Julien Bridge

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    Pont Julien is an old Roman bridge traditionally dated to 3 BC. It can be found at the entrance to the Roquefure gorge, 5 km north of Bonnieux (in the Vaucluse region of southern France) and 8 km to the west of Apt. The bridge was located on the Via Domitia, the Roman road that connected Narbonne (known as Colonia Narbo Martius) to Turin (Augusta Taurinorum). It is classed as a French historic monument and owes its name to the nearby town of Apt, once known as Colonia Apta Julia. The ancient roadway, which is clearly visible upstream and downstream of the bridge, used to cross the bed of the River Calavon (or Coulon) following a staggered route. The bridge, which is 80 m long and 6 m wide, has a span of 46 m; the roadway is 4.20 m wide and 11.50 m high. It consists of three semicircular arches: the central arch is higher than those flanking it to the north and south. The intermediate piers are broached by large arched ‘windows’ or holes to facilitate drainage during floods; they are also equipped with semicircular upstream cut-waters. Pont Julien, built from large limestone brickwork from quarries in the Luberon, replaced an earlier structure, vestiges of which can been seen around the piers. The bridge formed part of the modern road network until 2005 when, after over 2,000 years of use, an alternative route and a new bridge nearby were commissioned in order to help preserve Pont Julien.

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