Pont Saint Benezet – The Bridge of Avignon

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Pont d’Avignon at dawn
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Pont d’Avignon
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Pont d’Avignon
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Pont d’Avignon
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Pont d’Avignon

As we were having breakfast our ship was sailing into Avignon.  We passed by the famous  Pont Saint Benezet – The bridge of Avignon.  This bridge was built in the 12 century and is made famous by the song – Sur le Pont d’Avignon.but it is better known as the Pont d’Avignon on which one dances, as the song says. The dance actually took place under the bridge and not on the bridge.

Chorus

Sur le Pont d’Avignon
On y danse, On y danse
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
On y danse tous en rond

On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there, we all dance there
On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there in a circle

1st Verse

Les beaux messieurs font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça.

The fine gentlemen go like this (bow)
And then again like this

2nd Verse

Les belles dames font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça.

The beautiful ladies go like this (curtsy)
And then again like that

3rd Verse

Les filles font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça

The young girls go like this (salute)
And then like that

4th Verse

Les musiciens font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça.

The musicians go like this (they all bow to women)
And then like that

If you type in the “song of the bridge of Avignon” several U tubes will come up and you can sing along also.

 

The bridge is known for its amazing construction.  Twenty-two arches spanning 915 meters / 3,000 feet ! The bridge has been washed away many times by the floods of the Rhone. The bridge is Classified World Heritage by UNESCO. Today there are only 4 arches left of the 22.

According to the legend, the bridge was built in the 12th century by a young shepherd from Ardèche – Bénezet – who heard voices telling him to build a bridge in Avignon. The bridge was completed in 1185, creating the only place to cross the Rhône between Lyon and the Mediterranean sea. The bridge originally spanned approximately 900 meters and had 22 arches. It was dismantled in 1226, then rebuilt. It was later washed away several times by flood waters and rebuilt until it was abandoned in the 17th century. Today, all that remains are four arches and a chapel dedicated to Saint Nicolas.

Muriel and I didn’t get a chance to dance on the bridge as after the tour of the of the Palace of the Popes we decided to grab a coffee and a gluten free cake at one of the many cafes.

As we passed by the bridge they played the song over the intercom.  We all sang along, even those of us who knew hardly any French.

 

 

Next : The Palace of the Popes

 

 

 

 

 

8 Replies to “Pont Saint Benezet – The Bridge of Avignon”

  1. Amazing! How the heck were they able to built such a magnificent structure without modern equipment like cranes etc.! BTW I never realized that the song “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” actually referred to a real bridge!!! So thanks for all this history, so wonderfully depicted in pictures and words!!

    Liked by 1 person

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