Friday, April 24, 2009

The New Bridge

Le Pont Neuf (the new bridge) is actually the oldest bridge crossing the Seine in Paris. Construction was begun in the late 16th century and completed in 1607. The bridge connects the left and right banks at the downstream tip of the Ile-de-la-Cité.

Le Pont Neuf and Ile-de-la-Cité seen from the Pont des Arts.

It was the first bridge in the city that was not covered, that had sidewalks, and that included its now trademark semi-circular "balconies" once used by merchants and artisans as sites to set up boutiques. Today, after a years-long restoration, the bridge looks almost new again. Cleaned stone, restored carvings, and new lighting combine to make the bridge stand out when seen from a distance.

Under the Pont Neuf on the left bank.

I crossed the Seine on the bridge just downstream from the Pont Neuf. Once on the left bank, I took a stair down to the berges (embankments) a level below the street and close to the water. This way I could walk under the Pont Neuf and a few other bridges before heading back to the hotel for my bag.

A semi-circular "balcony" on the bridge.

As I said, the day was sunny and warm, and of course, I was still encumbered by my winter coat and scarf. But I made the best of it, not walking too fast and stopping frequently to take pictures. That's how I've been able to stretch this day out into so many posts!

Close-up of one of the 385 "mascarons" that adorn the bridge.

I had planned to continue walking along the riverbank this way, but once beyond the Pont Neuf, I decided to go back up and cross over to the island and walk through the Place Dauphine.

View of the Pont St.-Michel from under the Pont Neuf.

Even more tomorrow...

7 comments:

  1. Great photos :) I love carved stone.

    I think that they were working on that restoration as far back as 1996-- I remember them working on it when I was there that year, and we wondered what was going on.

    Hope the marketing in Montrichard was enjoyable! Got any new pics of the market and the town itself?

    Judy

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  2. I'm enjoying your trip to Paris, Walt. Lewis and I are planning our trip there right now. We will have three days at the end of August.

    Maybe we'll have a picnic somewhere down by the river...

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  3. At the end of the Ile de la Cité, but In the middle of the span of the Pont-Neuf, is a bronze statue of Henri IV, on horseback.

    A popular joke is to ask children: "What is the color of Henri IV white horse?"

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  4. I say go ahead and plant those seeds. Worst case, you'll have to plant them again in a few weeks. Best case, you'll have produce a few weeks earlier.

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  5. That last photo is fantastic - great composition, great dark/light dynamics. Nice!

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  6. judy, merci. No, I didn't take the camera to Montrichard, but I should have. Spectacular day with cool sights. And food! I bought aspèrges, fraises, salade, et tomates.

    evelyn, did you know about Paris plage? During August they close the road along the river (right bank, near City Hall) and put in sand and palm trees and make into a little urban beach (no swimming).

    chm, that's like "who's buried in Grant's tomb?" Or "when whas the War of 1812 fought?"

    cheryl, good points. But we didn't do it yet.

    evol, thanks!

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  7. I've heard of the Paris plage, but I think it won't be there at the end of August. I'd like to see it sometime.

    Thanks for bringing Paris to us, Walt. I'm sort of sorry you are leaving soon...

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