6 arches, 500 metres long: one of the most beautiful bridges in France, because very old and well-preserved! This Gothic building over the river Tarn was raised by pope Urban V. Why did he do that?
Originally, this bridge allowed pilgrims to cross the water, to go to a chapel dedicated to the Virgin, in Quézac, wrote the famous French speleologist Edouard-Alfred Martel in his book Les Cévennes et la région des Causses.
But what a pope did in Quézac? Urban V, also known as Guillaume de Grimoard, came from a small village from Lozère: Grizac. He was born here in 1309. He became pope in 1362, but he was also count and lord of Gévaudan!
In other words, he loved his native land… and wanted to give it something. So he raised this bridge but also started the construction of the cathedral of Mende and the collegiate church of Saint-Flour, in the area…
The bridge was destroyed during war of Religion: bishop of Mende, Mr. de Marcillac, re-raised it identically in the beginning of the 17th century.
People found a statue of the Virgin Mary in Quézac in 1050. Pilgrims came in a body! So a church was raised where they found the statue, in 1052. And yet, the current church was only dedicated in the beginning of the 14th century…
Urban V raised it to a collegiate church with 8 canons in 1365: a pope, we saw it, who also raised the bridge at the same time, to make easy the pilgrims’ arrival… Hey, inside this church, we can see capitals and keystones flank by Urban’s blazon!