On the outskirts of town, the Pont de Réginelle (or Réginal), popularly known as Pont de Langlois, spanned the Arles–Bouc canal. The spot attracted Vincent, with its combination of southern light, a Dutch-looking landscape and the oddly shaped bridge, which he thought looked Japanese, and he felt compelled to paint it. On 16 March 1888, he first wrote to his brother Theo about painting the bridge:
“...I brought home a no.15 canvas today, it’s a drawbridge, with a little carriage going across it, outlined against a blue sky — the river blue as well, the banks orange with greenery, a group of washerwomen wearing blouses and multicoloured bonnets.”
He was evidently pleased with his first painting of the bridge; on sending it to his brother, he said he was certain it would “be worth 500”.
Vincent did five more paintings and two drawings of the bridge during the spring of 1888.