Medieval Valentre Bridge in Cahors, France

Back in late Autumn of 1985, I was travelling through France to Spain. On my way to Spain, I passed through Cahors and had a glimpse of a medieval bridge across River Lot.

It was cold, I went out of the coach and quickly took a picture of this medieval bridge, without even knowing the name or exact location of the bridge.

It was early in the morning. There was a reflection of the bridge in the river but was obscured somewhat by a layer of mist floating just above the river.Scan10007

Only recently, I found out from Wikipedia the following information about the bridge:

The Pont Valentré (Occitan: Pont de Balandras; English: Valentré Bridge) is a 14th-century six-span fortified stone arch bridge crossing the Lot River to the west of Cahors, in France. It has become a symbol of the city. After the decision was made to build it on 30 April 1306, construction began on 17 June 1308.[1] It was built between 1308 and 1378 with six Gothic arches and three square towers.[2] It opened for use in 1350.[1] It was originally fortified at both ends, but the western tower has not survived.[3

A sepia of the same image is shown below for comparison.Scan10007A

I am happy to have found out more about this bridge. . .. . . a bridge I will remember from now on.

165 thoughts on “Medieval Valentre Bridge in Cahors, France

  1. That has got to be the finest medieval bridge in France. A lovely older film capture – the reflection and mist really make this a very interesting photo. It is difficult to choose between the colour and sepia images, as each has slightly different good qualities. For me the colour wins, because of the subtly of colour tone of the early morning light.

    I recently started my photo blog, and your regular posting of scanned earlier film photos is something I intend to emulate – I have a few that would be worth sharing.

    • In my retirement, I am digging out old photos to see if they deserve to be shared; it is a regret that I didn’t keep many of my old photos – they can be scanned and made good, if necessary. Thank you 🙂

  2. Hi Michael, I love the photo, as much for the image itself, but also my own memory that goes with it. We traveled through the Lot Valley by car in 1998 and it was lunchtime when we reached Cahor, and we were very hungry. Near the bridge, I think on the same side of the river as you have taken your photograph, we found a small cafe with plenty of cars outside and lots of chatter coming from within. The cafe was full. When we walked through the door a sudden hush came over the place as though strangers were a totally new phenomenon to them. However, we were welcomed and the chatter returned. The meal was memorable as it was 7 courses of beautiful French country cooking for only about USD $25 per head, including wine! Thanks for the memory. Chris G

    • Hi Chris, thanks for liking the photo. At my age, I can still clearly remember many moments in the distant past; for instance, the circumstances under which this photo was taken. However, I am starting to forget where I have put some of my documents etc. Maybe, there is some sort of exercise which can train the brain . . . like Mahjong which I don’t particularly like.
      Regards, Michael

    • The determination and effort to still keep building it using the skills / materials available at the time is tremendous. Thank you 🙂

  3. Wow! A Bridge to remember! What a romantic idea. Your photography skills had been built long time ago? Good pictures can have a lifetime to remember! Thanks for sharing.
    BTW, I like your writing …do write more apart from posting pictures. I remember you told me you had changed. Change back! …for a good reason…because your readers like it!

    • I have my first Nikon FE camera in 1982 and that’s when I started photographing. But I didn’t take many photos; only during trips which were few and far between. My photographing skills are mainly developed in the last few years. As noted in my “About” page, I only wrote emails / proposals and have a technical education. I am glad that you like my writing. Uploading a few photos is relatively easy, but putting good meaning into those words is still difficult for me. Any how, I will try to write more to support the images and my moods. Thank you for your continued support and kind comments 🙂

    • Thank you for a long reply, Michael. If technical people can write as good as you, particularly that you are bilingual (at least…or may be multilingual), you should be proud of yourself. 31 years’ experience in photography! Wow! That’s really something! BTW, if you write good proposals, it means you are very much “wanted”. Perhaps your proposals are as good as your photography! Good luck to your next proposal-writing!

    • Although I started taking photos in the 1980s, but in those days, the cost of film, processing, photo development were relatively high, I didn’t take many photos. I would guess the number of photos I took in the last 5 years exceeds the number of photos in the previous 25 years. I only wrote some proposals before my retirement, now the only thing I write are emails and this blog. Thank you for the kind words 🙂

  4. In sepia the scene has a mystical feel. Imagination creates thoughts about who crossed the bridge and what events it has witnessed.

    • Hi Karen, the use of masonry and putting them into arches (so all stones are in compression) have existed for many centuries; but this bridge is aesthetically stunning! Thank you 🙂

  5. The sepia version is magical….I love it…It contains the history of the old bridge…It is like if we were travelling back through the time and the centuries….

  6. beautiful photos and how lucky to find this information. I love the work you do with the sepia, I never have such luck, too much brown for me. You always seem to get just the right balance (speaking this and other of your sepia photos.)

  7. Michael, your photograph is remarkable and your post is so beautiful. Your words are always filled with hope and light. Thank you for visiting my blog. I always smile whenever you stop by 🙂 x

    • They were kept as slides. I note that the other photos kept has film have all gone. With every old photo I post, I know I will have less and less old but good photo to post in the future! Thank you 🙂

  8. Hi Michael. I enjoyed your photo of Seville and this one today. After viewing this one, I read the comments. I agree with others that your photography and writing are both important parts of your presentation. But I want to encourage you to feel free to post whatever moves you. Your fans will enjoy it all. I’m grateful to have found your blog. Seems like I’ve connected to other good blogs from your blog as well. But, yours is still most memorable for me.

    • Hi, this is the strongest voice I heard so far for liking my writings and it is indeed the biggest encouragement. Since my retirement, I am more with my inner self and I think I am able to express myself more clearly and I will do that in the future. Thanks very much for this and hope you will have a great week ahead 🙂

    • Hi. I’m happy to hear that, Michael. I’m honored to be a source of encouragement to you. It’s strange for me to see here that your comment came in over two weeks ago. That is too long for me to go without attending my blog. I’m finding a real connection with a few people through this blog. As, I said before, you are at the top of the list.

      Your writing is perfectly clear. It very much helps me in thinking about the photos. Some of your impressions convey what I’m already thinking about the photo, and that makes me imagine being there. Always, your artistic comments draw my attention to features within the scene that I may not realize that I am seeing. Your more technical comments also help me understand a little more about photography.

      I know getting these photographs must have taken some patience. Going through them to present here for us is also a labor of love, so to speak. Do feel encouraged that your efforts at writing in English are every bit as impressive as your photographs. 🙂

    • Hi day3of, again very encouraging comments! I sometimes like to highlight something in the photo as, given the size, readers may miss them. Also, some of my description relate to my mood / thought, the very reason for taking the image. I am glad that you like both my photos and the narrative; more importantly, you appreciate the effort each blogger puts in just for the shake of sharing. Thank you and have a great week end 🙂

  9. Wonderful image, looks like you’ve been almost everywhere. Good thing you had the mind to take a picture of anything you saw that was beautiful or you wouldn’t have been sharing these with us now.

    • Hi, there are still a lot of places I have never been to and wanted to go. I am glad to be able to share this image after checking out where the bridge was . . . I didn’t know it all along. Thank you 🙂

  10. I love this shot, Michael. And, while I’m a big fan of monochrome conversion, I actually think this one works a bit better in color.

    I would love to see another B&W conversion filtered for orange, just to see how it would lighten the bridge and slightly darken the sky, but that might darken the vegetation too much.

    • Hi RDoug, I agree, for this image, the color one is better. I will try what you suggested and see the result before deciding whether I would post again. Thank you 🙂

  11. The gray sky and the mist are perfect for this medieval bridge…gives kind of a spooky medieval feeling, as I imagine that as a kind of dismal period in European history.
    I like the information you have included.

    • Hi Marilyn, the atmosphere and setting for that image does remind us of the dismal period in European history. Glad that you like the post. Thank you 🙂

    • I don’t think I have successfully converted it into sepia; some further work is required. I agree the original is better. Thank you ; have a great weekend 🙂

    • Ni hao from Toulouse, France! 🙂 I do confirm that my country is beyond wonderful and pittoresque… 🙂 Cahors is 2h-drive from here and the Cahors wines are super! 🙂
      – – –
      Glad to have come across your amazing blog… I was in HK 3 years ago, after Sapporo, Hokkaido…
      Been to Japan and Taiwan 4 times, do hope to return there some day… My very best, tons of inspiration and respectful regards, Mélanie

    • Ni hao. Glad to receive response from France. I did pass through Toulouse. Your country has a lot of beautiful places, I like in particular, the castles along the Loire river. Hope you will pass this way again. Thank you 🙂

    • Hi there from here! 🙂 You may know that Toulouse is the European capital of space and aviation…

      I’ve just noticed the spelling of your post: it’s CAHORS, not Carhors… 😉
      Speakin’ of France, Germans and Dutch love France, they have a saying:”we all have 2 countries: ours and France!” 🙂 There’s a German expression: to live like a god in France… 🙂

      My very best, Mélanie

    • Hi Melanie, thank you very much for the information; I have now corrected the spelling on the post. I would think France and China have the best cuisine. Thanks for the perusal and the comment 🙂

  12. You’ve transported me with you in this stunning shot; I can feel the mist and the early morning chill as I come upon the bridge unexpectedly – my horse stopping short as if captivated as well. An entire story from my imagination because of your talent!

    • Hi Theresa, you have described it very well; I was also transported in time when I visited the bridge. I love reading your About page as well Many thanks for the encouraging comment 🙂

  13. Hi Michael – I love your work and the photos above are no exception (though I am not a huge fan of sepia:). It is very interesting to read a little about your life because it is in many ways quite similar to mine. My first camera was an old Minolta and I eventually graduated up to a Minolta XD-11. I most likely wouldn’t recall this except that I still own it and it still works. Like you, I have some, but not many of the photos from my early days. Like you the cost was prohibitive. I enjoyed photography and was probably a pretty good amateur when the cost of the film (or slides, which I used a lot) and the cost of making prints just became less of of priority than other things in my life. It isn’t that I stopped taking pictures entirely, but a lower cost, less intimidating camera better served the snapshots I was more likely to take. The advent of digital photography combined with an accessible digital darkroom (with the remarkable tools we have in it today) has changed everything for me. I took up photography with a new enthusiasm and a more mature eye about 10 years ago after first going through a. digital video production phase,

    Unfortunately, I am not yet old enough to retire and I became partially disabled a few years ago. My disability has given me more to with my photography so while it has been the source of great frustration, at least there has been the solace of, upon occasion, creating a beautiful image. My disability make it somewhat hard for me to get around, however, it has been as much of a blessing as not since it has forced me to look at what is close to home — often in my backyard or just down the street — for inspiration. I have been able to find magic in the mundane on occasion and that is very satisfying.

    Like you, I find it difficult to write,. While my former full-time work gave me a great fluency with a certain type of writing (i.e., I drafted and negotiated complex contracts involving the licensing of intellectual property and related professional services principally in the information technology area), there was little creativity involved. Now I have a much freer hand over what I write, but I think more slowly than I used to and while it is is so very satisfying to write something well, it is done only because it is a labor of love and not because it comes easily to me.

    Well, I hope I have not bored you too much.

    • Hi beluga 53, I still remember the days when film / processing/ camera are costly and that hinders my photography development. In those days, even the films and pictures developed are not of very good quality and for this reason, I didn’t keep many of my old photos/ films; the ones that were kept are mainly slides. I am glad that we can now take as many pictures as we want, deleting those we don’t want. I still rarely use post processing software mainly because I am not that conversant at using them.

      I am glad that I can still go around; maybe just because this is still the early phase of my retirement; I am grateful for that.
      On writing in English, sometimes, I still have to struggle with my grammar.

      Very nice “meeting” you and hope that we will be in touch 🙂
      Regards, Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      As an teacher of English as a second language you do very well Michael. If you were in a class of mine I believe you would most likely be placed in an advanced class. That is unless your pronunciation is poor which I doubt.

      And I like the sepia version better even though both are really good. And I agree, digital can accelerate learning photography if you are willing to learn from your mistakes.

      I have a box full of slides that I have to sort through and digitize the ones I like before I move to Chile. I’m not carrying those around anymore.


    • Hi Wooly and Raeski,
      Thank you for your kind words on my English; I am glad that blogging has allowed me keeping up with the language in my retirement.
      I do agree the sepia is a bit more dreamy and surreal.
      You have pointed out accurately that digital photography can accelerate the process of improving the skill; at least, I found that my skills improved a lot in the digital age.
      I have seen your photos on flamingos and love them. Hope I have a chance to visit Chile too.
      Safe travels and have a good time in Chile 🙂

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