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Petit Pont

Pont au Change

Pont Notre Dame

Pont Saint-Michel

Pont au Double

Pont d’Arcole

Pont de l’Archevêché

Pont Saint-Louis

Pont Louis-Philippe

Pont Marie

Pont de la Tournelle

Pont de Sully

Pont Neuf


Petit Pont

Current bridge opened in 1853

This is the oldest historical crossing-point on the Seine. Julius Caesar’s memoir from 52 BCE contains the first historical mention of the Petit Pont, but archeological evidence suggests the earliest Parisians may have placed a bridge here three hundred or more years earlier.


Pont au Change

Current bridge opened in 1860

It was over this bridge that the kings and queens of France were accustomed to pass upon their public entries into the capital. In 1389, when Isabella of Bavaria, consort of King Charles VI, arrived in Paris, a man descended on a rope fastened to one of the towers of Notre Dame, and while she was passing over the Pont au Change, placed a crown upon her head.


Pont Notre-Dame

Current bridge opened in 1919

Local boat captains used to call the Pont Notre-Dame the Pont du Diable, “Devil’s Bridge,” because its narrow arches made navigation difficult, causing numerous collisions. The devilish bridge in question was built in 1853 during Baron Haussmann’s reconstruction of Paris.


Pont Saint-Michel

Current bridge opened in 1857

The fourth permanent bridge built in Paris completed the second direct north-south crossing between the Île de la Cité and both banks of the river.


Pont au Double

Current bridge opened in 1883

The Pont au Double is only steps away from the front entrance of Notre-Dame Cathedral to the north, with the ancient Latin Quarter just across the river to the south. Benches are set up for enjoying the view and city life. Asthere are no motor vehicles on thebridge, it is a natural habitat for the flâneur, the keen if somewhat cool observer of urban life immortalized by the 19th-century poet Charles Baudelaire.


Pont d'Arcole

Current bridge opened in 1856

The first permanent bridge here was a passerelle, a suspension footbridge with two spans resting on a central pier in the river. It was named the Passerelle de Grève after the public square in front of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris’s city hall. The Place de Grève was renamed the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville in 1802, and has always been a center of political gatherings and protests. It was also a lively social spot where citizens gathered for public executions in medieval times.


Pont de l'Archevéché

Current bridge opened in 1828

The bridge’s name, the “Archdiocese Bridge,” comes from the archbishop’s palace once located between the Seine and Notre-Dame Cathedral, which has been the seat of the archdiocese of Paris for centuries. The bridge was built following riots by anticlerical protesters in 1831. An impassioned crowd marched to the archbishop’s palace and plundered the building, throwing its library’s books into the river.


Pont Saint-Louis

Current bridge opened in 1970

The bridge is simple and modern, without any architecturally remarkable features. The Pont Saint-Louis derives its beauty from a natural blending with the landscape. It is paired with its environment with the same sensitivity that a French chef or maître d’hôtel would match the right wine with an entrée.


Pont Louis-Philippe

Current bridge opened in 1833

The original bridge was built in part to commemorate the coronation of Louis Philippe, the “Citizen King,” who came to power after the revolution of 1830 deposed the final Bourbon monarch, Charles X. Louis Philippe laid the first stone a year before the bridge opened to traffic.


Pont Marie

Current bridge opened in 1670

The Pont Marie is built on one of the most beautiful locations on the Seine, just downriver from the spot where the Île Louvier was later merged into the Right Bank, creating a dramatic turn in the river. This bridge is also the second oldest in the city, an elegant Parisian lady accompanying her older, more conspicuous sibling, the Pont Neuf.


Pont de la Tournelle

Current bridge opened in 1928

The first bridge to be named Pont de la Tournelle was part of King Henri IV’s plan for urbanizing what became the Île Saint-Louis. The six- arch stone bridge opened in 1565, and was demolished and rebuilt after suffering considerable damage in the great flood of 1910.


Pont de Sully

Current bridge opened in 1876

Before the Pont de Sully was built, there were two pedestrian bridges on this site, the Passerelle Damiette, leading to the Right Bank, and the Passerelle de Constantine, leading to the Left. The bridge’s name honors Maximilien de Béthune, the Duc de Sully, finance minister under the great French King Henri IV. He directed the building of the Places des Vosges in the Marais and the Pont Neuf.


Pont Neuf

Current bridge opened in 1604

The Pont Neuf has been in the spotlight since its creation in 1604. It is the oldest still-standing bridge in Paris, and the oldest remaining bridge to be given the name “New Bridge.” A number of bridges were named “Pont Neuf ” when they were first built, but this one held on to the designation — signaling that a new way of life, a Renaissance, had come to the city.


© 2015 Citron Bay Press