A little history of Flavien bridge
A bridge for a great man
The bridge was named after the man who raised it in the 1st century: a Roman priest who gave money for the construction of two triumphal arches, on the tips of a bridge linking the two banks of river Touloubre. Besides, an inscription says:
L. DONNIVS C.F. FLAVOS. FLAMEN ROME ET AUGUSTI TESTAMENTO FIEREI IVSSIT. ARBITRATV C. DONNIEI VENAE ET C. ATTIEI RVFEI.
Which means: ″This bridge was raised by order of Donnius Flavus, Roma’s priest, by his executors Donnius Vena and Attius Rufus.″ It’s about 6 metres wide and 21 metres long. It has only one single semicircular arch: this one is 12 metres of diametre. On the two arches (7 metres high), we can see lion statues on the entablature (one is genuine, the 3 others date back to the 17th c.).
Our bridge was restored in the 18th century! Sculptor Chastel made the work: a famous artist we already met in Aix-en-Provence, where he designed fountains of the place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville and place des Prêcheurs… He had to re-make a paw for a lion (the antic one), replace the missing stones (with white stone from Calissanne, a quarry not far from Saint-Chamas, and yellow stone from Barbette)… Architect Michel-Robert Penchaud also restored our bridge in the 19th century. Did you know we also known this bridge as ″Surian bridge″, from the name of a consul in the 17th century who restored it, with his own money?