Last Friday Rob and I went for a day out and spent some of the time visiting the transbordeur de Martrou (Transporter Bridge) near Rochefort sur Mer. The bridge was built in 1900 by Ferdinand Arnodin, who built several in his time. The bridge at Rochefort is the only one left working in France, The rest were destroyed in WW2. Passengers and vehicles were pulled across on a platform, driven by steam. I was amazed at how quiet and smooth the trip was, although no longer powered in the same way.
Since I’ve been selling vintage postcards I’ve learnt to appreciate bridges. Look at the beautiful patterns of the girders. Mr Arnodin, who didn’t learn to read and write until he was nine because he used to play truant, loved solving problems.
The bridge was in use until 1967 and also appeared in the film 'The young Girls of Rochefort' (new link) released the same year (If you watch till the end you'll see how the bridge works). Now after being restored and made safe since the 1990s, tourists can cross back and forth, visit a very interesting exhibition about the bridge and explore the surrounding countryside.