Named in honor of the Rouen composer, this bridge was commissioned in 1955 to replace the nineteenth-century bridge destroyed during the war.
The pre-war bridge was immortalized on several occasions by the impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. One of his masterpieces showing his virtuosity in rendering light is preserved in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen.
On its site was a much older structure: the stone bridge built in 1160 by Mathilde the Empress. Long the only bridge in Rouen, it was from its deck that Joan of Arc’s ashes were scattered in the Seine after her execution at the stake on May 30, 1431. A marble plaque on the right bank bears the memory of this event.
The current bridge is a veritable concentration of outdoor art.Two massive stone statues have stood at each end since the late 1950s. On the north side, sculptor Jean-Marie Baumel depicted, on the one hand, the navigator Robert Cavelier de La Salle leading an expedition, and on the other, the Normans on a boat. While on the south bank, Georges Saupique chiseled allegories of the Ocean, the Seine and its tributaries.
Since 2007, a series of 10 bronze busts by Norman sculptor Jean-Marc de Pas has been installed on the bridge. They feature famous explorers such as Marco Polo, Jean de Béthencourt and Fernand de Magellan, who remind us of the opening of the port of Rouen to the world.