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Roman Bridge of Vaison-la-Romaine

Monument in Vaison-la-Romaine

Roman Bridge of Vaison-la-Romaine - Monument in Vaison-la-Romaine
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The Gallo-Roman bridge, classified "historic monument" in 1840, constitutes the real link between the modern lower town and the medieval city; it is one of the major monuments of the city. Built in the first century AD, it is anchored in the rock at a narrowing of the Ouvèze. Its single arch, 17 m opening and 9 m wide, consists of five arches and relies on the rock. In ancient times, the bridge embankments dominated the facilities on stilts. The river favored an intense commercial traffic handled by browsers corporations.

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It is difficult to place the bridge in its ancient urban context and medieval due to the presence of the current city. But since ancient times, this book is a must, a convergence of paths, which created an attractive sector conducive to the building of homes and businesses.

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Site selection is important for building the bridge; he crossed the Ouvèze at a narrowing of the river and is anchored in the rock. He united the ancient city established on the right bank to a craft area which tends to prolong the left bank. This area was served by a road parallel to the river. This way, partially identified in a survey and road works allowed to join, to the east of Mont Ventoux and nearby locations in Tricastin territory and towards the West, Cavare territory. It is interesting to note that this axis of ancient traffic passing between the river and the rocky heights disappeared over the following centuries, probably due to maintenance difficulties retaining walls that protected the erosion of Ouvèze. Only at the end of the nineteenth century that an axis of movement is created on the old ancient course.

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On the right bank, the historical record indicates, along the river, the existence of large slabs and a spa together. These remains are partially known and published.

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In the medieval period, the remains are absent but texts give some indication. The city of the Middle Ages that extended into the valley, around the cathedral, was gradually abandoned in favor of the height of the site easier to defend.

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In the thirteenth century, the bridge is the passage that can reach the new city which stands on the north side of the rock on the left bank of the Ouvèze. In the sixteenth century, when new construction rose in the valley, on the right bank, the location was determined by the presence of the bridge. He became the starting point of the suburb, before giving birth to the current high street. It was the only material link between the two sides to the commissioning Gateway service further downstream in 1858, and a new bridge in 1935-1936. From that date, the city was equipped with two bridges crossing the Ouvèze. The "new bridge", as he was spontaneously baptized by the population, was destroyed in 1944 by an explosive set up by German troops while the Roman bridge resisted quite well to the same charge. Its strength was again demonstrated during the flood of 22 September 1992, after the one known from 1616.

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Guard the bridge: During the wars of religion, the bridge, sensitive area was controlled to ensure the protection of the city. In 1580, as a safety measure, the board envisioned to pass the guard by a staircase that would link the upper church at the watchman of the bridge. Similarly, panel were set up, open the windows once were blinded in the ramparts and turrets built (in 1583). Five years later, the guard was strengthened with the announcement of the arrival of "new converts". The Council was guarding the bridge to prevent their passage as well as the "other malicious people to the king's service." Recall that the then papal Venaissin County property. We know that the award, which no longer exists, overlooking the Ouvèze at the intersection of High Street and the road to Saint-Marcellin.

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The bridge and worship: All processions starting from the upper church to join the old cathedral and the chapel Saint-Quenin borrowed this route, but in reverse processions were also very important: These include the reception of newly appointed bishops Vaison. Each bishop was received in the old Cathedral of Our Lady of Nazareth. A procession of canons of city officials and inhabitants was formed at the exit of the building, borrowed the way courradou and crossed the bridge to the square of the weight and get into the city by the door of St. Quenin (passing under the tower of the belfry).

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The bridge was a cross and small oratories protectors. This is also in 1616, a marble statue was moved on the orders of the bishop. This ancient statue visible then at Queiras neighborhood gave rise to superstitious practices that the prelate would no longer tolerate. He thought that a new location, in plain view, and adding a head (controlled by the Community mason Stephen Ollier) the christianiseraient a bit and that would not dare to Vaison venerate in such a busy place.

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The bridge and the plague: the bridge was papal path. Also, when in 1721 the plague Vaison approached the consuls could not prohibit the crossing. To avoid contagion of the population, drastic measures forbade all relations with foreigners, even outside the walls. Fear of the plague was not new; already in 1527, 1545; 1585, 1602 and 1621, protection against contagion was organized. Panic gave to an outbreak of any epidemic speed. Whenever there was questionable death, family and relatives were quarantined. In 1587, safeguards were so firm that they led to a famine the inhabitants out over the city, could not, or work the land or supplies. The harvests were banned. After each difficult period, when the danger was over, the people thanked his patron saint. It is through Holy Quenin, it is said that the city was spared from the plague.

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Work on the bridge: After the flood of 1616: The auction price and because of the bridge repair concerna the filling of cut stone and mortar holes on the side of the road Malaucène, paving and parapets (7 parbandes top panels and 3 thick sections). The price should contain a calade in good mortar and with sufficient slope for drainage of rainwater. Mason is required to make two arcs "size that a man can spend a horse and leading a bag of hay or straw: an arch of the bridge and road side of Vaison in Malaucène and the other the path of said Vaison tending to Saint-Marcellin with holes to put good bar... He was commissioned to build two stone oratories, to one end of the bridge with a cross "at the same place where it was once" and the other above the fountain of the village. The 1616 text indicates that the cross should be executed stone of Saint-Didier with a crucifix on one side and Our Lady of the other, on the steps where the cross was carried away by "the ravages of water." The mason also had to build a wall in the corner of the bridge on the site of two houses washed away

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The work of the eighteenth century: A major repaving campaign was started in the city in 1779. The roadway of the bridge was then enhanced considerably and the gate arch, which was at its end, on the street, destroyed. It was decided to build it in "Flemish door" higher than the last.

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The work of the nineteenth century: In December 1817 the municipality had repaired the parapets, or more precisely fix the slabs coronation "which by their state of shock threatened to fall into the river."

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During his visits in Vaison, Prosper Mérimé, Inspector General of Historic Monuments, was interested in the monuments. It is responsible for the protection of some of them which the bridge. He wrote:.. "The present city still occupies the top and side of the hill, where there are some remains of its ancient fortifications Gradually, it spread to beyond the river The bridge serves as a communication between the two parts of the city, is Roman, and with the exception of the parapet, which is modern, it does not appear that there has ever done repairs on the contrary, spikes were removed from metal that bound the large boulders that make up the they are also paired so that the solid construction does not seem impaired Ouvèze However, like all mountain rivers, sometimes becomes a torrent. impetuous, but it is only the man who can overcome a Roman monument. "

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The general recovery in 1842 followed the entry of the bridge on the first list of Historical Monuments, that of 1840. The architect of the department, Prosper Renaux in charge of the project, proposed to "remake the Roman parapet, replacing buildings masonry rubble, "which, he says, are not relevant to the style of the monument. There was a first, then a second project. Finally, Prosper Renaux stopped these choices: Career Freestones Caromb for parapet largest unit, the chest being divided into alternating panels with cippi or harps. This is parapet that was in place until the 1992 floods.

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The restoration of the bridge in the middle of the twentieth century made following the bursting of an explosive set up by the Germans. The water line located under the steps, which channeled water from Crestet, was not affected. Several segments were damaged, but the strength of the bridge was not reduced and Vaison filled up the excavation of approximately one meter by two with ties to restore circulation between the two sides. The bridge enabled the passage of the American vehicles. It was not until the commissioning of a new bridge nine in 1949-1950 to expose the upper surface of the arch of the ancient bridge and restore it in the rules of art. This work, led by Mr. Jean Sonnier, were realized by the company Girard of Avignon, who replaced anyway fifteen quoins. It was during this operation that we could examine the upper surface of the upper arches which showed grooves and traces of wear left over the centuries by the passage of chariot wheels.

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The 1994 restoration: one, following the 1992 flood, the bridge makes a closer figure and appearance of its ancient state, better identified today thanks to the architectural, archaeological studies and research the archives. The profile of the new parapet was directly inspired by visible blocks at the bedside of the Cathedral. Finally to complete the restoration, the stone was removed careers qu'exploitaient the Gallo-Roman in Beaumont-du-Ventoux (about 15 km from Vasio).

Official sitewww.vaison-la-romaine.com

Photos

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Roman bridge
®2 Roman bridge
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Detail of the Roman bridge
Detail of the Roman bridge
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Other monuments nearby

Cathedral Sainte-Marie de l'AssomptionVaison-la-Romaine
Archaeological Site of PuyminVaison-la-Romaine
Castle of the Comtes de ToulouseVaison-la-Romaine
Archaeological Site of the VillasseVaison-la-Romaine
Cathedral Notre-Dame-de-NazarethVaison-la-Romaine
Chapel Saint-QueninVaison-la-Romaine
Chapel Notre-Dame de NazarethEntrechaux (6.1 km)
Wayside Cross of MalaucèneMalaucène (8.6 km)

Weather

Wednesday 22 november
Min. 4°C - Max. 17°C
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Thursday 23 november
Min. 9°C - Max. 17°C
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Friday 24 november
Min. 9°C - Max. 19°C
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