Bridges of Paris

A walk along the banks of the Seine river is one of the most pleasant ways to discover Paris. The many bridges you’ll pass not only look elegant or romantic, they often have a long and interesting history.

Below is an alphabetical list of some of the bridges that cross the Seine river in central Paris.

Passerelle des Arts (aka Pont des Arts)

The Passerelle des Arts (bridge of the arts) was built between 1981 and 1984 after the original structure built between 1802 and 1804 – Paris’s first iron bridge – collapsed in 1977. The new pedestrian bridge is built according to the early 19th century plans except that there are now seven arches instead of the original nine.

Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor

This modern pedestrian bridge, built between 1997 and 1999 was known as the Pont Solferino until October 2006. The bridge connects the Tuileries with the Musée d’Orsay and is unique in the sense that the bridge can be accessed both from the Tuileries as well as from the quay thanks to a two-level construction.

Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir

Another recently completed pedestrian bridge, the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir leads from the Bibliotheque Nationale towards the Bercy Park. The 304m long and 12m wide lenticular truss bridge opened in 2006. It is named after Simone de Beauvoir, a famous French author and philosopher, considered France’s first influential feminist.

Petit Pont

The Petit Pont or ‘little bridge’ connects Île de la Cité with the left bank. Already in Roman times there was a bridge here as well as on the other side of the island (the Grand Pont, now Pont Notre Dame) leading to the right bank. The current bridge was built in 1853.

The most sumptuous bridge of Paris opened just in time for the Universal Exposition of 1900. It is named after Tsar Alexander III of Russia. The bridge is decorated with lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs. Tall pillars on either side of the bridge are topped with large gilded statues.

Pont au Change

The first bridge at this site was presumably built in the 9th century. Today\’s bridge was built in 1860 as a masonry arch bridge and connects the Châtelet Square with the Conciergerie at the Île de la Cité. Its name is derived from the goldsmiths and jewelers who had their shops here between the 14th and 17th century.

Pont au Double

This short bridge is one that many cross but hardly notice. The bridge connects the left bank with the Île de la Cité and leads directly to the Place du Parvis Notre Dame, right in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral. The elegant bridge, the fourth at this site, was built in 1883.

Pont Charles de Gaulle

The Charles de Gaulle Bridge was built between 1993 and 1996 after a sleek design by the architects Louis Arretche and Roman Karasinski. The futuristic looking bridge consists of a more than two hundred meter long metallic deck that rests on two concrete pillars.

Pont d’Arcole

The first permanent bridge connecting the city hall of Paris (Hôtel de Ville) and Île de la Cité was built in 1828. This small pedestrian bridge with a central pillar was replaced by a wider and stronger bridge in 1854. The for its time advanced bridge with no central pillar still stands today.

Pont d’Austerlitz

Named after the Battle of Austerlitz, where Napoleon defeated Austrian and Russian troops in 1805. A first iron bridge was built here in 1807. Due to structural deficiencies, it was replaced in 1854 as a masonry arch bridge. The bridge was enlarged in 1885 to accommodate the increasing traffic.

Pont d’Iéna

This bridge wich leads to the Eiffel Tower coming from Trocadéro, was built between 1808 and 1814. It was named after the German city of Jena (Iéna in French) where Napoléon had defeated the Prussian army in 1806. The statues were added in 1853 and in 1937 the bridge was widened to 35m (115ft).

Pont de Bercy

The Pont de Bercy was completed in 1864 and replaced an earlier bridge built in 1832. The bridge was enlarged in 1992 making it 40 meters wide instead of the original 20 meters. A viaduct on top of the 175m long road bridge serves as a railroad bridge used by the metro line 6.

Pont de Bir-Hakeim

Completed in 1905, this bridge connects the 15th and 16th arrondissements via the Île des Cygnes (Swan Island). A viaduct on the bridge serves as a railroad for the metro line 6. The bridge is decorated with four large sculptures with allegorical figures. Originally named Viaduc de Passy, it was renamed in 1949 after the Battle of Bir-Hakeim.

Pont de Grenelle

The Pont de Grenelle is a bland modern steel bridge built in 1966. The bridge passes along the southern tip of the Île des Cygnes (Swan Island) where you find a replica of the Statue of Liberty. The 9 meter high statue was given as a present from the United States, who had earlier received the original Statue of Liberty as a gift from France.

Pont de l’Archevêché

This narrow three-arched masonry bridge connects the Île de la Cité with the left Bank. Its name (Bridge of the Archbishopric) was derived from an archiepiscopal palace located nearby. The bridge was built in 1828 by engineer Plouard and was often criticized for being too narrow. Plans to widen it were however never realized.

Pont de la Concorde

The Pont de la Concorde (Bridge of Concord) leads from the Place de la Concorde to the Palais Bourbon, home of the French Parliament’s lower house. Already planned in 1725, the bridge was built after much delay, between 1787 and 1791. The width of the bridge was doubled in 1932 to 34m (112ft) to accommodate the increasing traffic.

Pont de la Tournelle

The first bridge at the site of the Pont de la Tournelle was built in 1370, connecting the left bank with the Île St. Louis. The current one dates from 1928 and was designed by Pierre and Louis Guidetti. They created an asymmetric bridge with on one side a large pillar with a statue of St. Genevieve, patroness of Paris.

Pont de Sully

The Pont de Sully connects the left bank of the Seine with the right bank across the eastern end of the Île St. Louis. Before the current bridge was built in 1876 there were two bridges, one connecting the island with the right bank (the Passerelle Damiette), and one between the island and the left bank (the Passerelle de Constantine).

Pont de Tolbiac

The five-arched masonry bridge was constructed between 1879 and 1882 by the engineers Bernard and Pérouse after a more ambitious design by Gustave Eiffel was refused. The bridge – 168 meters long and 20 meters wide – crosses the Seine between the 12th and 13th arrondissements.

Pont des Invalides

The first bridge at this site was constructed in 1821 but the current bridge was built between 1854 and 1856 as part of the Universal Exposition of 1855. The bridge consists of three arches. The central pillars are decorated with allegorical statues depicting Terrestrial Victory and Naval Victory.

Pont du Carrousel

The first Pont du Carrousel, made of cast iron and wood, was built in 1831. The current one is much more recent: it was constructed between 1935 and 1939 using reinforced concrete. In 1946 a telescopic lighting system was installed in pylons on each side of the bridge.

Pont du Louis-Philippe

King Louis-Philippe commissioned the first bridge here in 1833, connecting the right bank with the Île St. Louis. It was burned during the revolution in 1848 but quickly restored. In 1862 it was replaced with a larger bridge to accommodate the growing traffic volume.

Pont Marie

The Pont Marie, Paris’s oldest bridge after the Pont Neuf was built between 1614 and 1635. It is named after its lead engineer Christophe Marie. Like most bridges at the time the bridge was lined with houses but those were demolished in 1786. The Pont Marie connects the Île St. Louis with the right bank of the Seine river.

Pont Mirabeau

This three-arched steel bridge was constructed between 1895 and 1897. It is decorated with four large allegorical sculptures representing the city of Paris, Commerce, Navigation and Abundance. The bridge is 173 meters long and 20 meters wide. Its central span measures 93 meters in length.

Pont National

The Pont National, situated at the eastern edge of Paris, was originally built in 1852-1853. The bridge has five arches resting on stone pillars. In 1944 the bridge’s width was doubled in size, but this new section was built with reinforced concrete. As a result one side of the bridge looks different from the other.

Ironically this is the city’s oldest bridge, built in 1607. At the time of its construction the Pont Neuf (which means ‘new bridge’) was the first bridge in Paris with no houses built upon it. The bridge connects the left bank with the right bank over the western tip of the Île de la Cité.

Pont Notre Dame

Already in Roman times the Grand Pont (large bridge) connected the island with the right bank. The current bridge was built in 1853. Its five small spans however made it difficult for boats to pass. There were so many accidents the bridge was dubbed ‘devil’s bridge’. In 1919 the middle three spans were replaced by a single span.

Pont Rouelle

The Pont Rouelle is a railway bridge that spans the Seine across the Île aux Cygnes, a small island in the middle of the river. The bridge was originally built for the World Exposition of 1900. It consists of two different sections: a single masonry span on the right bank and a steel span supported by two pylons on the left bank.

Pont Royal

The Pont Royal is situated right near the Louvre Palace and the Tuileries garden. It was built between 1685 and 1689 with funds from King Louis XIV, hence its name. Its design stands out from the other bridges since the arches are well higher towards the middle of the bridge, giving it a curved look.

Pont St. Louis

This plain, single span bridge connects the two central islands in the Seine river: the Île Saint Louis and the Île de la Cité. Many versions preceded this 1970 bridge, the first one was built around 1630. Most of these were aesthetically pleasing, unlike the current one which ruins the view towards the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Viaduc d’Austerlitz

This metallic bridge was built in 1904-1905 for the metro line no. 5. It was constructed in just ten months and spans the Seine with a single arch. At each end the bridge is anchored into massive pylons that are beautifully decorated with relief sculpture. At 140 meters, it has the largest span of any bridge in Paris.

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