According to legend, the infamous Pont d’Avignon was built In 1185 as a result of a miracle. An angel led a shepherd called Bénézet to Avignon and told him to tell the town to build the bridge. Initially ridiculed, when Bénézet lifted an enormous rock before the town’s leaders they became convinced that this was a divine order and set about the construction of the bridge made famous in the children’s song ‘Sur le Pont d’Avignon’.
Sadly Bénézet died before the bridge‘s completion, but he played a significant role as a fund raiser, providing money for the building and for the establishment of a local hospital nearby.
The 2950 feet long bridge was finally put out of use by a catastrophic flood in 1668, which swept away much of the structure. Since then, its surviving arches have successively collapsed or been demolished. Only four of the initial 22 arches remain intact today. Under one of these arches a cafe with music and dancing was opened which became the inspiration for the bridge’s famous song, Sur le Pont d’Avignon’.