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An oblique view of Le Pont Flavien, showing the two arches at either end of the bridge.

Is le Pont Flavien the Most Beautiful Roman Bridge Outside of Italy?

Ancient Romans built some spectacular bridges. And a number of these are still standing today, even if they have had varying amounts of reconstruction. One such bridge, located somewhere in the decidedly unassuming southern approach to Saint Chamas of central Provence, is said by many scholars to be the most beautiful Roman bridge outside of Italy. A bold claim. During a recent trip to the south of France I had a few hours to spare one afternoon and headed over to St Chamas from Nîmes to see if Le Pont Flavien lived up to all the hype.

An oblique view of Le Pont Flavien, showing the two arches at either end of the bridge.
What do you think, is this the most beautiful Roman bridge outside of Italy?

The Roman Bridge & Its Triumphal Arches

A view of the Flavien Bridge from the side, and the river bed it crosses.
Pont Flavien crosses the Touloubre River.
The triumphal arch of the Flavien Bridge on the northern bank, showing the fluted column, and the lion sculptures on top.
The Triumphal arch on the north bank of the river.
A view of the triumphal arch of the Flavien Bridge - the lions on top of the arch are clearly visible.
The triumphal arch on the south bank.
A close up of the top of the north arch showing the inscription.
A close up of the southern triumphal arch o show the ornate decoration on the arches.
A close up of the corner of one of the arches showing the relief sculpture of an eagle.
Close up showing the top of a Corinthian capital with a eagle relief above it to the right, and the foliate pattern across the entablature.
Le Pont Flavien Roman Bridge
A vie through the triumphal arches from the south bank to the north bank.
Deep rut marks in the stone on the bridge made from centuries of cart traffic.
Since the end of Antiquity carts were digging deep ruts into the arch stones of the bridge.
Track Pont Flavien
Rut marks made by cart wheels leading away from, or to, the bridge on the northern bank.

Where is Le Pont Flavien?

Add the Flavien Bridge to Your Itineraries & Travel Lists

Flavien Roman Bridge

Despite the rather unassuming setting, le Pont Flavien is said to be one of the most beautiful Roman bridges outside of Italy. Certainly it is unique in France in that it has a pair of ceremonial arches at either end, each with a pair of crouching lions on top. The bridge has suffered much since it was built, but each time it has been painstakingly reconstructed. The parapets are modern, and only one of the lions is original. But still, anyone who is fascinated by Roman engineering should not miss it. It is thought that the bridge was as much a funerary monument as it was functional.

Archaeology Travel Writer

Thomas Dowson

With a professional background in archaeology and a passion for travel, I founded Archaeology Travel to help more people explore our world’s fascinating pasts. Born in Zambia, I trained as an archaeologist at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) and taught archaeology at the universities of Southampton and Manchester (England). Read More

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