The lifting bridge of La Seyne shipyard

Historical and industrial site

duration of the visit
15 min
bridge
view point

Site history

There are no more working French shipyards in the Mediterranean. That of La Seyne was close to the city center and the port and has been almost completely leveled. However, one curiosity has been preserved: the lifting bridge, which has been in operation for almost 70 years.

It was built between 1915 and 1917 according to plans by the Daydé company, which also built the Eiffel Tower. The lift bridge has been in operation since 1920 and has since marked the port of La Seyne, as most of the time the bridge is raised up. It is a railway bridge over which the shipyards south of the port were supplied. Above all, heavy basic materials for shipbuilding were transported. This transport used to be carried out on the road and in the port, which led to significant traffic jams. Of course, being raised allows ships to enter the harbor basin.

Incorrectly called a transporter bridge, it is more precisely a tipping bridge with a counterweight at the base. In La Seyne it was simply called Pont des Chantiers (shipyard bridge) for a long time. The Seyne shipyards went bankrupt in 1986 and that was also the year the bridge was last lowered. Since then it has stood tall and for a long time marked the place in a desolate state. The bridge was restored as a lookout between 2007 and 2009 and opened to the public in 2010.

Photo all rights reserved © by Alex Medwedeff. Photo taken 2021 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id6015)
sites photo

La Seyne harbour

Description

The bridge is south of the port behind the Hôtel Mercure. Access is free. There is an elevator, but there are also stairs. At the beginning of 2022, the elevator was out of service.

In the base of the bridge and upstairs are small exhibits.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2021 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id6013)
sites photo

Access to the former bridge behind the hotel

Access by public transport

La Seyne is easily accessible by public transport. If you arrive in Toulon by train, when leaving the station, keep left to go down Rue Dumont d'Urville. Pass the Place de la Liberté. South of the square is the bus stop of line 18 in the direction of Les Sablettes. In 20 minutes you can reach the La Seyne Port bus stop. When leaving you can already see the lifting bridge. Please note that bus services are restricted on public holidays.

You can also arrive by boat from the pontoon Toulon. Coming from the train station, go down Rue Dumont d'Urville as described above, cross the Grande Boulevard de Strasbourg to continue onto Avenue Jean Moulin. Turn left and walk down Place d'Armes. Follow Rue Louis Jourdan, turn right and go down to the big Avenue de la République. Go left to the next crosswalk, take the passage under the building opposite and you will immediately see the Ponton Toulon dock on the left. The number 8M shuttle provides quick access to Ponton La Seyne (one service every 30 minutes). At the port entrance you pass directly under the raised bridge. The ferry operates daily.

All available information can be found under Réseau Mistral.

Access by short walk

From the jetty, walk counter-clockwise around the harbor basin. So let's move away from the bridge first. We also walk along the southern quay (Gabriel Péri). Although we can see the bridge clearly again, we pass the hotel on the right. Otherwise we get stuck behind fences.

From the bus stop, walk back a bit to reach the harbor quay and follow the route to the bridge as above.

Access by car

From the motorway follow signs to La Seyne Centre, then Parking Martini. There is no parking near the lift bridge.

Parking site

The multi-storey car park Martini is chargeable.

Exit the car park towards the north and center and continue along Rue Amable Lagane to the port. Then follow the instructions above.

Oddities of the Bridge

The bridge is 60 meters long and the bridged harbor entrance is 40 meters wide. In the upscale and now definitive condition, the viewing platform is 42 meters high.

This bridge was slow to put into service once constructed because the mechanism often blocked in the closed or open position.

During one of the rare immobilisations of the bridge for works, the bridge standing horizontally blocked the exit from the port. A large crane lifted the steamers of the La Seyne Toulon line over the bridge.

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2021 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id6014)
sites photo

In front of the former lifting bridge in La Seyne

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Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2021 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id6017)
sites photo

Upper element of the lifting bridge

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2021 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id6016)
sites photo

An aircraft carrier, Mont Faron and Mont Coudon

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2021 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id6018)
sites photo

Staircase in the former lifting bridge

Photo by KmT under licence PD taken on the reference day 28 April 2022 and reproduced under the same conditions here. The reproduction is permitted without a written consent of the author. (id6021)
sites photo

The lifting bridge of La Seyne moving

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2021 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id6019)
sites photo

Old lifting mechanism of the bridge

Photo all rights reserved © by André M. Winter. Photo taken 2021 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id6020)
sites photo

Sign of Daydé company from 1916

Photo all rights reserved © by Alex Medwedeff. Photo taken 2021 during our field research for Provence-Guide.Net.
No reproduction is permitted without the written consent of the author. (id6012)
sites photo

The harbour and the old lifting bridge in La Seyne

Note

The information about this site was collected with the greatest care in 2022. Nevertheless, all information is provided without guarantee. Should you find any errors, please contact the author of this site, thank you!

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