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Monday, February 24, 2014

the bridges of paris

Not surprisingly, Paris's bridges live up to the romantic, charismatic and dramatic neighbourhoods they join together. Like rungs on a ladder, a pretty stylish ladder mind you, the most beautiful bridges that cross the river Seine are easy to experience as you walk through your Paris travel guide. With 34 bridges in total, there are types of all kinds to see; suspension, masonry, gold, iron. See for are but a few.

Pont Royal
Louis XIV commissioned the Pont Royal, one of Paris's oldest bridges, 
at the same time he was constructing the Palace of Versailles. It was finally completed in 1689 in the same spot where a wooden toll bridge had been erected to replace the Tuileries ferry. After being repeatedly rebuilt following fire or flood, the new construction out of stone has weathered the test of time.

Pont Royal
In 1804, at the beginning of the First French Empire, Napoleon changed its name to Pont National, installing cannons on the bridge to protect the state buildings on either side. That name nor cannons remain.

Pont de Bir-Hakeim

With impressive iron sculptures by Gustave Michel that hang in suspended animation, the Pont de Bir-Hakeim consists of one level for the Paris Métro and one for vehicles and pedestrians.
Pont de Bir-Hakeim

The Pont de Bir-Hakeim was named to commemorate the Battle between Free French Forces and the German Afrika Korps in 1942.

Pont de Bir-Hakeim

The Statue of Liberty, a pint-sized version, stands on the far side of the bridge, on the island it crosses. It was a gift to the city from the American community who call Paris home. 

Gustave Eiffel (you may have heard of him) designed and built not only his namesake tourist attraction in Paris, but also engineered the skin for Miss Statue of Liberty. Anyone who has seen Miss Liberty can tell you that she has a flawless, and apparently, hearty complexion.
Pont des Invalides

With two mason sculptures, the Land Victory on one side and the Maritime Victory on the other, the Pont des Invalides, is the lowest bridge lying across the Seine, and my personal favourite.
Pont de l'Alma

He is affectionately called, "le zouave", meaning 'fool' or 'clown''. He is steadfast, loyal, and keeps track of the Seine's water levels. Parisians go to him to see if the water is getting dangerously high, as in the great flood of 1910 when only his head was peeking out.
Pont de la Concorde

The Pont de la Concorde connects the Quai des Tuileries at the Place de la Concorde with the Quai d'Orsay on the left bank, and is Paris's hardest working bridge.
Pont Alexandre III

If it's luxury you're looking for when you're coming to Paris, then you will find it on the Pont Alexandre III. It connects the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower quarters, so naturally it would be adorned with extravagant golden cherubs, nymphs and winged horses.
Pont Alexandre III
Named after Tsar Alexander of Russia, the first stone was laid by his son, Nicholas II, in 1896. The bridge was completed four years later and leads to the Grande Palais.

Pont des Arts

Over the past many years, bridges the world over have become lovers' hotspots for committing their love to each other. You take one padlock, two keys and two hearts; secure lock on to bridge railing pledge undying love to your partner and toss the keys into the river. No lovers bridge is as famous or more popular than Pont des Arts...a city council nightmare.
Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor

Architect and engineer, Marc Mimram, designed this pedestrian crossing spaning the Seine without the use of a single pier. A recent construction, but unique in its light and seemingly magical design, the Passarelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, will guide you seemlessly into the enchanting Jardins de Tuileries. 
Pont Neuf

A bridge that could write a thousand books. The Pont Neuf is Paris's oldest and most experienced bridge. City life centered around the Pont Neuf during the 18th century, with every important festival, event or activity happening here. The bridge was one of the first designed with pavements to protect pedestrians from mud or carriages.

But, more importantly, the Pont Neuf was the site of possibly the world's first photograph of people in 1839. Barely unrecognizable, two workers are lying under the statue of Henry IV's shadow. C'est incroyable!


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