Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Chronicles from Paris | Les Ponts de Paris

Austerlitz Bridges and Bercy Bridge 

Paris has more than 30 bridges crossing the Seine and most of them are truly works of art. Walking along the river and crossing from one bank to the other is a great way to see the bridges, but a river cruise can be one of the best ways to have a great view of the city from the water and, of course, a privileged view of its numerous bridges.


If you hop on the boat close to the Eiffel Tower (I did!) and sail in the direction of Île de la Cité, one of the first you can see is Passarelle Debilly. This pedestrian bridge was built at the beginning of the 20th century and offers spectacular views over the Eiffel Tower.


Built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, the Pont Alexandre III is one of the most spectacular bridges in Paris, both for its architecture and decoration and for its location, connecting the Invalides (on the left bank) and the Grand Palais and Petit Palais (on the right bank). At the extremities you can see four 17 meters high pylons crowned with gilt bronze sculptures of winged horses. The views one can enjoy from the bridge are overwhelming, making it not only a great place to stroll but also a privilege view point of the city.


The Pont des Arts has become one of the most mediated bridge of Paris due to the locks of love couples left on it. Built in the first years of the 19th-century, this was the first iron bridge of the city. As its reserved for pedestrians, this footbridge is a great place to stroll and to take some photos, namely of the |Ile da la Cité and of Pont Neuf. If you go on a romantic trip, this is a must go place (maybe you can take a lock and make a love promise in Paris!).


Although its name means New Bridge, the Pont Neuf is considered to be the oldest stone bridge in Paris, having being commissioned by Henri IV in 1578. Consisting of two spans, the bridge connects both banks via the Île de la Cité. Crossing this bridge to the island can be a great way to start a visit to  all the interesting attractions that it houses.


Pont Saint-Michel is a stone bridge linking the Place Saint-Michel on the left bank  to the Île de la Cité, near the Sainte Chapelle. Across the Île, the very similar Pont au Change links to the right bank. Although it has been initially built in the 14th century, it was reconstructed several times, the latest in 1857.


The Pont Notre-Dame links the right bank, in front of the Hotel de Ville,  with the Île de la Cité, in front of the Marché aux Fleurs et Oiseaux. This bridge stands in the place where the first bridge was built in the city. Since then,  it has been destroyed and reconstructed numerous times. The current structure, in stone and metal was inaugurated in 1919.


The Pont au Double links the left bank, in front of Square René Vivian, at the Quartier Latin,  with the Île de la Cité, in front of Notre Dame. This lovely bridge derives its name from the toll amount which was charged for its crossing in the 17th-century - a "double" denier. In the 18th-century the bridge collapsed and was rebuilt. In 1880's, the bridge was replaced by the one arch cast-iron bridge that you can see now.


The Pont des Arts isn't the only one that welcomes loving couples. The narrow Pont de l'Archevêché
is also one of the preferred spots for couples that want to immortalize their love vows. This bridge, reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, links the Île de la Cité to the left bank at the 5th arrondissement.


The Pont Louis-Philippe is located in the 4th arrondissement, and links the Île Saint-Louis with the Saint-Gervais neighborhood on the right bank. The current structure of this arched bridge was inaugurated in 1862. The spandrels are decorated with stone laurel wreaths surrounding metallic rosettes. On the background of the photo you can see Pont Marie.


The Pont de Sully is, in reality, two separate bridges meeting on the eastern tip of the Île Saint-Louis, linking the island to both the left and right banks of the river. Rebuilt by Baron Haussmann after the French Revolution, as part of Haussmann's renovation of Paris, it opened on 25 August 1877. Designed with an angle of about 45 degrees to the river banks, the Pont de Sully offers one of the loveliest views of the quay at Île Saint-Louis and of Notre Dame Cathedral.

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