The building of the bridge

Originally, there was an ancient wooden bridge connecting Villeneuve Avignon. It is on these bases that was built the first bridge where the pillars were probably linked by wooden walkways. It was opened to traffic from 1184. But this first bridge was destroyed Romanesque period to the fourth arch during the siege of 1226.

At that time there was the brotherhood of "the work of the bridge," born of the influence of Benezet, with 24 brothers. With their relentless quests and the clever use of tolls, they can begin construction of a stone Gothic bridge over the remains of the structure dating from the twelfth century on the same principle of building bridges equally famous in the region: the Pont du Gard and the Pont Julien Bonnieux.

The new bridge stretches approximately 900 meters and has some 22 arches.

In the Middle Ages, the Pont St Benezet fits on one of the most important pilgrimage routes between Italy and Spain. It will become indispensable to the papal court moved to Avignon in the fourteenth century.
Very quickly, the Cardinals moved to Villeneuve to escape the nuisance of Avignon, then qualified by the poet Petrarch "infects more and more stinking cities of the earth". The bridge was at that moment the most direct link between the many residences that were made to build the Cardinals, and the Palais des Papes is located within the ramparts of Avignon.

At each crossing the bridge, the Popes have a habit of stopping in front of the chapel to pray Benezet a moment and leave a gift of a guilder.

The bridge is paved in 1377 by order of Cardinal Blandiac to address the common problems of slipping behind many accidents and falls into the Rhone. Louis XIV is one of the last to have crossed the Rhone before "collapse" in the seventeenth century, but it would never pay for its restoration, despite his desire to become an owner.