Sur Le Pont D’Avignon

Despite what the traditional French song says, the dance actually took place under the bridge. To be honest, for all that it is famous and immortalised in a song, the bridge didn’t really impress me that much. To give the bridge it’s correct title it is Le Pont Saint-Bénézet.

Historians have argued whether or not the Romans managed to span the River Rhone between Avignon and Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. There is evidence both for and against. However, it is known that the original bridge with a span of 900 metres (980 yards) was built during the years 1177 to 1185, but that bridge was destroyed in 1226 by Louis VIII of France during the siege of Avignon. Around 1234 work started on rebuilding the bridge and it was used until it fell into a state of disrepair in the 17th century.

In 1644 the bridge lost four arches, then a flood in 1669 swept away most of the structure. Today only four arches remain.

Le Pont d'Avignon

Avignon is a great place to wander around with quaint narrow passageways, shuttered windows on the houses, some amazing architecture and the Palais des Papes. In English the Papal Palace. But once again I was disappointed.

The Pope's Palace

The palace has been turned into a museum. Apart from the walls there are not many of the original features left as you will see in this next series of photographs. But here’s the rub. The very few original features left, you are not allowed to photograph. But the building is large and impressive.

From the cloisters you look out to one of the towers. The other tower, the bell tower doesn’t even have the original bell. It was replaced some time ago

The Tower

Nice statues. I thought maybe they were off the walls or from inside a church somewhere. Nope! Modern day made.

Stone Figures

To be honest I gave up thinking about the history behind the building. Everywhere we went our guide kept telling us things were not original or the original artefacts had been removed. So I stopped listening to the guide and just went around looking for photographs of the more impressive features that I could take.

Grand Audience Hall

Of course, no tripods allowed and in low light that makes for difficult hand-held shots. You just can’t get away from people so they are included as well. Some look like blurred ghosts because my shutter speed was so slow.

Modern Art

Back into the daylight and the heat. It was hot, hot, hot, hotter than Arles. So wandering around some of the narrow passages in the shade was a bonus.

The Passage

The locals have shutters on the windows, keeps the heat out, whilst letting some light in. Can you see that little stone plaque bottom left of the photograph. The building’s not that impressive, but it was here that the Montgolfier brothers who are best known as the inventors of the hot air balloon made their first experiments in 1782.

The House Of Invention

Earlier I mentioned the architecture. Look at the theatre. I would have loved to have a walk inside but it was a strict “non” from the gatekeeper.


Tourists are everywhere, heck I’m one myself…and where there are tourists there are tourist shops. Surprisingly, this one a bit off the beaten tracks did have some items at reasonable prices

Tourist Shops

And of course, you can’t get away from the inevitable painting seller. Don’t know if he painted them but I wasn’t tempted after seeing the way the one worked in Arles.

For Sale

Well that’s it from Avignon. I spent a lot of time on this visit waiting for people to move out of my line of sight so I could get a photograph but in the end it was impossible.

16 thoughts on “Sur Le Pont D’Avignon

  1. The Avignon trip was worth it as far as the experience and the photos go. The buildings are beautiful but I will always think that the photos of the outstanding buildings of Wales are unsurpassed for their beauty.

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        1. I doubt I will be in that area again, Yvonne. To be honest I hate flying now. Not so much the flying but the hassle at airports and gone is the customer service that you used to get from well known airlines.

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          1. I think it is a good thing that you don’t want to fly. I’d be petrified to fly in this day and age because of how everything has changed. I see a fair amount of problems with airlines that makes its way into the news here in the states. It seems that common decency and rational judgementhas escaped many people.

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            1. Oh that’s for sure Yvonne. You only have to see the mad rush to the gate when they announce the flight, But I blame the airlines because they allow these hand held suitcases on now. People stretch it too far and bring the biggest size they think they will get away with. We’ve all got a seat but if you don’t get your suitcase in the overhead locker it goes in the hold, then you have to wait at baggage reclaim. I only travel with a camera bag on the plane. my suitcase goes in the hold. Airlines should enforce their size and weight policy for cabin baggage, but they very rarely do.

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    1. I’m not a great fan of museums myself, Alison. I did think that these two would have had original furniture, similar to the stately home in the UK that I have written about. But it wasn’t to be. I’m one of those people if I go into a museum I read a few of the information cards and then I get bored. I just wander around then looking at things but not really reading about them

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  2. Mike, I loved your pictures. The ones that I liked is the third picture with the arch and bit of sky as well as the one with 2 window shutters. Low light is always challenging in many places. Sometimes, I switch to mobile phones because low light with long exposure time on the hand held is impossible.

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