The Pont Vieux of Orthez !

I am again on the southwest of my belle France. The region has been criss cross by my family for many years and remains one of our favorites. Even thus, written plenty on it over the years in my blog, there is so much to see, always something missing.I like to update this older post for you and me with new text and links which deserve. Therefore, let me tell you about the Pont Vieux of Orthez ! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The Pont Vieux, is in Orthez, department 64 of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The old bridge is a 13C fortified bridge.  The Pont Vieux , spanning the Gave de Pau river, it connects the city center to its suburb of Depart. It is on the vicomtale road which went from the Haderne bridge, at Sault-de-Navailles, to the Osserain bridge, and led to Roncevaux. It owes its construction to Gaston VII Moncade of Béarn, when he made Orthez the capital of Béarn and transported his court there.


We do not know when the bridge was built in its current state with 4 masonry spans. In 1589, there was already only one tower. The upper part of the tower had disappeared. The bridge resisted two major assaults: in August 1569, the Huguenot troops of Montgomery, after the battle of Orthez precipitated priests in the Gave by an opening , the priests’ window in the downstream parapet, to the right of the key main span. In February 1814, troops of the Duke of Wellington went after the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte in retreat. On February 27, 45 soldiers of Marshal Soult’s army rearguard entrenched in the bridge tower resisted for one day the attacks of the English army during the battle of Orthez.

The Pont Vieux d’Orthez has protected the village of Orthez, located between Pau and Bayonne, at the gates of the Basque Country. No wonder it has been the emblem of the city for many centuries. With its fortified tower and arches of different sizes, it is one of the rare examples of medieval military architecture. Originally, two towers framed the main arch, while on each side were wooden passages, which could be raised in the event of attacks, to block access to the village. Today, small stone arches replace the old wooden constructions. If it could speak, the Vieux Bridge or Old Bridge would recount the bloody episodes that took place on its stones.


it is today remarkable for its uneven arches and its fortified central tower. The tower was restored according to its original arrangements in 1873. The aliening and the roof are modern. Total length of the bridge between the two abutments: 46 meters long; width span  about 15 meters; Openings of the two adjacent arches about 7 meters and 8 meters.

The city of Orthez on the Pont Vieux

The local Heart of Béarn tourist office on Orthez :

There you go folks, another nice monument of architectural and historical value I like to keep in my blog, Again, hope you enjoy the Pont Vieux of Orthez as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!


2 Comments to “The Pont Vieux of Orthez !”

  1. What a beautiful old bridge. Thanks for the history, it was great. Shaun

    Liked by 1 person

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