The Valentré Bridge, a must-see when visiting Cahors
The Valentré Bridge, a must-see when visiting Cahors
J.Morel
The Valentré bridge in Cahors
The Valentré bridge in Cahors
Autan Wind
Focus on one of the 3 towers of the Pont Valentré in Cahors
Focus on one of the 3 towers of the Pont Valentré in Cahors
J.Morel
On the Lot in Cahors
The Pont Valentré is the most famous monument and the one not to be missed during a visit to Cahors, a medieval city in the south of France.

Remarkable testimony to medieval architecture, the Valentré bridge is classified as a Historic Monument and has been listed since 1998 on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Paths of Santiago de Compostela.

Valentre Bridge in Cahors
Valentre Bridge in Cahors
Lot Tourisme - T.Verneuil

The construction of the Valentré Bridge

In 1306, the consuls of the city of Cahors decide to build a bridge at a place called "Valandre", on the western part of the meander of Cahors. Two other bridges then existed in Cahors: the Vieux bridge to the south and the Neuf bridge to the east.

The first stone of the new work of art was solemnly laid in 1308 by the First Consul Géraud de Sabanac. The construction site will last nearly 70 years, giving rise to the legend according to which the devil would have brought his assistance to the architect. In 1345 one can circulate on the deck, the three towers being probably completed only around 1380, despite the crises of the Hundred Years War.

Renovation of the Valentré Bridge in 1880 by Paul Gout
Renovation of the Valentré Bridge in 1880 by Paul Gout

The Valentré bridge restored in 1880

Mentioned in 1840 in the first list of Historic Monuments, the Valentré Bridge was restored around 1880 by the architect Paul Gout, who had the local artist Cyprien-Antoine Calmon sculpt a little devil at the top of the central tower.

Ingredients

With a length of 172 meters, the Valentré bridge has eight arches, falling on piles equipped with a forepeak. It has three towers, of which only the two placed on the banks were fortified with battlements and arrow slits. Each end was originally protected by a châtelet, these elements having almost disappeared nowadays.

The Valentré bridge is pedestrian since 1995.

The Devil of Pont Valentré
The Devil of Pont Valentré
V.Seguin
Do you know...

The legend of the Devil of Pont Valentré

It is said that the architect, unable to complete his work, had recourse to Satan and made a pact with him. Satan pledged to help him in every way and to obey him punctually, whatever order he could receive. The finished work, the soul of the architect was to be the price. But if the demon, for whatever reason, refused to continue his assistance to the end, he would lose all his rights to the prize in question. The job went quickly with such a manoeuvre.

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A postcard from Pont Valentré
A postcard from Pont Valentré
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When the bridge was almost finished: - said the architect to himself, now is the time to think about our souls, so that we have not made a foolish deal. And he carried a sieve to his formidable partner: - Friend, he said to him, I have found you docile up to now, and you know that you must be so until the end; take this sieve (a sort of perforated bucket), leave it as it is and use it to draw water which you will take to the masons to dilute the lime. The devil bit his lip in spite; he nevertheless tried the experiment, it failed twenty times. Never sieve kept the water. Confused, the devil came to admit defeat, but swore revenge. 

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The Valentré bridge in Cahors
The Valentré bridge in Cahors
Do you know...

Some time later, when the masons had almost finished building the middle tower, they found the upper north-west corner demolished and it was impossible for them to complete this tower.

The architect in charge of the restoration, Paul Gout, had this legend immortalized by a carved stone representing the devil trying to tear the stone from the bridge but not succeeding, his fingers being stuck in the joints of the stone.

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The Valentré Bridge in color

Throughout the year, the Valentré Bridge in Cahors will light up at nightfall in different colours. A symbolism, a particular event, the bridge is always on the lookout.

The Valentré bridge illuminated in pink on the occasion of Pink October
The Valentré bridge illuminated in pink on the occasion of Pink October
E.Faure
Key dates

Illumination of the Valentré Bridge

  • 14 February : Valentine's Day: in pink
  • 8 March: women's rights day: in pink
  • 17 March: St. Patrick's Day: in green
  • 20 March: spring: in green
  • last Saturday in March: Earth Hour: no light
  • Easter: Rainbow
  • April 22: World Earth Day: blue
  • 8 may: Armistice: blue white red
  • 17 may: international day against homophobia: rainbow
  • 21 June: summer and music festival: in yellow
  • end of June : river festival: in blue
  • 14 July: National holiday: blue white red

 

 

  • during July: Blues festival: red
  • 17 August anniversary of the liberation of Cahors: blue white red
  • end of September : Autumn in orange
  • first weekend of October and last 4 days of the 2nd week: pink october: in pink
  • October 31: Halloween: in orange
  • November 11: Armistice 1918: blue white red
  • 1st December : international day against AIDS: in red
  • end December : for winter: in blue
  • Christmas : red and white sparkles from 21 p.m.

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