|September 2016 (45° 45' 34.06" N 4° 49' 43.18" E) Pont Bonaparte|
Continuing upstream along the Saone River we arrived at the Pont Bonaparte. This bridge looks old but it was actually built in 1950 (replacing a bridge destroyed by the retreating German Army). The Pont Bonaparte is a three span reinforced concrete arch bridge covered in stone. At 131m (430 ft) it's the longest bridge across the Saone. It was originally named the Pont Tilsit but the name was changed to Bonaparte in 1964. Tilsit is a town in Russia where a treaty was signed after Napoleon won a battle.
There's a lot written about previous bridges at this site (connecting Bellecour to Saint-Jean) but almost nothing about the current bridge. The Structurae Website
provides little information other than referring the reader to 'Ponts et Quais de Lyon,' by Jean Pelletier. That author also discussed the previous bridges in great detail but provides little information about the current bridge. Pelletier provides a drawing by the Dutch artist Johannes Linglebach of a ten span timber bridge (with an arch bridge in the background) at Saint-Jean in 1644 (see picture below).
A painting at the same location by Joseph Fructus in 1820 looks similar (see below). Perhaps the stone arch bridge in this picture was named Pont Tilsit? That bridge was completed in 1807 but acted as a dam during floods and was demolished and rebuilt in 1864. However, it was recorded to be only five spans long. Perhaps Fructus' allowed himself some poetic license?
The 1864 replacement structure was the arch bridge destroyed by the Germans and rebuilt in 1950. It is a reinforced concrete arch covered in stone to resemble the previous bridge. All of the architectural details (the railing, the cutwaters, etc.) pay homage to the earlier arch bridges at this site.
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