Pont Ambroix – First Century Roman Bridge in Lunel France
The Pont Ambroix was a first-century BC Roman bridge in the south of France that was part of the Via Domitia. It crossed the Vidourle at Ambrussum, between today’s Gallargues-le-Montueux in the Gard department and Villetelle in the Hérault department.
In the High Middle Ages, a chapel devoted to St Mary was added to the structure. Nowadays, only one of the original eleven arches remains in the middle of the river.
Moreover, there are Ambrussum has three archaeological sites of international importance:
The Colline de Devès which was first occupied in 2300 BC and settled as an oppidum between 300 BC and 100 AD; was the Roman staging post on the Via Domitia which had hotels, relaxing baths, and industrial buildings; and the Pont Ambroix.
In 1620, the bridge was sketched by Anne Rulman and the drawing shows only four arches in that era. But, in 1839 lithograph and a painting by Gustave Courbet (1857) show two arches. It means, that two arches were flooded in-between years.
The Vidourlades are violent floods on the Vidourle, in which the water flow increases from a minimum of 3 m3/s to over 3000 m3/s. Therefore, the floods were recorded on 8 October 1723.
Also, other Floods were recorded on 18 November 1745 abridged the bridge from four arches to three. In addition, more severe floods occurred on 6 October 1812, 21 October 1891, and 21 September 1907. Therefore, more floods survived by Pont Ambroix, but the floods of 7 September 1933 abridged the bridge from 2 arches to the one we see these days.
The site was abandoned when transit patterns changed; the Via Domitia became less significant and the community relocated to Lunel-Viel which better served a north-south transit pattern, but the bridge continued in use until the late Middle Ages. It’s a beautiful place for history lovers along with a pretty river. In the French language, it is called French for Ambrussum Bridge or Pont d’Ambrussum.