Many people have heard of the Avignon Bridge, especially through the French world famous song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” that is taught to the little ones. However, not everyone had the opportunity to discover this monument. The following is an overview of its history and legend and types of visits and services offered on the site.
The Avignon Bridge: its history and legend
Today classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Avignon Bridge was built over the Rhone in the late twelfth century and completed in 1185. Designed to link the two banks of this great river, the bridge extended approximately 900 meters and had initially 22 arches. Wars and river floods caused the deterioration of the bridge. After several reconstructions, it was finally abandoned in the seventeenth century, with only four arches and the Saint-Nicolas chapel left.
It is often referred to as the Avignon Bridge, but its real name is the Saint-Benézet Bridge. This historical monument is named after a young shepherd named Benézet who, according to legend, came down from the Ardèche Mountains in 1177 to reach Avignon with the mission to bring a message of God to the people of Avignon which says he had to build a bridge on the Rhone River. Even today, the locals fervently believe that Benézet received divine help when he carried a huge stone to throw it in the river. Although he really existed, Benézet has not had the opportunity to see the completion of the bridge, as he died a year before.
Multimedia visit of the Avignon Bridge: discover the bridge differently
The Avignon Bridge is accessible to all types of visitors, little ones and grown-ups, tourists and residents, in groups or alone. Today, visitors can only see the remains of the bridge, with only four of its 22 initial arches and the chapel dedicated to Saint-Nicolas. However, with modern technology, it is now possible to visit the bridge differently in a playful and interactive way through a 3D model of the bridge available on tablets, showing its original greatness, accompanied by a historical reconstitution and an audio guide available in French, English and Italian, also suitable for children.
Visit suitable for people with reduced mobility (PRM) and visually impaired
Currently, we can say that the bridge is accessible for everyone. Since October 2015, with the collaboration of various partners, PRM can now access the site thanks to the renovation of the ramp and the cobbled way of the bridge so that they are wheelchair accessible. In addition, an audio guide with keys specifically dedicated to the visually impaired is also available on the site.
The Avignon bridge : your hotel in Avignon