Pont d’Avignan, France

avignanpont

Pont d’Avignan, France

The famous song “Sur le Pont d’Avignan” (On the Bridge of Avignan) immortalizes the Saint Bénézet Bridge or more commonly known as le Pont d’Avignan. In fact–this broken bridge. Because as famous as this bridge is, it can’t actually get you across the Rhone River. The bridge was built because the Ardeche shepherd, Bénézet had a vision that God wanted a bridge here, and when no one believed him, he threw a boulder to convince. Well, in 1185 they built the bridge alright–but apparently either the saint was wrong or God didn’t actually want the bridge because in 1226 it was destroyed by war, and then every century or so it was carried away by the Rhone. By the 17th century, they gave it up to ruin. As for the 15th century song, it evokes images of townspeople dancing on the bridge–but as you can see, it’s not such a big place for a festival. It’s much more likely that in the original version, they would’ve danced sous or UNDER the bridge!

Sur le Pont d’Avignon
L’on y danse, l’on y danse
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
L’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 ring

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