Before the bridge was built in 1870, people had to use a ferry to cross the river Vézère in Saint-Viance. It was a large 9 metre boat called a “Nau” and could transport up to 25 passengers, 6 large animals or foodstuff. Passengers had to pay a fare and the trip across the river was quite risky, especially when the water flow was intense.
In 1866, a group of townspeople joined the parish priest Abbott Nauche, and created an association called Société de construction du pont de Saint-Viance. (The bridge of Saint-Viance building society). These volunteers gathered private funds and the construction began. But the following autumn, the whole thing was carried away by a flood. The town then decided to help the association financially. Thus, the 3 arch local stone bridge was built.
After much financial turmoil, the bridge was finally finished in the autumn of 1870.