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Walk on Le Pont Neuf
I walked across this bridge so often that I got to take it for granted. But this last time across it, I was in a different frame of mind, I had not been to Paris for a long while and everywhere I went in the city, I was more aware of things. I took pics of stuff I never stopped to consider before.
This time, summer 2009, my senses were more alert than during my last trips there. Maybe I was influenced by my thoughts to bring something back to put on VT... Paris is such a rich city with special moments that beg to be remembered... Anyway, I walked across the Pont Neuf again and saw things differently, or with more attention this time. There was the great Samaritaine store looming ahead, like a boat gone aground... and the cyclists on the bridge, and especially, this midget woman in front of me, walking with such determination, carrying her bags. I was embarrassed to take a pic but finally did it. There are so many scenes of Paris that I could have photographed but didn't... for being embarrassed to do so... This time, I dared a bit, but still I was cautious not to be caught in the act.
Le Pont Neuf has a great history and means a lot to Paris lovers. It was wrapped up by Christo in 1985 and remains a favourite of Parisians. It's a favourite place for Parisians, it's a monument!
Oldest Bridge in Paris
The Pont Neuf was commissioned by Henry III in 1576.
Despite its name, which translates as New Bridge, it is now the oldest bridge in Paris.
Henry III was in tears when he laid the foundation stone for the bridge in May 1578.
This was because he had just returned from funeral services for two close friends who had been killed in duels. So, at first, the bridge was refered to as the "Bridge of Tears".
This was soon replaced with the name Pont Neuf because in its construction, Henry broke with tradition whereby all Parisian bridges had houses on them from one end to the other. No houses were to be built on this bridge.
Before the construction was finished Henry III was assassinated and the bridge was completed in 1604 by his successor Henry IV.
When Henry IV was assassinated in 1610 the Grand Duke of Tuscany presented his widow, Marie de Medicis, with a bronze horse as a memorial. The boat that transported the horse to France sank off the coast of Sardinia in 1613 and the horse went down with the ship. A year later it would be found and set on to Paris. It would be placed on the Pont Neuf rider-less for twenty-one years.
In 1635 Louis XIII had a statue make of his father Henry IV and placed him on the horse. This it would sit for the next 157 years.
In 1792, in the third year of the French Revolution, the Paris mobs took down the horse and the riding king. They smashed them both to bits. Most would go off to be melted down while the rest went into the Seine.
The Pont Neuf would remain without a statue until the return of the monarchy in 1814.
Louis XVIII then ordered a replica of the horse and Henry IV cast in bronze, using part of the melted down statue of Napoléon that had been on top of the Vendome column.
The caster was happy for the work, but also was a Bonapartist.
He is said to have placed a small statue of Napoléon in the right arm of Henry IV's right arm. In the belly of the horse he placed papers containing songs and celebrations from the Napoléonic era.
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Pont Neuf translates into "New Bridge". While it was a new bridge at one time, that time was about 400 years ago! These days, Vieux would be a little more accurate adjective as Pont Neuf is currently the oldest bridge on the Seine.
Unfortunately, the bridge was under renovation when I visisted Paris.
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Le Pont Neuf
LE PONT NEUF
I remember those I had no chance to know,
the famous unknown whose names the pavements
still mumble so low that none of the sacred
syllables comes to hurt the poem's ear.
The windy arches through which the bridges overlook,
it is the river Seine swirling near the Pont-Neuf
Beaudelaire slowly goes by, and Verlaine is smiling.
Through the sleeping city, passes history.
The Pont-Neuf (New Bridge) is a rather misleading name given that it's the city's oldest surviving bridge. It was built in 1607 for Henri IV, constructed of stone with 12 arches, and links the western tip of the Ile de la Cite with both banks of the river. It was the first bridge in Paris not to have houses built on it, and to have a proper pavement - usually pedestrians were expected to share the mud-filled road with horse traffic. Henri is commemorated with an equestrian statue halfway across and also lends his nickname to the square du Vert-Galant (where these photos are taken from), enclosed within the triangular stern of the island, reached via steps leading down behind the statue. (Vert-Galant means a 'green' or lusty gentleman, and refers to his amorous exploits!)
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Well, it was new at the time
The Pont Neuf (“New Bridge”) is a very solid and sturdy stone bridge which has withstood all the floods and high waters since 1607 without sustaining any serious damage. For this reason there is an expression in French “se porter comme le Pont Neuf”, which means that a person (usually an older person) is strong and in excellent health.
One reason the Pont Neuf has lasted so long is that they never built any houses on it. This was a sensation at the time, since before then all the bridges had houses on them – often very heavy houses that put stress on the bridge structure.
Another innovation at the time was that the Pont Neuf was the first street in Paris to have sidewalks. Before then, there was no safe place for pedestrians to walk, except an occasional rock at the side of the street where people could take refuge when a fast horse or horse-drawn carriage came along.
By now the Pont Neuf (“New Bridge”) is the oldest bridge in Paris, but of course it was new at the time.
If for some reason you want to count the number of bridges over the Seine in Paris, the Pont Neuf becomes a problem: do you count it as one bridge or two? Today it looks like two bridges with an island in between, but when the bridge was built the island was shorter. The bridge-builders lengthened the island by joining it up with some smaller islands, so they considered their extension of the island to be part of the bridge. And to this day both bridges share the same name, Pont Neuf.
You have the same problem with the Pont du Sully, at the upstream end of Île Saint-Louis. Again, there are two bridges with part of an island in between, but both bridges share the same name and were built together as part of the same project.
And what about Pont Saint Louis, which does not go all the way across the Seine, but just connects two islands?
Depending on what you count as what, there are 40, 41 or 42 bridges over the Seine in Paris. This includes the two ugly motorway bridges at the upper and lower ends of the city, since both of these are within the city limits.
Five (or six) of these bridges are particularly pleasant because they are free of motor traffic. These are:
• the new Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir, which connects the new National Library François Mitterrand with the new Parc du Bercy;
• the Pont Saint Louis (if you count it), connecting the Île Saint Louis with the Île de la Cité;
• the Pont au Double, connecting the left bank with the Cathedral Notre-Dame;
• the Pont des Arts, connecting the Louvre with the Institut de France;
• the Passerelle Solférino, connecting the Tuilerie Gardens with the Musèe d'Orsay;
• and the Passerelle Debilly, which leads to the Musée du quai Branly.
In some places you might read that there are only 37 bridges across the Seine in Paris, because in French they make a distinction between a pont (a bridge for cars) and a passerelle (a footbridge).
Third and fourth photos: These show the Pont Neuf and the nearby Samarataine bath house during the high water in the year 1910. I found these historic photos on an outdoor mural on the Rue de Rivoli, advertising the new Samaritaine.
Fifth photo: Vélib’ station 1001 is on the island Île de la Cité (Quai de l’Horloge) in the middle of the Pont Neuf.
Next review from July 2012: Wallace Fountain on Quai des Grands Augustins
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The Pont Neuf along with Pont Alexandre III, are known as "most beautiful Bridges in Paris."
In 1578, there were only 2 Bridges across the Seine, so Pont Neuf was built. It's the oldest surviving bridge in Paris, and still carries the name it was given at the time, to distinguish it from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses.
Back then, the Pont Neuf was classified as a very modern Bridge. The bridge has a total of 12 arches, which I think make it attractive, more so if you are there when the water is calm and you have full reflections of the Arches.
Years ago, pedestrians would step aside into its bastions to let a bulky carriage pass, now there are seats in each one, quite a nice place to sit and enjoy the traffic along the River Seine.
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Iles de St Louis & de la Cité
Pictures coming soon.
I spent an afternoon wandering around the central islands of Paris. Notre Dame is there of course and the Pont Neuf links the Left & Right banks of Paris via the two islands.
No Metro stop on the Ile de St Louis.
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Pont Neuf - New Bridge - Puente Nuevo
It's funny to know that the Pont Neuf, French for the "New Bridge," is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris. Its name like that to distinguished it from the old bridges that were built in wood. The bridge is actually composed of two separate spans, one of five arches joining the left bank to the Île de la Cité, another of seven joining the island to the right bank In 1577, the decision to build the bridge was made by King Henri III who laid its first stone in 1578, and the bridge was completed under the reign of Henri IV, who inaugurated it in 1607. It was the widest bridge in town and the first one with separate sidewalks for pedestrians. It has "balcons" over each pier where shops where installed.
Es simpático saber que el Pont Neuf, el "Puente Nuevo" es el puente más antiguo de París que se conserva en pie. Se llama así para distinguirlo de los antiguos puentes del Sena, construidos todos en madera.En realidad el puente consta de dos partes separadas, una con 5 arcos uniendo la Île de la Cité con la orilla izquierda y otra con siete arcos hacia la orilla derecha. El Rey Enrique III tomó la decisión de construir el puente en 1577, poniendo la primera piedra en 1578, aunque el puente no fue completado hasta el mandato del Rey Enrique IV que lo inauguró en 1607. Fue el puente más ancho de la ciudad y el primero con aceras separadas para peatones. Tiene "balcones" sobre cada pilar, donde se instalaron tiendas.
Pont Neuf, which means "new bridge" is the oldest and most famous bridge in Paris. It was completed in 1604. It is amazing to consider it's age and the numbers of people it has safely delivered from one side to the next. (Why can't Americans build stuff to last like this?)
Obviously since Paris is divided in half by the River Seine, there are tons of bridges that connect the two halves of the city. There are many more to see which can be enjoyed by river cruise or by a very long walking tour along the banks of the Seine.
Even though its name means "new bridge" Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge of Paris. I love the views around here at night, with the Conciergerie, the Louvre and Notre Dame. And the day before the Euro came (30 December 2000) we were lucky to see the dress rehearsal of Pont Neuf in European colours!
Pont Neuf: Henry IV Equestrian Bronze
“On a le bras armé et le cul sur la selle” (“Weapon in hand and ass in the saddle”)
— Henri IV (1553-1610) offers his blunt assertion about how he would rule
BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN Marie de’Medici wished to honor the memory of her assassinated husband, Henri IV. The result, the equestrian bronze at the midpoint of le Pont Neuf, has a curious history.
Le Pont Neuf was begun in 1578 during the reign of Henry III, and it was finished in 1604, in the 15th year of the reign of Henry IV. It is made up of two unequal parts, which meet at the eastern end of Ile de la Cité. At the point where these two parts meet, on Esplanade, an equestrian bronze of Henry IV was dedicated in 1635.
Ferdinando I, Grand Duke of Tuscany, commissioned a bronze horse from Jean de Boulogne, a pupil of Michelangelo. The figure of the duke was meant to be placed on the horse, but he died before it could be cast; and the steed was left riderless. The duke’s successor, Cosmo II, offered the horse to his cousin Marie for her husband’s memorial.
The ship that carried the bronze horse from Italy to Paris sank off the coast of Normandy. Four years passed before it was finally fished out, brought into the port of Le Havre, and sent up the Seine to Paris in 1614. A pedestal was built and the horse was placed upon it. Another 21 years passed before Louis XIII, son of Henri and Marie, sat a likeness of his father on the horse’s back.
It stood until 1792 when those misguided French Revolutionaries pulled it down, to melt it down. When the Bourbon monarchy was restored in 1814, replicas of the horse and its rider were ordered. The finished produce was returned to the bridge that Henri IV galloped across on his charger in 1605, when le Pont Neuf was finished.
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The Pont Neuf is my favorite bridge over the Seine. Its not the most attractive bride in Paris, but it captures my imagination and fascinates me. Part of that fascination is because of the French movie Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (The Lovers on the Bridge is the English title). The movie stars my favorite French actress Juliette Binoche. Much of the action in the movie takes place in and around the Pont Neuf. On my first trip to Paris the bridge was closed for repairs. It was during this time that the movie was filmed. When I returned home and found the movie several years later I was fascinated. So when I returned in 2008 I not only wanted to see this bridge but I wanted to walk and take pictures on the spots I had seen in the movie.
Historically the Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris. The first stone was laid in 1578 by King Henry III. It was completed in 1607. If you are interested in history, or are just a film buff and Julette Binoche fan a walk across this bridge is a must.
Pont Neuf: Henri IV statue
Crossing the Pont Neuf (New Bridge) from Place Dauphane you'll arrive to the Henry IV bronze equestrian statue, commanded by Marie de Médicis, Henri’s widow and Regent of France, in 1614. This satatue was destroyed in 1792 during the French Revolution, but was rebuilt in 1818, following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. As a curiosity, I read thar inside the statue, the new sculptor put four boxes, containing a history of the life of Henri IV, a 17th-century parchment certifying the original statue, a document describing how the new statue was commissioned, and a list of people who contributed to a public subscription.
Cruzando el Pont Neuf (Puente Nuevo) desde la Place Dauphane llegarás a la estatua ecuestre de bronce de Enrique IV, encargada por María de Médicis, viudad de Enrique y Regente de Francia en 1614. Esta estatua fue destruida en 1792 durante la Revolución francesa y fue reconstruida en 1818, siguiendo la restauración monárquica de la disnatía Borbón. Como curiosidad, leí que el nuevo escultor introdujo cuatro cajas dentro de la estatua conteniendo: la historia de la vida de Enrique IV, pergamino del siglo XVII que certificaba la estatua original, documento describiendo cómo se encargo la nueva estatua y lista de personas que contribuyeron a la suscripción pública.
Pont Neuf....the Oldest Bridge over the Seine
I have walked across Pont Neuf many times. I have sat across at a cafe and watched the river flow around the stone arches. Not bad considering I have only been to Paris five times. Considered my some to mark the end of the middle ages, and also the first modern bridge over the Seine. Graceful arches, solid stone work. The first stone was laid 1578, and it was christened in 1608.
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