuve-lès-Avignon before it was partially washed away in the 17th century.

We didn’t bother paying the €4.50/person to walk onto the stunted bridge, but it’s open most days from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

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