Amongst the churches, cathedrals and palaces that are
heralded as some of the finest architecture found across France, there’s also
one other thing that helps France’s architecture stand out – its bridges.
Not only are they functional, but many of France’s bridges
are stunning examples of ancient and historic architecture, and are also an
experience to cross. Here’s just five of the bridges you should see, if not
cross, in France.
Pont du Gard
Perhaps the most famous bridge in France, the Pont du Gard
is not only a much-loved landmark but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
meaning it has been acknowledged as important to the country’s culture and
heritage. Described as a “technical as well as an artistic masterpiece” by
UNESCO, the bridge was originally built to allow the Nimes aqueduct to cross
the Gard river by the Romans in the 1st century AD. Spanning three
levels over a height of 50m, this striking structure is a definitive site to
visit if you’re staying at our villas in Languedoc.
Brittany is renowned for its variety of architecture across
its range of coastal and countryside towns and villages, with the Morlaix Viaduct
being a prime example of just how stunning the region’s architecture can be.
Made up of several tall, impressive arches, the 19th century viaduct
is found right in the heart of Morlaix, making for a striking backdrop as you
wander through the town’s charming streets. The only way to cross the bridge,
however, is to take a train, as a train runs along the top level of the bridge.
Pont du Diable, Ceret
When completed in 1341, the Pont du Diable was heralded as a
legendary bridge, as it was at that point the largest arch bridge in the world.
Unfortunately, it held that title for just 15 years, however, it is still an
impressive sight to behold even today. Translating into English as the Devil’s
Bridge, its name alone was enough to scare locals into refusing to cross the
bridge for fear the devil would claim their souls. Located in the town of
Ceret, this is a landmark not to be missed if you’re staying near the Spanish
Pont Napoleon, Luz-Saint-Sauveur
Measuring 63 metres high, the Pont Napoleon dates from 1863
and is also located near the Spanish border, in the town of Luz-Saint-Sauveur.
Offering views of the surrounding Pyrenees mountains, Pont Napoleon spans a
breath-taking gorge with a drop of 90 metres beneath it. Its location has meant
that the bridge is now a popular bungee-jumping spot, offering the ultimate
thrill in a picturesque location.
Pont Vieux, Orthez
Measuring just 11 metres high, what the Pont Vieux in Orthez
lacks in height it certainly makes up for in grandeur. Constructed in the 13th
century, the bridge can be found at the heart of the old town in Orthez, in
southwestern France, crossing the River Pau. Image: Tiberio Frascari, available under Creative Commons