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A little history of Pont de la Guillotière

The bridge | Basilio / CC-BY-SA
Bridge Pont de la Guillotière

A pretty difficult construction

Too heavy!

The first mention dates back to 1180.

10 years later, our wooden bridge collapsed because of kings Richard Lionheart and Philip Augustus' troops, who crossed it one day... they were too heavy! All the soldiers drowned, of course...

Popes, bishops and archbishops gave for the reconstruction, which took a loooong time.

In the meantime, people had to cross the river with a boat!


In 1334, only 2 arches were built... until king Charles V of France founded a toll on the bridge.

This money was used for the building site... finally, in 1407, they raised half the bridge!

A desperate situation!

But a big flood of river Rhône (300 houses were destroyed) damaged an arch, the same year.

Oh my gosh, they had to rebuild, one more time...

Desperate, the city mayors wrote to the king, to the most powerful lords, to the Pope himself in order to find money!

In 1410, Charles VI the Mad finally helped them.

And for centuries, floods and storms would damage the bridge. Each time, they rebuilt it... especially in the 17th and 18th century: we had 20 arches at that time!

From the Middle-Ages to modern times

The bridge was protected by the redoute de la Sentinelle ("Sentry redoubt"), a tower with a drawbridge, on the 7th arch.

At the end of the bridge, we had a kind of bastion flanked by towers with a small chapel dedicated to the Holy Spirit.

They destroyed the chapel in 1773, the bastion and the tower in 1793 during the city siege...

The current bridge dates back to 1953: the old one was destroyed by German army in 1944...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!