Monday, 16 April 2012

Bridge over the Vienne...

In near gale force winds yesterday afternoon, we braved a walk along the bank of the Vienne at Dangé St Romain.

By the bridge was a notice recounting the history of its construction. Surprisingly it was only in 1971 that the two communities, Dangé on the right bank and Saint Romain on the left, were united to become one town, Dangé  Saint Romain.

Prior to the bridge's construction a ferry was used to take passengers and animals across the river. Various schemes to fund a bridge were suggested, including holding a raffle with the proceeds being split between prizes, assistance for the needy and the construction of a bridge. However it wasn't until the coming of the railway in 1853 that the idea of a bridge became a firm proposition. The Orleans Railway company invested heavily in the building of the bridge and the first stone was laid in 1857.

The bridge remained a toll bridge until 1879. During the Second World War it was badly damaged. The French destroyed one arch in 1940, in an attempt to halt the progress of the enemy and then a second arch was destroyed by the Germans in 1944. A temporary wooden bridge was put in place until the stone one could be reconstructed. This was only completed in 1961.

A fascinating history of a bridge we cross each time we visit friends in South Touraine, and otherwise we take for granted.
The Cross, set on the bridge between  Dangé  and St Romain
Perhaps, when we cross over it in future, we'll spare a thought for all those involved in its planning, construction, defence and subsequent reconstruction.


Diane said...

Interesting post. We braved the garden yesterday for a bit, but today was really bitter out there. Take care. Diane

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Thanks, Diane. We have my sister and brother in law coming today We told them to bring shorts and t-shirts but have had to ring and advise them to repack!!!