Bordeaux' handsome arched bridge has quite a Napoleonic tale behind it.
For more than a century Bordeaux' only bridge, a legacy of Napoleon.
If emperor Napoleon Bonaparte said he wanted a bridge over the Garonne River to unite the two halves of Bordeaux, it got done. But it was quite a slog for the engineers, taking 12 years to tame the difficult river currents and finally laying the 17 arches and 486 metres (1,595 feet) worth of stone bridge that form the Pont de Pierre (one arch for each letter in Napoleon's name). In order to accomplish the task it was necessary to construct a diving bell to allow workers to submerge for 30 minutes at a time in order to place and stabilise the bridge pillars in the water. Opened for traffic in 1822, it was the city's only bridge until the 1960s.
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