The Pont Chaban-Delmas, spanning the River Gironde between the Baclan and Bastide quarters of Bordeaux, is 433 metres long and 77 metres high, and so is one of the largest vertical lift bridges in Europe. Its pulley system means that the road bed can be fully lifted in 11 minutes.
in January 2010 and completed on the 31st December
2012, the Pont Chaban-Delmas in service from 17th March 2013. The day before, inaugural celebrations included a fun run, the Run of the Bridges, between this new bridge and the Pont de Pierre by thousands of runners. In the evening, there was a spectacular firework show using the bridge.
This vertical lift bridge connects the Bacalan (left bank) and
la Bastide quarters (right bank) of Bordeaux. The bridge
has been nicknamed ‘le Pont Ba-Ba’. At the end of October 2012, the bridge officially became the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas (or Pont Chaban-Delmas), named after a former mayor of Bordeaux.
On 1st January 2013, though only 20,000 souvenir bracelets had been made, 38,000 locals and ‘foreigners’ from neighbouring departments promenaded on the new bridge during six hours.
Bordeaux straddles the river Garonne, as it approaches
the Atlantic Ocean.
Map locating past, present and future
bridges at Bordeaux hover
with your mouse, clickable links change to a hand icon colour code for labels - past: blue; current: green; future:
Currently, going downstream, the functioning
bridges at Bordeaux are:
Pont François Mitterrand, opened in 1993
The Pont d’Aquitaine and the Pont François Mitterrand
are part of the rocade [ring road] around Bordeaux.
Note that just upstream of the Pont Garonne is the Eiffel
Passerelle, now a historic monument.
Garonne, an railway bridge, opened in 2008, replacing the Passerelle
Eiffel [previous railway bridge]
TGV trains passing on Pont Garonne
Note that, because the Pont Garonne has been built so close
to the Passerelle Eiffel, in the photo above the upper, cross-hatched,
trellis part of the Passerelle Eiffel appears to be an upper part
of the Pont Garonne.
the Passerelle Eiffel (on the left) and the
the Pont Saint Jean, opened in 1965, just south of the Pont de
the Pont de Pierre [Stone
Bridge], built between 1819 and 1822 the is bridge has 17
arches, the number of letters in the name Napoleon Bonaparte,
who ordered its construction
Note that between the Pont de Pierre and the Pont d’Aquitaine
can be found the remains of the Bordeaux
Transbordeur bridge , in due course,  the Pont Bacalan-Bastide
Eiffel passerelle There is also the iron railway bridge,
the Passerelle Eiffel, completed by Gustave Eiffel in 1858 [his
first construction project, when he was 26 years old]. It has
been‘retired’ by cutting of the access at each end.
This bridge, in former days, was known as the metal bridge [le
pont metallique] and as the iron bridge [le pont de fer].
By the 20th century, an external footbridge
and access stairs had been added to the Passerelle Eiffel
The Eiffel Passerelle took trains to the Gare du Midi,
now called the Gare St-Jean.
Trams and horse-drawn taxis waiting for passengers
at the Gare du Midi
generations of trams at bordeaux
first tramway system in Bordeaux began in 1880 with horse-drawn
The horses were replaced, in due course, by a rudimentary
form of ground-level electricity supply as the means of propulsion.
By 1946, there were 38 tram lines, totalling 200 km, that carried
160,000 passengers a day.
1947, an anti-tram mayor, Jacques Chaban-Delmas, was elected and
the lines were closed one after another. The last line was closed
in 1958, because of their hindrance to cars and the annoying rails
set in the roads.
Despite the “all car” policy
being a disaster, Bordeaux had to wait for the election of a new
mayor, Alain Juppé in 1995 before the transport policy
would change. The modern tram system of Bordeaux opened in 2003,
with dedicated, separate tramlines. There is a ground-level power
supply in central Bordeaux to avoid unsightly overhead cabling,
so often to be seen in France, while in outer Bordeaux there are
grassed tracks and overhead lines.
To unite the two sides of the Garonne, the first
bridge built was the Pont de Pierre - the Stone Bridge. Towards
the end of the nineteenth century, it was decided to build a transporter
bridge, similar to those then recently built at Nantes and
Marseilles (both since demolished). Transporter bridges allow
large and tall ships to pass without hindrance. [The French for
transporter bridge is pont transbordeur.]
foundation stone of this Bordeaux transporter, or suspended car,
bridge was laid in 1910. But today there is almost no trace of
this bridge, once intended to be the biggest in the world of its