The bridges or ponts of Paris!

 

 

On a cloudy rainy day with temps in the 15C in my neck of the woods and about the same in Paris, I have become nostalgic maybe even romantic to write about Paris and its bridges. Lots of beauty, romance and history on the bridges of Paris; they numbered about 37 over the Seine river.

We all have our favorites, I happened to have passed by them all either by car or on foot or both ways over the years. The Bridges of Paris or Les Ponts de Paris are sublime. One old record from the city of Paris shows that there are 37 bridges over the Seine river, 58 bridges over Parisien streets, 10 bridges used by the trains RATP, 33 bridges used by the trains SNCF, 148 bridges over the boulevard Périphérique beltway road around Paris, and 49 pedestrian bridges!!

Of the 37 bridges over the Seine , 5 are pedestrians and 2 are train bridges. 3 link the Île Saint Louis to the rest of Paris and 8 do the same for the île de la Cité, and one link the islands. The 37 are:

Pont Amont at the edge of the river entry to the city in the boulevard Périphérique; Pont National, Pont de Tolbiac, Passarelle Simone de Beauvoir (pedestrian), Pont de Bercy (railroad bridge carrying line 6 of the Métro and another lane for road traffic); Pont Charles de Gaulle, viaduct d’Austerlitz (railroad bridge on line 5 of the Métro ) following the rive droite by the viaduct du quai de la Rapée; Pont d’Austerlitz, Pont de Sully (eastern edge of ïle Saint Louis), Pont de la Tournelle (between rive gauche and ïle Saint Louis); Pont Marie (between Ïle Saint Louis and the rive droite); Pont Louis Philippe (between ïle Saint Louis and the rive droite, Pont Saint Louis (pedestrian between ïle Saint Louis and ïle de la  Cité); Pont de l’Archevêché (between the rive gauche and ïle de la Cité); Pont au Double (between rive gauche and ïle de la Cité); Pont d’Arcole (between ïle de la Cité and rive droite); Petit Pont (between rive gauche and ïle de la Cité), Pont Notre Dame (between ïle de la Cité and the rive droite); Pont Saint MIchel (between rive gauche and île de la Cité), Pont au Change (between ïle de la Cité and the rive droite); Pont Neuf, (oldest bridge at western tip of ïle de la Cité; Passerelle des Arts (pedestrian), Pont du Carrousel, Pont Royal, Passerelle Léopold Sédar Senghor (formerly passerelle de Solférino); Pont de la Concorde, Pont Alexandre III, Pont des Invalides, Pont de l’Alma, Passerelle Debilly (pedestrian); Pont d’Iéna, Pont de Bir-Hakeim (crossing île aux Cygnes with Métro line 6 and another road traffic lane); Pont Rouelle ( train viaduct of RER C crossing ïle aux Cygnes); Pont de Grenelle (crossing ïle aux Cygnes), Pont Mirabeau, Pont du Garigliano, and Pont Aval (boulevard Périphérique at river exit from the city) . Voilà!!

Out of all of these , I have my favorites of course, listed here with some notes.

Pont de la Tournelle : The first bridge built on the site was completed in 1620. The present-day bridge dates from 1928. A tall pylon flanks the bridge, topped by a statue of St. Geneviève, the Patron Saint of Paris.

Pont Marie:  Built in 1614-1635, : the bridge is one of the oldest in Paris. It is named after its lead engineer Christophe Marie.

Pont au Double:  There has been a bridge spanning the river on the site from 1626. The latest version, a single arch cast-iron bridge, dates from 1883. The bridge connects the left bank with the Île de la Cité and leads directly to the Place du Parvis Notre Dame, right in front of the Notre Dame Chathedral.

Pont au Change: Linking the Île de la Cité to the Right Bank, the first version of the bridge dated to the 9C  . It bears the initials of Emperor Napoleon III. Today’s bridge was built in 1860 as a masonry arch bridge and connects the Châtelet Square with the Conciergerie at the ïle de la Cité. Its name is derived from the goldsmiths and jewellers that had their shops here between the 14C-17C.

Pont Neuf : Ironically this is the city’s oldest bridge, built in 1607. At the time of its construction the Pont Neuf (which means ‘new bridge’) was the first bridge in Paris with no houses built upon it. The bridge connects the left bank with the right bank over the western tip of the ïle de la Cité.

Pont des Arts (Passarelle des Arts)  The footbridge offers one of the most romantic views of Paris. In the distance the Île de la Cité can be seen and the medieval-looking bridge of Pont-Neuf which links the Right and Left banks.

Pont Alexandre III :  The bridge named after the Tsar of Russia was built during the Belle Époque opened just in time for the Universal Exposition of 1900. The bridge is decorated with lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs. Tall pillars on either side of the bridge are topped with large gilded statues, and connects the Invalides to the Grand and Petit Palais.

Passerelle Debilly :  This pedestrianized built in 1900. :It offers spectacular views over the Eiffel Tower.

Pont d’Iéna : The bridge dates from 1814. It is very famous for its remarkable position, linking the Trocadéro to the Eiffel Tower and Champ-de-Mars. It was named after the German city of Jena (Iéna in French) where Napoléon had defeated the Prussian army in 1806. The statues were added in 1853 and in 1937 the bridge was widened to 35m (115ft).

Pont de Bir-Hakeim:  The particularity of the double-decked bridge from 1878 and 1905 is that it was designed for both road and métro traffic.

Pont de Grenelle : The bridge is a bland modern steel bridge built in 1966. The bridge passes along the southern tip of the Île des Cygnes (Swan Island) where you find a replica of the Statue of Liberty. The 9 meter high statue was given as a present from the United States, who had earlier received the original Statue of Liberty as a gift from France.

Pont de la Concorde: The Pont de la Concorde (Bridge of Concord) leads from the Place de ma Concorde to the Palais Bourbon, home of the French Parliament’s lower house. Already planned in 1725, the bridge was built after much delay, between 1787 and 1791. The width of the bridge was doubled in 1932 to 34m (112ft) to accommodate the increasing traffic.

Pont d’Arcole: The first permanent bridge connecting the City Hall of Paris (Hôtel de Ville) and the Île de la Cité was built in 1828. This small pedestrian bridge with a central pillar was replaced by a wider and stronger bridge in 1854. The for its time advanced bridge with no central pillar still stands today.

Of course , the history of these bridges has a lot more to offer and tell, they are magical on its own. As an example for the curious I will expand on the Pont Saint Michel.

The construction of the bridge of St Michael or pont Saint Michel was ordered in 1378 and finished in 1387; to link the ïle de la Cité with the rive gauche (left bank) of the Seine. It took the name of St Michel for a small chapel that occupied the southwest angle of the court or cour de la Sainte Chapelle in the interior of the Justice palace (palais de la justice). It was broken by the ices cold front of 1408, 1547 and 1616 rebuilt in stones as well as in wood, it was necessary to rebuilt it with stone the year 1616 for a company that won the right to built 32 houses that were still visible in the first years of the 20C, and were not demolished from a decree order of emperor Napoléon Ier,in  1807  from the war field of Tilsitt. The pont Saint-Michel is held by four arches in the center, of 61 meters and wide of 25 meters between the heads. On each column there is a N in capital letter inscrits on the stone to remind us of the reign of emperor Napoléon III.

You can see more in the Paris tourist office in English here:  https://en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/themed-guides/Paris-a-fabulous-heritage/visiting-parisian-outdoor-heritage/Paris-the-Seine-with-its-bridges-and-footbridges

And more beautiful photos and history site Paris1900 that I used a lot here for my belle France and now sharing with the world. http://paris1900.lartnouveau.com/paris_les_ponts.htm

Gorgeous photos on the bridges of Paris above!!!

Paris

Enjoy the bridges of Paris whether you are just walking around or driving on them as I do both, it is sublime , see Paris above ground. Please walk Paris ,if still driving makes it difficult for you, then take transports in and walk walk walk Paris; as my other posts said, Paris is an open air Museum !!! Enjoy your weekend. Cheers

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments to “The bridges or ponts of Paris!”

  1. That’s an awful lot of bridges! And I thought Moissac’s Pont Canal and Le Pont Napoleon were impressive!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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