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Iconic bridges in Paris: Notre-Dame

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Situated near the famous Parisian Flower Market, the Pont Notre Dame occupies the site of one of the very first Parisian bridges. The history of this bridge is most complicated. It was built, destroyed, and rebuilt several times. The construction you can see today in Paris was inaugurated in 1912. Today, this is one of the most iconic bridges in Paris, recognizable by its three elegant arches and its central arch made of metal.

The Pont Notre-Dame, Paris
The Pont Notre-Dame, Paris
77 Quai de la Corse, 75004 Paris, France

History of the Pont Notre-Dame

The story of the Pont Notre-Dame is quite complex. The Grand-Pont was the first bridge built on this spot. Demolished during the Norman attacks, it was replaced by the Pont des Planches de Milbray. And then again, the floods destroyed this new bridge. Finally, in 1412, Charles VI, the King of France, ordered the construction of the wooden bridge, which was called "Notre-Dame". As you might guess, it didn't last long. The forth bridge was then made of stone by Fra Giovanni Giocondo, an Italian architect and friar. Inaugurated in 1507, this new version of the Pont Notre-Dame became a very popular merchant place. But, in the second half of the 18th century, because of the bridge's instability, all its shops were demolished. The fifth Notre-Dame was built in 1853, but it was very problematic when it came to the boat traffic. So, finally, in 1919, a new bridge, made of metal was inaugurated. The sixth Pont Notre-Dame was designed by Jean Résal, a French civil engineer, which was also the man behind the famous Pont Alexandre III.

© Sladjana Perkovic
© Sladjana Perkovic

Artists' inspiration

In 1721, the French painter Jean-Antoine Watteau painted "L'Enseigne de Gersaint" ("The Shop Sign of Gersaint"). This artwork was ordered by Edme Francois Gersaint, a prominent merchant. This painting became a sign for his shop situated on the Pont Notre-Dame. Thanks to the 1756 painting "La Joute de mariniers entre le Pont Notre-Dame et le Pont-au-Change" ("Jousting of the Mariners between the Pont Notre-Dame and the Pont-au-Change), we know today how imposing, and numerous the shops on this bridge were. But, this iconic bridge was also pictured in literature. Javert, a character from "Les Misérables," a famous historical novel by Victor Hugo, commits suicide by jumping from the Pont Notre-Dame.

© iStockphoto/Dreamer Company
© iStockphoto/Dreamer Company

Location

Pont Notre-Dame, one of the most iconic bridges in Paris, is located in the Notre Dame de Paris neighborhood. It will take you directly from the Parisian Right Bank to the Ile de la Cité and its Flower Market, the most enchanting market recognizable by its particular cast iron pavilions from 1900.


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The author

Sladjana Perkovic

Sladjana Perkovic

Hello, my name is Sladjana, a journalist and writer living in Paris, France. I write about French well hidden places, gastronomy and cultural events.

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