The Pont de Pierre (Peter’s Bridge) is the oldest bridge in Bordeaux. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century, which is very late considering the origins of the city. Indeed, for nearly 2000 years the city developed on the Left Bank without attempting to cross the river. The Garonne is wide and turbulent, probably frightening the Bordelais into delaying the construction of a bridge.
The Pont de Pierre was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon I who, on his way to Spain to fight in the war, saw the Grande Armée slowed down by crossing the Garonne by ferry. Built by the architect Claude Deschamps, the bridge is made of stone and brick, which is lighter. The piers rest on 220 fir-tree piles driven 8 to 10 metres deep. Completed in 1821, it was opened to traffic in 1822, one year after the death of the emperor.
The crossing of the Garonne from left bank to right bank allowed Bordeaux to develop exponentially.
It was originally a toll bridge: 5 cents for a pedestrian, 35 cents for a horse and rider. The two octroi buildings at the entrance to the bridge were razed to the ground shortly before the widening work in 1954.
The bridge has retained its architecture with 17 arches. The number of arches is not random, as it is said to correspond to the number of letters in the name “Napoleon Bonaparte”.
It should also be noted that the bridge is hollow and has galleries for its maintenance and the passage of numerous networks. It was listed as a Historic Monument in 2002. It is a real historical link between the two banks of the Bordeaux metropolis.
The brick piers are decorated with a white medallion in homage to Napoleon. Three crescents can be seen intertwined, the symbol of the city’s coat of arms.
The road was widened several times. In 1924, its width was increased from 15 to 20 metres. This work made it possible to create four lanes, pavements and cycle paths. But the growing intensity of traffic has gradually weakened the legendary Bordeaux bridge, which has been closed to car traffic since July 2018. Only pedestrians, cyclists and public transport (buses, trams, etc.) can now cross it.
Lighting columns were installed in 2011 to restore its original appearance. They have also brought a light that illuminates it and gives it its characteristic charm.
If you have booked a stay in Bordeaux and want to see the most beautiful places of interest in the city, crossing the Pont de Pierre is a must in Bordeaux, as much as a passage through Quinconces or the Chartrons!
You can cross it with our Bordeaux Visiotour, an audio-guided bus tour with commentary for 70 minutes at a height of 4 meters!
Between place Bir Hakeim and place Stalingrad, 33000 Bordeaux