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Avignon, France
from MS Maribelle Photos



From the ramparts, you can look down on the Pont St-Bénezet. This is the bridge that inspired the song "Sur Le Pont d'Avignon."

According to legend, the bridge was built after God suggested the idea to Bénezet (then a shepherd boy) in 1177, although archæologists believe that an earlier bridge crossed the Rhône in the same location during Roman times. In any event, the new bridge was a major asset for the city, since it was the only bridge across the river between the Mediterranean and Lyon, and its founder went on to sainthood.

Sieges and river currents destroyed portions of the bridge over the next few hundred years, and the city fathers stopped rebuilding it after 1668. The bridge once had 22 arches; today, there are just four arches and a chapel that was enlarged in the 1500s. You can walk out onto the surviving arches of the Pont St-Bénezet for a rather steep admission charge.

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MS Maribelle Photo Index

More about Viking River Cruises:
MS Maribelle Cruise Review (21 pages)

Topics in this photo gallery:
MS Maribelle
Along the river
Tournon-sur-Rhône, Vivarais Railroad
Les Baux de Provence
Pont du Gard