Résumé

The Pont-Neuf bridge is located at the back of the Sainte Chapelle, the Tour de l'horloge and the Palais de justice. Le Louvre museum is only 200 m away. It is a good area for several particularly interesting visits.

The Pont-Neuf bridge (Pont Neuf or Pont-Neuf spelling) is the oldest existing bridge in Paris. It crosses the Seine at the western tip of the Ile de la Cité. It was built at the end of the 16th century and completed at the beginning of the 17th century. It owes its name to the novelty of a bridge devoid of dwellings and equipped with sidewalks to protect pedestrians from mud and horses. King Henri IV opted for a bridge without houses, which was new at the time.

In July 1606, as the construction of the bridge was being completed, Henri IV decided to build near the bridge an almost enclosed square with houses with identical facades between the Palais de la Cité and the Terreplein, located between the two abutments of the bridge. This became Place Dauphine.

On January 2, 1602, the king authorized the construction of a large water pump against the Pont Neuf bridge. It was to "the right of the second arch from the right bank on the downstream side": it was called the pump of La Samaritaine, which later gave its name to the department store of La Samaritaine still there in front of you.

Localisation
Open hours

No closing periods except for maintenance work

Access

Pont Neuf
Quai de la Mégisserie - Quai des Grands Augustins
75001 Paris

  • Métro - Line 7 station Pont Neuf - Line 1 station Louvre Rivoli
  • RER - Line C station Musée d'Orsay
  • Bus - 21, 27, 58, 67, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75, 85
Address

Pont Neuf
Quai de la Mégisserie (1e) - Quai des Grands Augustins (6e)
75001 Paris

 

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 24″ N 2° 20′ 27″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.85818 2.34203
Description complète

The Pont-Neuf bridge is located at the back of the Sainte Chapelle, the Tour de l'horloge and the Palais de justice. Le Louvre museum is only 200 m away. It is a good area for particularly interesting visits.

Pont-Neuf bridge: origin of the name of the oldest bridge of Paris

The Pont-Neuf bridge (Pont Neuf or Pont-Neuf spelling) is the oldest existing bridge in Paris. It crosses the Seine at the western tip of the Ile de la Cité. This "bridge" monument has been classified as a historical monument since 1889. In 1991, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with all the quays of the Seine in Paris.

The Pont-Neuf bridge was built at the end of the 16th century and completed at the beginning of the 17th century. It owes its name to the novelty of a bridge devoid of dwellings and equipped with sidewalks to protect pedestrians from mud and horses. It is also the very first stone bridge in Paris to cross the entire Seine. Finally, it is the first bridge in Paris to be uncovered and without houses (in contradiction with what was usual at that time).

Today's recommended spelling for the bridge is "le pont Neuf", but it is known and its name has long been written: "le Pont-Neuf".

Construction of the Pont-Neuf, a change in building habits

The initial project envisaged that the bridge would carry houses, like other bridges in Paris. Cellars were built in the piers and under the arches. When work resumed after ten years of interruption, king Henri IV opted for a bridge without houses, but the cellars already built remained. They were connected by an underground passage. They were later transformed into lower rooms.

The statue on the Pont-Neuf bridge of King Henry IV: quite a story!

Queen Marie de Medici (wife of Henry IV) had written on April 29, 1605, to her uncle, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand de Medici, to send her the horse statue he had melted down in 1602 for his own statue. Finally, in fact, it was the mold of the horse from the statue of Ferdinand de Medici used for the equestrian statues of Henry IV and Philip III (King of Spain).

For the realization of the horseman, according to Louis Savot, Pierre de Francqueville (1548-1615), the first sculptor of the french king, made in wax the head of the king then sent it to Florence in 1606. At the time of the inventory of the workshop of John of Bologna after his death, the statue was not finished. Fernando de Medici died in 1609. The project of the equestrian statue was relaunched after the assassination of King Henry IV in 1610.
The statue is finally finished in 1611, descended the Arno (river) to the port of Livorno (Italy) but the crates remain in Livorno for a year. The horse and the statue are finally shipped to Livorno on April 30, 1613. We learn six months later that the ship was wrecked in front of Savona (Italy).
The crates are spotted by a Genoese ship that transports them from Savona to Marseille. Another ship carries the crates from Marseille to Le Havre, then on a barge in Rouen in June 1614.
The statue arrived in Paris on July 24, 1614. Marie de Medici ordered the knight Picciolini who had brought the crates to hurry up and take the bronzes out of the crates to mount the statue "in accordance with the advice of the sculptor Franqueville and others who must take care of it".
The solemn inauguration took place on the Pont-Neuf bridge on August 24, 1614, without the presence of the Queen Mother and Louis XIII (Son of Henri IV).

But the story doesn't end there. During the revolution, on August 24, 1792, the bronzes were torn from the pedestal to be melted down. Only the bronzes of the slaves who adorned the base were kept in the Louvre museum along with some debris.

After the return of the Bourbons kings, it was decided by Louis XVIII (brother of Louis XVI) to remake the statue of Henri IV. A temporary effigy was installed on the Pont-Neuf bridge in 1814. The pedestal was inaugurated by Louis XVIII on October 28, 1817. The equestrian statue, work by sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot, was inaugurated on August 25, 1815.

On April 14, 1918, during the First World War, a shell launched by the German cannon "la Grosse Bertha" exploded in the Seine at the level of Pont-Neuf opposite the Samaritaine.

Arrangement of the surroundings of Pont-Neuf bridge

In July 1606, as the construction of the bridge was being completed, Henri IV decided to build near the bridge an almost enclosed square with houses with identical facades between the Palais de la Cité and the Terreplein, located between the two abutments of the bridge.

The Samaritan's pump of 1742

On January 2, 1602, the king authorized the construction of a large water pump against the Pont Neuf bridge. It was to "the right of the second arch from the right bank on the downstream side": it was called the pump of La Samaritaine, which later gave its name to the department store of La Samaritaine that was built not far from there. This pump, the first water-lifting machine built in Paris, was designed by Jean Lintlaër (Flamish).

The pumping station was a small residential building on stilts (in which, for example, Lintlaër himself lived) between which two mill wheels turned. It was topped by a clock with a carillon that gave rhythm to the life of the inhabitants. It supplied water to the palaces of the Louvre and the Tuileries, as well as to the garden of the latter.

It owes its name to a sculpted representation of the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well (recounted in the Gospel according to John), the work of Bernard and René Frémin (1672-1744).

On August 26, 1791, King Louis XVI abandoned the fountain in the municipality of Paris. The building was stripped of its façade. Sculptures of Christ and the Samaritan woman were sent to be cast. The building became a National Guard post and fell into disrepair. It was destroyed in 1813. Nothing remains of it, except one of the bells, which was transferred to the church of Saint-Eustache.

A bridge different from the previous ones

The Pont-Neuf differs from other Parisian bridges in many ways. First of all, it is the first bridge to cross the entire width of the Seine, linking the left bank, the right bank, and the western end of the Ile de la Cité.

The masonry bridge is 238 m long. Its width is 20.50 m (the roadway is 11.50 m, and the two sidewalks are 4.50 m each). The large arm has seven opening arches, ranging from 16.40 m to 19.40 m in width. It is 154 m long. The small arm has five opening arches, ranging from 9 to 16.70 meters. It measures 78 m.

It has sidewalks (the first in Paris) and semi-circular "balconies" above each pile, where merchants and craftsmen run their stores. Another novelty is the absence of houses on its edge. Finally, for the first time, the bridge is decorated with an equestrian statue in honor of Henry IV.

Static Code
[[booking]]
Open
Open 24h today
  • Monday

    Open 24h

  • Tuesday

    Open 24h

  • Wednesday

    N/A

  • Thursday

    Open 24h

  • Friday

    Open 24h

  • Saturday

    Open 24h

  • Sunday

    Open 24h

  • July 15, 2024 1:21 pm local time

More locations
  • No comments yet.
  • Add a review

    You May Also Be Interested In