Bridges in Paris
If I make a top of my favorite cities, I have no idea which position will it occupy, but Paris will be in it for sure.
I don’t know what it is. Perhaps the language, the history, fashion, museums, Ladurée, wines, cheeses, the old books by the Seine, Notre Dame… but I love this city!
I’ve been to Paris few times. The third time I actually stayed for almost 3 months during fall. The nice cold weather, the colorful carpet at the parks because of the leaves… love it! And every time I go, I discover more things. I’m sure I haven’t seen everything yet.
However, there is one little detail, even when they are big and some of them gorgeous and interesting, we might notice them, heard few stories, but maybe, barely pay attention. The bridges!
Since the first time when I visited Paris, I remember with the tour I took to go through the river, they mentioned Pont-Neuf and Pont Alexandre III and I know Pont de l’Alma is close to the tunnel with the same name, where Princess Diana had that terrible accident.
So I decided, during my last trip to Paris, to get to know the bridges. Or most of them.
In Paris you have bridges and passerelles piétonnières – bridges only for pedestrians – . Some very interesting, other beautiful and few that… well.. just didn’t catch my eye at all.
The main bridges in the City of Light, were built or rebuilt in the 19th century. In 1900, for the Universal Exposition in the city, it was inaugurated to celebrate the new Franco-Russian alliance, the Pont Alexandre III. I believe is one of the most charming bridges in the city. If walking by Champs-Élysées, by the Grand Palais you’ll find the bridge which holds various shining statues of nymphs and angels, and various lamps.
One thing you’ll find in bridges and passerelle, it might be interesting, specially for tourists – I actually don’t like it – but people hang padlocks. It supposed to be ‘love padlocks’. I mean, I know Paris is known as the city of love, a very romantic city indeed, but I believe those padlocks take away the beauty of each bridge. But well…
I don’t remember if the first one I saw with those padlocks was the Pont des Arts (which it’s actually only for pedestrians) or Passerelle Solférino. You can actually see the majority with names on them, some names are even carved, some are huge padlocks and you’ll even find chains for the bikes. The other bridge I saw, and this one was full of it, the Pont de l’Archevêché. You can find Pont des Arts between Institut de France and the gorgeous Louvre. Pont de l’Archevêché is behind Notre Dame, crossing from Latin Quartier to the square Jean XXIII.
Passerelle Solférino or Passerelle des Tuileries is one of my favorite, because you can actually sit on benches and just take few minutes away to relax. I also like the design and the view, to one side part of the Louvre and Jardín des Tuileries, to the other side more bridges as Pont Royal and Pont de la Concorde. At this bridge, close to the Musée D’Orsay, there is a statue of Thomas Jefferson.
Let’s go back in time and meet the oldest bridge in Paris. Although, it’s name has nothing to do with time: Pont Neuf (New Bridge). The construction of this one begun in 1578 and it was finished in 1607. In the middle, you will find a statue of Henry IV. This one connects the Île de la Cité, the island where Notre Dame is located, to Quai de Conti and Quai de la Mégisserie (streets by the Seine).
Part of the Pont de la Tournelle was under water after high flood waters rose in 1910. In the 1920s it was finally rebuilt. If walking from Institut du Monde Arabe to Notre Dame you’ll find this bridge to your right. From there, you can take nice pictures of Pont de l’Archevêché, Notre Dame and all the boats cruising the Seine.
Obviously, if visiting the capital of France, I believe one of the first spot people want to see is the Eiffel Tower. Right in front of it, there is the Pont d’Iéna connecting the area of the tower to Jardins du Trocadero. Actually, this bridge, where you can find few attractions as a small carrousel and take Seine tours, was made by orders of Napoleon I overlooking the École Militaire in 1807 and it was opened in 1814. Little he knew that the beautiful Eiffel Tower will block that view from the bridge to the school in 1889 when it was finished.
Few steps away, you’ll find Pont de Bir-Hakeim, which has a bottom level for pedestrians and automobiles, and the top one is for the metro. Together with the Pont de Grenelle and Pont Rouelle (only for railway), they share a small island in the Seine, Île aux Cygnes. By the Pont de Grenelle, there is a small replica of the Statue of Liberty.
There are more bridges to see and stroll by. Each with different architecture, design and history. If staying in Paris for various day, while visiting the main sites and areas you want to see, you should check out every bridge and get to know about this amazing city that has a lot to offer you. And… if you can… you can take me there! 🙂