Bridges of Paris: Pont Neuf

Sunday, October 31, 2010 |

Moving on from London, let's see what the bridges of Paris have to offer. The Seine is pretty narrow, so we won't be looking at long bridges. But, boy, the City of Light has some interesting bridges to explore.

First stop is Pont Neuf (pronounced something like PON-NUF). Despite its name (which translates to "New Bridge"), it's the oldest bridge in Paris, completed way back in 1607. We can't pass up the opportunity to cross that bridge. It connects the left and right banks of the Seine to the Île de la Cité, a small island that contains the gems of the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the church of Sainte-Chapelle.

Pont Neuf is an arch bridge made out of stone, carrying both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Like much of the city, it is a bridge meant to be walked. It has beautiful views down the river as far as the Eiffel Tower and back towards Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame. It has little alcoves on it with seats carved out of the stone, always a sign of a good walking bridge. There was construction of some type on the road part of the bridge, but the pedestrian walkways were unaffected when we were there. The bridge is not high, but that doesn't stop the beauty of the views. A definite must during a visit to Paris.

Unless you're worried that a 400-year old bridge has reached the end of its useful lifetime (it was last renovated just a few years ago, so no worry there), it isn't a scary bridge at all: wide sidewalks, completely solid sides (though not overly high at just above waist level), very short in overall length (about 0.1 miles), not very high above the water (I can't find any official stats, so I estimate at 40 feet). A trek onto this bridge is for pure enjoyment. I give it a scariness rating of 5.5 (2 for height, 3 for width, and 0.5 for length).