The pont de pierre (stone bridge) was crucial to Bordeaux’s development in the 19th century, but this beautiful construction wasn’t the first attempt to connect the left and right banks of the Garonne.
The width of the the river Garonne and the strengths of its currents had always been problematic; previous attempts to build a bridge had ended up falling into the river.
The bridge that we see today was ordered by Napoleon I to facilitate the passage of his troops, but was completed in 1822. Some say that its seventeen arches are a deliberate nod to the seventeen letters in Napoleon’s name (N-A-P-O-L-E-O-N B-O-N-A-P-A-R-T-E)!
From this bridge you get incredible views of the left and right banks, and both of their rising spires (Flèche St-Michel, Tour Pey-Berland, Eglise Ste. Marie-de-la-Bastide). At daytime or at night, Place de la Bourse stands out.
Now, its even more pleasant stand on the bridge, as it was recently turned into a pedestrian zone (except for trams and buses). This initiative had initially been started as a trial, but it seems like it may be here to stay.
Don’t forget your camera!