The Bridges of Paris
Meandering across each unique bridge affords iconic and breathtaking views, a moment to pause in the middle to soak up the atmosphere, listen to buskers entertain or watch lovers steal a kiss, the bridges of Paris is what unites the City of Light.
The river Seine slices through the middle of the City of Paris, branching around the two islands at the city’s heart, the Île Saint-Louis and the Île de la Cité, until it reaches the English Chanel.
The 37 bridges that cross the river, within the periphery of Paris, not only allow us to explore both sides of the city and the islands between in a functional manner but invite us to delight in the captivating beauty and vistas and to admire the subtle and sometimes ornate detail and engineering feats that make each bridge in Paris worthy of exploration.
In 1991 UNESCO added the banks of the Seine to its world heritage sites. In winter you will see the odd flaneur, cyclist or jogger enjoying the river views from the banks but when summer comes to town, and if you can’t head off to the beach, the City of Paris brings the beach to you.
The river banks are transformed into what appears to be a beach holiday resort and the city comes to life with sunbathers, beach umbrellas, deck chairs, palm trees and 5,000 tonnes of sand.
Most Parisians and some tourists will have their preference to which side of the river they prefer; the Rive Gauche, the left bank, the southern bank of the river or the Rive Droit, the right bank and northern side.
Some of the bridges (ponts in French) are elaborate and ornate, some simple and modern, a few allow foot traffic only, a couple are two storeys high to allow trains, motor vehicles and pedestrians but each and every one has a story and a charm, all of its own.
Be sure to explore as many as you can, enjoy the scenery, learn a little history, get to know them intimately, find your favourite but please, I implore you, don’t attach any padlocks to them.
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- Pont de BercyUnique, photogenic, off the beaten path, and a personal favourite. Linking the 13th arrondissement with Bercy in the 12th and dating back to 1863.
- Viaduc d’AusterlitzThis beautifully designed metal railway bridge with a nautical theme, surprising attention to detail and an engineering feat, held a record for 91 years.