The first bridge built between 1634 and 1642 was destroyed by flooding. It was rebuilt in wood time and time again until a Villebois stone version was finally erected in 1786. It was completed in 1807 and named Pont Tilsitt. It took three years to rebuild after it was bombed by the Germans on September 1, 1944. The bridge consists of three reinforced concrete arches overlaid with dressed stone from the quarry in Hauteville, which also supplied stone for the Empire State Building. The 12-m wide road flanked by two 4.50 m pavements connects St Jean Cathedral to the city’s main square, Place Bellecour. It took its current name - Pont Bonaparte – in 1964.
Source: Tourist Office
Installation open prior to the Festival of Lights:
November 30 to December 4: 7 pm to 11 pm
December 5 to December 8 during the Festival of Lights:
Thursday 5 and Sunday 8: 7 pm to 11 pm
Friday 6 and Saturday 7: 8 pm to midnight
Pont Bonaparte is the final bulwark against the power of the elements, and it’s here that a pair of mannequins – each 10-metres tall – hold back the piers of a bridge that seems to be threatened by the rising waters. With their feet in the Saône, the illuminated duo personifies the highly fragile nature of the structure and humans face-to-face with nature. Colosses is a metaphor for our irrepressible desire to tame the elements. The oversized figures sound like an admission of fragility in the face of the power of the river.