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Timings : 24 hours

Time Required : Approx. 2 hours

Entry Fee : Free

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Pont Neuf, Paris Overview

Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge in Paris, France, which is located by the western point of the Île de la Cité. The bridge completed construction in 1607 and is to this date, an emblematic representation of that time. There are a handful of attractions near Pont Neuf that will ensure that you have a good time when you visit the bridge. These attractions include a beautiful park called the Square du Vert-Galant, a lively public square Place Dauphine, the famous Louvre Museum and La Villete.

It was commissioned by King Henry III of France who laid the foundation stone in 1578. Pierre des Isles was one of the builders who played a major role in its construction and development. The Pont Neuf is a busy bridge with a lot of traffic, which makes it a popular tourist attraction. The French Ministry of Culture, in 1889, classified the Pont Neuf in the historical monument category.

Even though the bridge remains a lively place, its popularity has been significantly reduced along with the central role that it used to play in Paris. Couples from all around the world used to come here to participate in the age-old tradition of love locks. Unfortunately, the weight of the locks resulted in a significant load on the bridge gradually decreasing its structural strength, and hence, had to be removed with time.

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Places of Interest Around Pont Neuf

1. Place Dauphine

Place Dauphine
Place Dauphine is a public square located on the western end of the Ile de la Cite. It is known for its charming atmosphere and variety of outlets and shops on it. It is one of the oldest laid out squares in Paris along with Place des Vosges. This triangular square is surrounded by rich street art and important monuments like the Palace of Justice.
Timings: Open 24 hours

2. Monnaie de Paris

Monnaie de Paris
Monnaie de Paris is the oldest and longest standing institution in France. It is responsible for circulating Euro coins in France as well as other parts of the world. Here, people can buy different types of coins related to various themes, as well as go on tours and indulge in workshops. Exhibitions are held daily at the institution.
Timings: 11 AM - 7 PM (Tuesday to Sunday) / Wednesdays 11 AM - 9 PM.
3. Immeuble Art Deco

Immeuble Art Deco

This beautiful art deco building in Paris was built under the patronage of architect Bertrand. It is filled with Art Nouveau elements from the exterior to interiors. Amazing sculptures by Jean Macrou greet visitors as they enter the building. This building is truly an architectural achievement.

4. Raphaël Bedos Antiquités

Raphael Bedos Antiquites

Raphaël Bedos Antiquités is a gallery of antiques that specializes in Folk Art of the regions of France and the whole world. It contains items ranging from beautifully carved small everyday objects to ancient curiosities and masterpiece of Companions of France.

Timings: 10.30 AM - 7 PM (closed Sunday)

5. Jacques de Molay Memorial

Jacques de Molay Memorial, Pont Neuf
Jacques de Molay was a military leader, a religious leader and the last grand master of the Knights Templar. During the 13th century, he emerged as a symbol of bravery, which made his death an important event. His memorial is located on the Pont Neuf as an engraved plaque.
Timings: Open 24 hours

Tours Around Pont Neuf

There are various walking tours one may take at the Pont Neuf and set out on an enchanting experience of the relatively lively areas of Paris, and explore the nearby attractions like the Ile de la Cite, Sainte-Chapelle etc. Some of the famous tours one should look out for are:

1. Nekovisit

Nekovisit, Paris

Tours from Nekovisit provide excellent tours that will take you through the ins and outs of Pont Neuf and the nearby areas. They offer walking, cycling, electric scooter and gyropod tours so you’ll get sufficient time to mould the tour to your own requirements. The places that can be covered by these tours are Louvre Museum, Musee d’Orsay, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Art Nouveau, Flea Market and other popular places around Pont Neuf.
Timings: 9.30 AM - 8.30 PM
Prices: EUR 27 - EUR 108 ; refer to the Official website at Nekovisit.

2. Cedric’s Paris Private Tours

Cedric's Tours
To escalate your touring experience around France, Cedric’s Private Tours provides a fantastic way to take tours; in vintage French convertible cars named Thelma, Louise, Juliette, Vega and other exciting names. The tour offers a wide range of packages such as ‘Bachelorette Tour’, ‘Night Tour’, ‘Secret Tour’, ‘Family Tour’, etc. that can be availed according to your needs.

Timings: 7 AM - 1 AM
Prices: EUR 30 - EUR 50 per person per hour ; Official website at cedricsparis.

3. Vedettes du Pont Neuf (Seine River Cruise)

Seine River Cruise
One of the best tours in the city is the Seine River Cruise. Set out on this enthralling journey on a comfortable cruise along the River Seine and discover the greatest monuments in Paris, from the Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Louvre Museum and the Eiffel Tower. The cruise departs from the base of the oldest bridge in Paris - Pont Neuf.
Timings: Begins 10.45 PM
Price: Open Ticket - EUR 12 / Advantage Ticket - EUR 10 / Champagne Cruise - EUR 24.5; Official website at vedettesdupontneuf.

Pont Neuf Architecture and Design

1. The Mascarons

Pont Neuf

The Pont Neuf is an elegant attraction to visit, for a variety of reasons, one of them being the mascarons. The sides of Pont Neuf are decorated with 381 unique stone masks called mascarons. These mascarons represent the heads of forest divinities in ancient mythology, satyrs and sylvains. The mascarons are copies of the originals which were sculpted by notable sculptors like Fontenelle, who was responsible for successfully copying and sculpting sixty-one masks. The original masks sit in the French National Museum of the Renaissance.

2. Statue of Henry IV

Pont Neuf

There stands an equestrian bronze statue of Henry IV, the sculpting of which began in 1614, under the orders of Henry’s wife upon his death and was finally erected in 1618. During the peak time of the French Revolution in 1792, the statue was destroyed but was later rebuilt in 1818. The bronze that was used to sculpt this statue was obtained as a result of the meltdowns of two statues; the statue of Louis Charles Antoine Desaix as well as the statue of Napoleon in Place Vendome. After its restoration, four boxes containing the rich history of the life of Henry IV, a list of people who contributed in the creation of the statue and a document describing the history of the statue were put inside the statue which remains there to this day.

3. La Samaritaine

Samaritaine, Pont Neuf

In the early-18th Century, a large pump house was set up on the bridge which was decorated with an image of the Samaritan woman beside a well. After almost a hundred years of its erection, the pump house was torn down and eventually, was replaced by a business which emerged as a department store called La Samaritaine.

Pont Neuf Construction and History

Pont Neuf

The construction of the Pont Neuf began in 1578 under the command of Henry III. The bridge is an arch bridge that had undergone several constructional changes in its design at the time, and Pierre des Isles was one of the builders who were responsible for introducing a slight angle in the bridge, for making it more resistant to river currents, hence increasing its durability. Further design changes were made when the number of arches was changed from eight and four to seven and five. Eventually, houses were decided to be built on along the bridge which needed further structural changes and alterations. The bridge was subject to change, though houses were never built, due to the interference of Henry IV who decided against it.

The Pont Neuf was the first stone bridge in Paris to include pavements in order to facilitate the walking experience of pedestrians. People of all kinds came here to mix, chat, enjoy, laugh and make memories due to which, the bridge came to be informally known as “The Bridge of Memories”. Impressionists used to showcase their creativity and artistry in hopes to get noticed and find an entry into the Official Academy. Pont Neuf was also the place where the famous photographer Daguerre made the first Daguerreotype with a human. In 1985, the Pont Neuf was wrapped by Christo and Jeanne-Claude to escalate the beauty of this bridge even more than it already was. The bridge underwent a major restoration process from 1994 to 2007, the year of its 400th anniversary.

Pont Neuf Through the 18th Century

As a result of being a heavily busy location, the Pont Neuf bridge turned out to be the converging focal point for commerce as well as crime. In the 18th century, many bibliographers and historians wrote about Pont Neuf describing its nature, explaining how it gradually became the centre of crime, serving as a hideout for gangs, robbers and murderers. The incidents around it increased with its liveliness. These horrific incidents didn’t affect the congregation of people at this bridge where street-performers such as acrobats, musicians and dancers performed to entertain.

The Pont Neuf also served as a centre for satirical performers and social commentators. However, the role that this bridge played started to decline as soon as the people became wary of its reputation and the place went through some atmospheric changes. Suddenly, it was no longer a thing to talk about. Regardless, the site remained lively through the end of the century, even with a significant decrease in popularity.

How To Reach Pont Neuf

You can get to Pont Neuf by Metro, Bus, Train, Light Rail or RER. These are the lines and routes that have stops nearby - Metro: 7 - Stop: Pont Neuf Metro Station; Train: L, N; Bus: 24, 67, 69, 72 - Stop: Pont Neuf - Quai du Louvre.

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