17 Most Famous Bridges In Paris Worth Seeing
Here are the famous bridges in Paris to add to your Paris bucket list! Whether it’s for the stunning views or architectural marvel, they won’t disappoint!
Paris is no doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and one feature that underlines that beauty is the river Seine.
Snaking through the heart of the city, the river that was once such an obstacle now holds it together and provides both a focal point and a means of transport.
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Bridging it became the only way that the city could develop into the cohesive hub that it is today and, in a style typical of the French, many of these Parisian bridges are architectural delights.
Though this article won’t be able to look at all the 37, it will guide you to some of the most famous bridges of Paris that are your adding to your itinerary.
Before You Go, Here’s How to Plan Your Visit To Paris: Practical Quick Tips
WHERE TO STAY
Best Eiffel Tower Views: Hôtel Le Walt (9.0)
Luxury stay: Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel (8.2)
Mid-range stay: Hôtel Eiffel (8.7)
Budget Stay: People – Paris Bercy (8.9)
Apartment Rental: Résidence Charles Floquet (9.1)
BEST GUIDED TOURS
Louvre Museum guided tour: (4.5/5)
Seine River Dinner Cruise: (4.7/5)
Montmartre Walking Tour: (4.8/5)
Le Marais Walking Food Tour: (4.5/5)
Versailles Guided Tour: (4.8/5)
Eiffel Tower Guided Tour: (4.4/5)
- Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.
- Prepare your trip extensively with this Paris Travel guidebook.
- Don’t forget a universal travel adapter, a travel neck pouch, and comfortable walking shoes.
- Consider getting either the museum pass or the Paris city pass if you plan to visit a lot of attractions. The city pass comes with free transportation and access to the hop-on-hop-off bus. You can read my Paris museum pass review to see if it’s right for you.
- Book this private transfer from CDG airport to Paris to avoid the hustle of figuring out how to get to Paris.
Famous Bridges in Paris
1. Pont Neuf
In a city blessed with more than its fair share of stunning bridges, it is difficult to decide which one to begin with.
Though called the “new bridge”, Pont Neuf is in fact the oldest bridge in Paris so that is probably a good place to start.
The name stems from the fact that it was the first bridge of its kind since previous bridges had been built from wood and were prone to fire and flood damage from the moody Seine.
Constructed in 1578 (though it was not completed until 1607), this bridge joins the left bank with the Ile de la Cité in front of Place Dauphine.
Among the many features covering the 238 metres (260 yards) length of this national monument, don’t forget to look out for the 381 sculpted masks called “mascarons” which represent mythological Greek gods.
The bridge also features an equestrian statue of king Henry IV who inaugurated it.
2. Pont des Arts
I am sure that there will be a wide range of opinions as to which is the most romantic bridge in Paris, but one name that always enters the discussion is Pont des Arts.
Pont des Arts is a pedestrian bridge linking the Institut de France with Palais de Louvre.
Built during the Napoleonic era, it was the first metal bridge in the city. Though the initial idea was to make it look like a suspended garden where people could sit on benches and contemplate the beauty of Paris, over time, it became famous for another reason.
In 2008, lovers began attaching engraved padlocks to the railings and throwing the key in the Seine as a sign of endless love.
The trend grabbed the public imagination and not so long, the walls of locks became the bridge’s most notable feature — one that drew tourists in their droves and even earned it the nickname “love lock bridge”.
By 2014, the number of locks was estimated at 700, 000 and the city officials began to suggest their weight was a threat to the bridge’s structural integrity. In fact, part of the parapet on the bridge even collapsed due to the weight of the locks.
Finally, the wire panels were removed, along with some 45 tons of locks and these have been replaced with panels painted by local street artists.
Though you can no longer add locks to it, Pont des Arts is still one of the most famous bridges in Paris worth visiting not only to take some selfies with the locks but to also get a view of the Orsay museum and the Eiffel Tower.
3. Pont de Bir-Hakeim
Spanning the Seine to link the 15th and 16th arrondissements, this is one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris.
Practically new by Paris standards, the bridge was completed in 1905 and its spilt level offers both pedestrian and vehicle travel, while the upper level carries the metro across the river.
Re-named after the Battle of Bir-Hakeim in World War II, Pont de Bir-Hakeim is flanked with lights in the art décor style and impressive iron sculptures.
It is another Parisian bridge that affords impressive views of the Eiffel Tower.
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4. Pont Alexandre III
Many will tell you that this is the most beautiful bridge in Paris and it is an opinion that is hard to dispute.
Bedecked with ornate bronze sculptures of winged horses, nymphs, and an impressive array of sea monsters, the bridge was an engineering triumph, partially because it was completed without disrupting river traffic.
It connects the Grand and Petit Palais with Hotel des Invalides but if you really want to see it in its full glory, then visit at night when it is illuminated by 32 exquisite brass candelabras.
Besides its grandeur beauty, a stroll along Pont Alexandre III will treat you to impressive views of the Eiffel Tower, the stunning roof of the Grand Palais, and Hotel des Invalides.
5. Pont d’Iéna
If you have ever crossed the Seine between the Trocadero and the Champs de Mars (the park where the Eiffel Tower sits), then you may well have traversed this bridge.
The fact that it carries you between two of Paris’ best-known landmarks is not the only reason to visit.
The bridge was built after the Battle of Jena under the instructions of Napoleon I who had won that battle.
Later, following the fall of the First Empire, Prussian general Blücher, who lost that battle, wanted to destroy the bridge that commemorated his humiliation.
Instead, as an act of appeasement, its name was changed to Pont de l’Ecole Militaire and the imperial eagles were removed.
However, during the Second Empire, both the eagles and the original name were restored.
6. Passerelle Debilly
This iron bridge on stone piers may not be the most elegant that the city has to offer, but don’t let that deter you. It is one of the best bridges in Paris from where to take pictures of the Eiffel tower.
Passerelle Debilly is a footbridge that connects Quai Branly with Quai de New York and it is its proximity to the famous Iron Lady that makes it such a drawcard for in-the-know photographers.
Though initially constructed to be a temporary bridge to accommodate the huge number of tourists that were expected during the 1900 World’s Fair, it was later made into a permanent structure in 1906 and has today become one of the best spots to admire the Eiffel Tower from.
7. Pont de la Tournelle
Pont De La Tournelle connects the Ile Saint-Louis in the 4th arrondissement with Quai de la Tournelle in the 5th.
It is dominated by a statue of Saint Genevieve who is the patron saint of Paris. The statue faces east from where invaders dating as far back as Atilla approached the city.
The current bridge replaced a stone bridge from 1656 which caused problems during high tides and which in turn had replaced a wooden bridge that was swept away in the floods of 1651.
Its sweeping arches make it one of the most elegant bridges in Paris but its the view of Notre Dame it gives that makes it famous among tourists.
8. Pont au Change
Connecting the Ile de la Cité at the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie with the Right Bank at Place du Chatelet, Pont au Change is the latest of many bridges to stand at this particular site.
Completed in 1860, it takes its name from the fact that money changers and gold dealers had their shops along one of the bridges it replaced.
If the name seems somewhat familiar, it may be because this bridge is featured in the novel Les Misérables by France’s famous writer Victor Hugo and in Patrick Süskind’s novel, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.
9. Pont Marie
Linking the right bank with Iles Louis, Pont Marie is actually named after its designer Christophe Marie rather than the Virgin Mary as many would assume.
The original wooden bridge was washed away by floods and the current bridge dates back to the 18th century.
There are many “so-called traditions” relating to this bridge but they all run along the theme of kissing the person next to you while making a wish.
The truth is, no such tradition actually exists and it is thought to have been an idea dreamed up by tourist guides on the river’s many excursion boats.
However, don’t let that deter you and feel free to give it a go, just in case.
10. Pont au Double
This unassuming little iron bridge was first built in 1634 to connect Ile de la Cité with the hospital at Hotel-Dieu.
However, the original collapsed in 1709 and the bridge that we see today was completed in 1883.
To pay for construction costs of the first bridge, the hospital levied a toll of one “double tournoi” which was a coin that was minted in Tours — and that’s how the bridge got its name.
The double payment was demanded of foot passengers while six Tournoi was the payment required for a man on horseback.
The original bridge may have been destroyed but the name remains unchanged. And since the bridge leads to Notre Dame Cathedral, you can get an obstructed view of this famous Parisian church from there.
11. Pont Saint-Michel
There has been a bridge connecting Place Saint-Michel to Île de la Cité since 1378 but the most recent reconstruction of this triple-arched bridge took place in 1857.
At one time when Pont Saint-Michel was rebuilt as a stone bridge, it supported two rows of houses but these were destroyed when a decree was made that no house should be on any of the Paris bridges.
Beside the historical significance, a good reason to visit is the fact that the bridge affords great views of Notre Dame which is also what attracted artists Henri Matisse and Albert Lebourg.
12. Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir
If you are a pedestrian or cyclist then this is one of the best bridges in Paris worth seeing.
Linking the 12th and 13 arrondissements, the bridge was built by the Eiffel company which is based in Alsace.
Once completed, each component had to be arduously transported via canals, the North Sea, the English Channel, and the various French rivers.
As if that were not enough of an engineering feat, the whole thing was hoisted into place at three o’clock one winter Saturday morning in 2006 to cause minimal disruption to river traffic.
Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir traverses the river with no support in the water thus making it an interesting sight for those who are keen on engineering.
Innaguarated in 2006, this is the newest bridge in Paris!
13. Pont de la Concorde
This stone arch bridge was completed in 1791. The idea behind the design was conceived much earlier in 1755 but the city’s officials dithered over implementation because they feared the design was too daring.
Its five impressive stone arches were built using masonry from the Bastille prison which was stormed during what is probably the most well-known event of the French Revolution.
Pont de la Concorde connects the Place de la Concorde with Quai des Tuileries meaning that it lies at the heart of some of the best-known tourist districts of the city.
14. Pont Charles-de-Gaulle
Pont Charles-de-Gaulle is a sleek testimony to modern architecture since it was designed to resemble the wing of a plane. It carries four lanes of traffic, all of it northeast-bound.
Connecting the Biblioteque National de France to the Bercy district, the bridge was built to help reduce pressure on the Pont Austerlitz which was the most heavily used bridge in the city at the time.
Although not a historical bridge or a bridge in Paris with padlocks, this one is an example of sleek modern design that demonstrates that the French have lost none of their bridge-building prowess.
15. Pont Mirabeau
Completed in 1897, Pont Mirabeau is a fairly young bridge by Parisian standards, but that hasn’t prevented it from being classed as a historical monument.
At the time it was completed, it was both the longest and highest bridge in Paris. The two piles on which it is supported were designed to represent boats carrying statues of four allegorical characters.
The bridge connects the 15th arrondissement with the 16th and carries cars, trains, and pedestrians.
And if the name rings a bell, it’s because the French poem Le Pont Mirabeau by the renowned poet Guillaume Apollinaire, is based on it.
16. Pont Levant de Crimée (Crimea Street Lift Bridge)
This bridge differs slightly from other famous bridges in Paris we have looked at because it doesn’t serve to cross the Seine.
Instead, this delightful little bridge carries you across the Canal de l’Ourcq at La Villete in the 19th arrondissement.
It was the first lift bridge to be built in Paris and is now classified as a historical monument.
It still functions as a lift bridge and if you want to see it in action, that shouldn’t be difficult since it is raised over 9,000 times per year.
Originally, its works were concealed within the sewers of the city, and although those mechanisms have been replaced by more up-to-date technology, you can still see many of the redundant parts.
17. Passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor
Here is another famous bridge in Paris that caters just to pedestrians. The bridge is metal but is covered in exotic hardwood and traverses the river in a single span without piers.
Again, built by the famous Eiffel engineering works, this bridge may look light and delicate but its two supporting buttresses extend 15 metres (16.4 yards) into the ground.
Prior to a name change in 2006, it was called the passerelle Solferino and the use of this name is still very common.
It crosses the Seine in the 7th Arrondissement and the closest Metro is Assemblée National.
Final thoughts on the Famous Paris Bridges
Although it’s not easy to narrow down what the most famous bridge in Paris is or which one is the most romantic, when it comes to beautiful bridges in Paris, you are spoiled for choice.
They offer an insight into a dynamic history of bridge making which in turn opens up many other aspects of French history.
In addition, some of them are just so beautiful that they will provide you with memories you may well never forget.
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More articles to help you plan your trip to Paris.
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- How to get from CDG to Paris
- Best rooftop bars in Paris
- How to get from Paris to Versailles Palace
- Things to do in the 16th arrondissement of Paris
- Best night tours of Paris
- A complete guide to the 20 arrondissements of Paris
- Best Souvenirs from Paris
- What is Paris famous for
- Fun things to do in Paris in November
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