19.11.08

... and even even more Seine bridges

(I know, these bridge posts are too long, but I want to finish will all the bridges soonest possible and change subject ... and there are 37 of them. Only a few bridges left now, soon finished... be patient, please! This means however that I will exceptionally make a post tomorrow, Thursday... I want to finish this week!)

Today, it’s time for the missing bridges connecting the Seine banks with Ile de la Cité: Pont de Notre Dame, Petit Pont, Pont de Change, Pont Saint Michel and Pont Neuf.

The Pont de Notre Dame is definitely not the oldest still existing bridge in Paris (it’s Pont Neuf), but it’s situated where the first bridge was built. Here is an illustration of what Paris looked like during the Roman times (see this excellent site). Its first name was the Grand Pont (Big Bridge), to be seen in combination with the more or less as old bridge on the opposite side of the island, the Petit Pont (Small Bridge). Different floods, and the Vikings, destroyed the first bridges. Around 1420 what was supposed to be a solid wooden bridge was ready and got the name of Notre Dame, however it collapsed in 1499. In 1507 the first stone bridge, with buildings on top was ready.

On the below picture we can see what Paris looked like around 1760 and in the small insert we can see a painting of the Pont Notre Dame, also around 1760. The Pont Notre Dame was one of many bridges with buildings on top those days. Around 1788, just before the Revolution, all houses were gone on the Paris bridges (too heavy, too risky). A new bridge was built in 1853, but it did not last long – too many arches, too narrow and too many navigation accidents. The bridge we see today, a one-arch steel bridge, is from 1919.

Despite its name, it’s not the bridge which is the closest to the Notre Dame Cathedral, but when it got its name, all the other bridges were not there, ... but Notre Dame was.

As already indicated above, the prolongation to the Pont Notre Dame, ex Grand Pont, on the other side of Ile de la Cité, is the Petit Pont. This bridge has been rebuilt at least thirteen times, although the first stone, supposed to be solid, version came already during the 12th century. The present stone bridge in one arch is from 1853.

This is the bridge most tourist use on their way between Notre Dame and the Quartier Latin. (I would however recommend the Pont au Double (see previous post).

The Pont au Change competes with the Pont Notre Dame to once upon the time has been the original Grand Pont. Actually, it may not be quite certain where exactly between these two bridges the very first one was constructed. Several bridges have existed here. The 1647 version (which we also can see on the old picture above) was then the largest bridge in Paris. Before the buildings were demolished, this was the place where jewellers, goldsmiths... and money-brokers were installed, which explains the present name of the bridge.

The present bridge dates from 1860 and will take you from Place du Châtelet (see previous post) on the right bank to the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie (see previous posts) on the island and there I would draw your special attention to the clock on the wall of the square Tour d’Horloge (Clock Tower). It dates from 1585 ... and it works. This one replaces the first original wall clock in Paris from 1370.

Facing the Pont au Change you have the Pont Saint Michel. The first bridge here seems to date from 1378 and the two bridges together allowed the first direct passage from one river bank to the other (the island was those days full of small buildings and streets). This bridge was succeeded by several others until the present one which is from 1857. The name comes from the nearby Saint Michel chapel within the old Royal Palace and Parliament buildings, where we today find the Palais de Justice.

On the left bank of the bridge you find the Place Saint Michel, often a meeting point for walks through the Quartier Latin, with its enormous Saint Michel fountain (1855).

I have already made a post about Pont Neuf (see here). Just a few words: Despite its name it’s thus the oldest remaining bridge in Paris (1607) and was the first Paris bridge to be made for traffic only – no buildings. It was surprisingly wide from the beginning and has hardly undergone any change since its creation and the traffic is still quite heavy. Half way over this double bridge, I could propose a stop at Place Dauphine (see previous post). (The top picture is also of Pont Neuf.)

You can find these photos "in full" and as a slide show on Ipernity.

21 comments:

Karen said...

Peter, you really should put all these Seine bridge photos and information into a book.. I'm sure it would be very popular.
I'd love to have a printed version to take along on walks along the river.

Say Hello to Virginian.

Olivier said...

dans ta visite des ponts, je m'arrêterais sur ...la tour de l'horloge, le detail est superbe.
Sincerement, je ne pensais pas qu'il y avait autant de pont dans notre belle capitale

claude said...

Ton APN et toi êtes des capteurs d'images sensationnels. Olivier a raison, l'horloge est magnifique.
Je comprends maintenant pourquoi une chansons a été écrites sur les Ponts de Paris, enfin vu d'en dessous !

hpy said...

Alors, comme tes ancêtres ont détruit Paris et ses ponts, tu essaies de les racheter et toi-même par la même occasion, vue que tu es responsable de leurs actes, en postant cette série (feuilleton) sur les ponts de Paris, sans aller en dessous!
Vous avez bien réussi votre invasion, avec quelques siècles de retard pourtant!

Cergie said...

Et puis vu de là haut, on dirait un guerrier papou, ton Paris la Seine, tu lui as fait les yeux et la bouche
(Tu tombes comme Hpy dans l'excès et tu persistes. Figure toi qu'elle m'a avoué que son cormoran lui manque)

Cergie said...

Tu dors sous le ponts en ce moment ?

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Peter,

Thank you so much for these posts! It's incredible how each bridge in Paris has a distinct character, it's own personality.

You've really highlighted that marvellously.

catherine said...

je te suggère de passer aux pompons après cette série... non je plaisante Peter, bravo, c'est super ce que tu fais sur ce blog.
peut-être que tu l'as écrit quelque part, mais combien de ponts en tout à paris?

ALAIN said...

La photo de l'horloge est très réussie, et ce n'est pas facile car la lumière est rarement bonne. Le "centre" de Paris s'est déplacé, au fil du temps : de la rive gauche, il est passé dans l'ile de la cité puis sur la rive droite. Demain le centre du grand Paris sera peut-être à La Défense.

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Peter! A big Wow, once again! I'm not sure if anyone else has compiled so much data like this before!

lyliane said...

Toujours aussi superbe,pour l'histoire de Paris tu es un as! j'en redemande. Connais tu aussi bien l'histoire des ponts de ta ville natale?

Cezar and Léia said...

Wonderful Clock Tower!
Congratulations for this post!
Léia

Therese said...

Prendre son temps avec les ponts c'est important. Toute l'Histoire passe par les ponts. Dommage que les premiers ponts de Paris aient été construits en bois. Quelle histoire!

harlequinpan said...

Beautiful captures as always!

Ruth said...

Excellent information, and a bird in the frame!! Wow.

I agree, a coffee table book of the Seine bridges is in order. I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Don't worry, I wish there were 37 more.

Peter said...

Karen:
Maybe I can print one for you to use here in December?

Olivier:
Tu doutes toujours?

Claude:
Ce n'est pas moi qui a fabriqué l'horloge!

Peter said...

hpy:
Pourtant les vikings n'ont pas fait que du mal!

cergie:
Nous avons tous (toutes) nos faiblesses! (Je ne dors plus.)

Peter said...

Polly-Vous...:
I appreciate very much your visit here! Welcome back!

catherine:
Merci! 37.

Alain:
Qui sait?

Peter said...

Rakesh:
So many people have written about Paris!

Lyliane:
Une bonne question! (Non.)

Cezar & Léia:
Thanks for your regular visits and always nice words!

Peter said...

harlequin:
Thanks for these kind words from Taiwan!

ruth:
Let's make a campaign for 74 bridges! :-))

Kate said...

My favorite bridges!!