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Valentré Bridge

Practical

Discover the bridge Valentré during the guided tours offered by the Tourist Office.

In 1306, the consuls of the city of Cahors decided on the construction of a bridge at a place called "Valandre" on the western part of the meander of Cahors. Two other bridges existed in Cahors: the Pont Vieux in the south and the Pont Neuf in the east.

The first stone of the new work was placed solemnly in 1308 by the First Consul Geraud de Sabanac. The project lasted nearly 70 years, giving birth to the legend that the devil assisted the architect. In 1345 it was possible to cross the bridge's table but the three towers were probably only completed around 1380, despite the crises of the Hundred Years War.

 

Mentioned in 1840 in the first French lists of Historical Monuments, the Pont Valentré was restored in 1880 by architect Paul Gout, who had a little devil carved at the top of the central tower by local artist Antoine-Cyprien Calmon.

A Remarkable example of medieval architecture, the bridge has been listed as a historic monument since 1998 and registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela.

With a length of 172 meters, the bridge has eight arches resting on piles which feature a front 'bec'. It has three towers, of which only the two placed on the banks were fortified with battlements and archery windows. Each end was originally protected by a gatehouse, these have almost disappeared today.

The bridge has been closed to traffic since 1995.

It has been registered as one of the “remarkable Bridges South of France” since 2012.

 

The legend:

It is said that the architect could not finish his work, and therefore sold his soul to the devil. Satan agreed to help him in every possible way and he would obey him exactly upon command. When the work was finished, the architect would pay for this with his soul.Les ponts remarquables But if the devil, for whatever reason, refused to help until the end he would lose all rights to the prize. The went very fast with such help.

 

When the bridge was once almost ready: - the architect said to himself, now is the time to think about my soul, to see if I have made a foolish pact. And he brought a sieve to his good companion: - Friend, he said, you have so far willingly helped, and you know you should be until the end, take this sieve, leave it as it is and use it to draw water to bring to the cement makers. The devil bit his lip in disappointment, yet he tried to draw water, but failed twenty times. The sieve would not hold water. Dismayed the devil came to admit defeat but he swore revenge Some time later, when the masons were almost finished with the construction of the central tower, they saw that the northwestern corner was broken, and there was nothing they could do to finish the tower.

 

Paul Gout, the architect who was commissioned to restore the bridge, immortalized this legend with a carved stone devil trying to tear off that the cornerstone of the bridge, but he fails because his fingers are stuck in the joints of the stone.

 

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Remarkable bridges in the South of France

Grands sites Midi-Pyrénées
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