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The bridge on the Rhone and Pont St. Esprit

Pont-St-Esprit.
The medieval bridge is about a kilometre long and rests on 25 lowered arches. Since 1309 it is, according to poet Frédéric Mistral’s definition, the “golden gate of Provence”. The city was founded in the V century, but it acquired a certain importance when the bridge was built. The historical centre preserves important monuments. The church of St-Saturnin overlooks the river; St. Saturnin was an evangelizer of the Languedoc in the III century. The church has existed since the X century, but nothing is left of the original building and of the subsequent one of the XII century. The present building is in gothic style and it is the result of many restructurings during the centuries. The chapel of the Prieuré St-Pierre, founded by the Benedictine monks of Cluny in the X century is in the St Pierre Square. The medieval building, which was already degraded, was further damaged during the religious wars of the XVI century and once more during the Revolution. Since the XIX century it has been used for various purposes (school, fire brigade depot, etc.). The strategic position of the city had made it necessary to have garrisons, which were lodged at the Citadelle at the gate of the bridge, in medieval times. The Citadelle also included a hostel for pilgrims and the gothic Collegiata. The complex was enlarged during the XVII and XVIII centuries. The Pépin barracks, located outside the city walls, and extended during the Napoleonic period and in the following century, also date back to the beginning of the XVIII century. The building was used as a barracks until 1978, and at present it is a multifunctional space used as a celebrations hall and cinema.

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