Discovering Paris ~ One Bridge at a Time

“Follow the river and you will find the sea.” ~ French Proverb

Bridges of Paris

Paris is a river town.

Walk along the banks of the Seine. Stroll over its historic bridges. Breathe in the iconic views. No one is in a hurry to get across. The ebb and flow of human traffic reflects the flow of the Seine itself. Slow and methodical. Romantic and magical.

No wonder it is an attraction and has been for poets, artists, writers, lovers and now tourists.

Bridges of Paris

Paris has 37 bridges or ponts across the Seine, many of which were built in the early 1800’s. Earlier than that, if we count the Medieval bridges that once stood. The architecture varies, some more sumptuous than others.

Two of my favorite bridges are the Pont au Double and the Pont Alexandre III, two distinctly different bridges, each with its own history and unique architecture.

Adjacent to the Notre Dame is the Pont au Double. It was completed in 1634, and was built to carry patients to the Hotel-Dieu hospital on the left bank. The bridge derives its name from the toll that was charged, a “double” denier, used to pay for the construction. The bridge collapsed in 1709, two more were built and in 1883 the Pont au Double was replaced by a one arch cast-iron bridge.

Bridges of Paris

To appreciate its beauty, one needs to admire it from below. Its bronze arch is simple yet appealing and almost glistens in the afternoon sunlight.

It is on the lower bank that one can observe life on the Seine. Its barges and tour boats get a very close look at the bridge. It appears they can almost touch it.

Bridges of Paris

Looking across, one can observe the people sitting on the steps watching the river traffic.

Bridges of Paris

Couples have a little more privacy.

Bridges of Paris

And, it’s a good vantage point to get more photos of the Notre Dame.

Bridges of Paris

In complete contrast is the Pont Alexander III.

Considered to be the most ornate and extravagant bridge in Paris, it was named after the tzar and was to symbolize Russian-French friendship. His son, Nicholas II, laid the foundation stone in October 1896.

Bridges of Paris

The Beaux-Arts style bridge connects the Champs-Elysees quarter with the Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter. It opened just in time for the Universal Exposition of 1900 together with several structures that still stand today like the Gare d’Orsay, the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais which were located on both banks of the Seine. The exposition attracted an impressive 50 million visitors.

Bridges of Paris

The bridge is lavishly decorated with lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs.

On each end of the pont are two large gilt-bronze statues on 56 ft high granite pillars. Each of the ornaments on the bridge was created by a different artist and each represents a different “fame” or subject. On the right bank are the Fame of the Sciences and the Fame of the Arts. On the left bank are the Fame of Commerce and the Fame of Industry.

Visitors flock to this bridge to have their photo taken. I don’t know how many times we were asked to take someone’s photo for them and were glad to do so. Ron is obliging a young couple in this photo. Can you blame them with a view of the Eiffel behind them?

Bridges of Paris

This young couple was having wedding portraits made and I couldn’t help but take one myself.

Bridges of Paris

Different bridges. Different views. All part of the magic and romance of the Seine.

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About travelerlynne

Traveler. Writer. Retired Educator.Traveling on and off the beaten path with my photographer husband. Volunteering locally as well as in Haiti and Tanzania, an enriching and humbling experience. A sun lover! Shelling, boating, fishing and watching sunsets. Growing mango, banana, key lime,and pineapple.Making smoothies and chutneys. Enjoying family and friends! Savoring each new day!
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34 Responses to Discovering Paris ~ One Bridge at a Time

  1. Letizia says:

    The photos are so wonderful: capturing intimate moments in what is really such an intimate city. I lived right near Pont Alexander III so it warms my heart to see photos of it.

    • You are right, Letizia. It is an intimate city and Ron and I absolutely fell in love with it. How wonderful to live close by to so much history and incredible architecture. Am glad the photos captured your memories of it.

  2. Fabulous photos, Lynne. The bridges, each have their own unique style and beauty, which your photos have captured perfectly. That pink dress is really stunning. 🙂

  3. Thanks, Sylvia. I loved the bridge architecture and history. It seemed every where we turned there were wedding photo shoots. The dress did look stunning.

  4. Gigi Galore says:

    Oh, I absolutely love this bridge too, the one at Invalides! Maybe it is because we happened on it by chance one afternoon after we happened on the area by chance and by chance Paris fashion week was on. When everyone we saw ( in a cafe nearby) was dressed so beautifully and so sartorially, in a way I could never have imagined possible, even in my wildest and most fancily dressed imagination! I also adore the Notre Dame, especially the gardens. Oh, you are awakening my heart! Thankyou! And lucky you two!😊

    • Chance happenings are so much fun, Gigi. Much better than always mapping it out. It seemed like everywhere we turned there was something new and different. That’s what I loved about Paris. So glad this brought back happy memories. 🙂

  5. restlessjo says:

    You’ve chosen my two favourite bridges, Lynne. Fabulous photos! (Ron’s I presume?) I have some very similar but not on the same planet. Thank you for the history, particularly of au Double- I didn’t even know it’s name. And for counting them for me too 🙂 They are so much a part of what makes Paris special.

  6. Kan says:

    Wonderful post Lynne. I love walking along rivers in any city I visit… and the Seine walk is iconic! “Slow and methodical. Romantic and magical”… these words capture the essence of the experience so well. I was taken in by the beauty of Pont Alexandre III too, and just couldn’t stop taking photos of it (blogged about it too :-))

  7. Did you take these photos, Lynne? They are absolutely breathtaking. I can tell you are a bridge and history buff. Fascinating history.

    • Actually I took all but three of the photos. I love the architecture and of course the bridges while Ron was concentrating on street photography. Glad you liked them, Debbie. It’s such a beautiful city.

  8. Stunning photos… ohh I miss Paris!! The bridges are amazing, I also love them… all of them 😀

  9. vbholmes says:

    Really interesting post, Lynne. While I’ve crossed both bridges and noticed their beauty, I’ve missed much of the detail you’ve presented here. A treat to revisit such lovely spots and learn more about them. Thanks.

  10. megtraveling says:

    Your pictures are wonderful and they remind me of why I miss Paris so much!

  11. Marko says:

    Wspaniałe zdjęcia

  12. Madhu says:

    A lovely post that made me nostalgic Lynne. Those are two of my favourites as well. My birthday picnic beneath the Pont au Double last July remains one of my most treasured travel memories 🙂

  13. What a wonderful spot to have a birthday picnic, Madhu. I was pretty enchanted with all the bridges as well as the gardens. So relaxing when we take the time to do what is meaningful. Time slows down and the experience becomes a “treasured travel memory.”Thanks for your comment and visit. What will you do next year to top that one? 🙂

  14. cindy knoke says:

    Fabulous fotos bring back great memories! ❤

  15. Tahira says:

    Beautiful Lynne. Definitely all part of the

  16. Tahira says:

    … Magic and romance of Paris.

    (And here is some Magic in that I dunned two posts for one comment) 😀

  17. Kamila Pala says:

    Beautiful collection of photos! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Bye. Kamila

  18. You’re most welcome, Kamila. Thank you for your comment and visit.

  19. Wow, they really had style back then, didn’t they? I bet the painters from those era’s would be spun out by that intriguing electronic canvas, too – I know I am! 🙂 Just swinging by to say hi, and hope you are well, Lynne.

  20. Hi Alarna. Yes, this is a classy place. Thanks for checking on me. We’ve been doing a lot of traveling to be with family and I have been scarcely around on with blogging.:)

  21. Jessi says:

    You took amazing photos! I have not been to Paris yet so it’s always fun looking at pictures and reading about it. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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