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Four Bridges With Views of the Seine

Old, new, designer, romantic, cold, practical, beautiful, iron, ornamented… these are some ways of describing the thirty-seven bridges that span the river Seine on its passage through Paris. Any visit to the French capital that excludes this beautiful river and these priceless engineering works would be tantamount to missing part of its soul. This is no overstatement. For starters, the banks of the Seine and the monuments sited there were included in UNESCO’s 1991 World Heritage listing. A stroll along those shores is a walk through centuries of history – and art – which we constantly encounter along the way: Notre Dame, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Orsay Museum, the Tuileries Garden, Place de la Concordia, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Eiffel Tower, to name but a few.

Another highlight you are likely to come across on your walk are the magnificent bridges. Apart from conveying you from one side of the river to the other, they afford the best views of the city. Following is our selection of four of the most popular bridges, which are bound to end up in your photos during your tour of Paris, help you cross the Seine in search of some landmark or provide the backdrop to you stealing a kiss from your beloved.

Pont Neuf

Despite its name (meaning New Bridge), it happens to have the honour of being the oldest and longest bridge in the city. In 1578, work commenced on what was to become the first stone bridge built across the river Seine, as until then the bridges had all been wooden – hence the name. Located at one end of the Ile de la Cité, it has two spans – one connecting the left bank to the Ile de la Cité and the other linking up with the right bank. It is the classical bridge one takes when going on the essential visits to Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sainte-Chapelle.

Pont des Arts

The Pont des Arts, also known as the Passerelle des Arts, located in the 6th Arrondissement, was built between 1801 and 1804 and was the first iron bridge in Paris. What visitors will see today, however, is a replica of the original construction, built from 1981 to 1984, as the original was severely damaged during the two World Wars. The views it affords of the Ile de la Cité make it one of the most frequently visited spots by sightseers and also artists, who tend to come here in search of the best picture-postcard view of the city. In recent years it has also become a place of pilgrimage for young couples seeking to seal their love by placing a padlock on the railing.

Pont d’Alma

Located alongside Alma Square, which features a replica of the Flame in Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, it was commissioned by Napoleon III in 1854 to commemorate the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War. In previous times, the Zouave statue – one of the four statues adorning it – was used to measure water levels in times of flooding. Nowadays it has become a place of pilgrimage to pay tribute to Princess Diana, as the tunnel situated behind this bridge is where she died in a car accident in August 1997.

Pont Alexandre III

This elegant bridge, classified as a French “historic monument”, was built for the Exposition Universelle in 1900 and dedicated to Tsar Alexander III of Russia. Construction on the bridge got under way in 1896 in the Beaux Arts style of the Third Republic. Sited between the 7th and 8th Arrondissement, it links the Invalides to the Grand Palais des Beaux-Arts and the Petit Palais. A stroll across the bridge provides a magnificent panoramic view of the area, with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Book your Vueling to Paris and roam the banks of the Seine in search of some of its magnificent bridges and beautiful views.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by stanze, Bruno Pereira, Yann Caradec, Barry