- Pont Neuf
bridge_name = Pont Neuf
caption = Pont Neuf at Sunset.
crosses = River
designer =apparently Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau and Guillaume Marchand
maintenance engineering by Soufflot, Perronet, Lagalisserie and Résal
spans =7 + 5
length = convert|232|m
width = convert|22|m
begin = 1578* Structurae|id=s0000220|title=Pont-Neuf]
complete = 1607
coordinates = coord|48|51|27|N|2|20|29|E|region:FR_type:landmark|display=inline,title
The Pont Neuf, French for the "New Bridge," is the oldest [The fact, and the irony, are standard fare in travel literature; see any guide to Paris. ] standing
bridgeacross the river Seinein Paris. Its name, which distinguished it from the old bridges that were lined on both sides with houses, simply stuck.
Standing by the western point of the
Île de la Cité, the island in the middle of the river that was the heart of medieval Paris, it connects the left bank, the " Rive Gauche" of Paris with the " Rive Droite", the right bank.
The bridge is actually composed of two separate spans, one of five arches joining the left bank to the Île de la Cité, another of seven joining the island to the right bank. Old engraved maps of Paris show how, when the bridge was built, it just grazed the downstream tip of the Île de la Cité; since then, the natural sandbar building of a mid-river island, aided by stone-faced embankments called "
quais", has extended the island, which is planted as the Parc Vert Gallant, in honour of Henry IV, the "Green Gallant" King.
In 1577, the decision to build the bridge was made by King Henri III who laid its first stone in 1578, during which year the foundations of four piers and one abutment were completed. A major design change was made in 1579 requiring the widening of the bridge to allow houses to be built, though they never were, made the piers on the long arm longer. These piers were built over the next nine years. After a long delay beginning in 1588, due in part to the
Wars of Religion, construction was resumed in 1599. The bridge was completed under the reign of Henri IV, who inaugurated it in 1607.
Pont Neuf is constructed as a series of many short
arch bridges, as most bridges of that time were built, following Roman precedents. Unlike the old bridges, it was the first stone bridge in Paris not to support houses in addition to a thoroughfare, and was also fitted with pavements protecting pedestrians from mud and horses; pedestrians could also step aside into its bastions to let a bulky carriage pass.
The bridge had heavy traffic from the beginning;cite book
title=Bridges of the World: Their Design and Construction
location=Mineola, New York
ref=] it was for a long time the widest bridge in Paris. The bridge has undergone much repair and renovation work, including rebuilding of seven spans in the long arm and lowering of the roadway by changing the arches from an almost semi-circular to elliptical form (1848-1855), lowering of sidewalks and faces of the piers,
spandrels, cornices and replacing crumbled corbels as closely to the originals as possible. In 1885, one of the piers of the short arm was undermined, removing the two adjacent arches, requiring them to be rebuilt and all the foundations strengthened.
A major restoration of the Pont Neuf was begun in 1994 and was completed in 2007, the year of its 400th anniversary.
Under the wide arches, on the paved
quais, the destitute of Paris called "clochards" have always huddled.Clarifyme|date=March 2008
The equestrian statue of Henri IV
At the point where the bridge crosses the
Île de la Cité, there stands a bronze equestrian statueof Henri IV, originally commissioned from Giambolognaunder the orders of Marie de Médicis, Henri’s widow and Regent of France, in 1614. After his death, Giambologna's assistant Pietro Taccacompleted the statue, which was erected on its pedestal by Pietro Francavilla, in 1618. It was destroyed in 1792during the French Revolution, but was rebuilt in 1818, following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Bronze for the new statue was obtained with the bronze from a statue of Louis Charles Antoine Desaixand cast from a mold made using a surviving cast of the original. Inside the statue, the new sculptor François-Frédéric Lemotput four boxes, containing a history of the life of Henri IV, a 17th-century parchment certifying the original statue, a document describing how the new statue was commissioned, and a list of people who contributed to a public subscription.
Resting place of Jacques de Molay
The last Grand Master of the
Knights Templar Jacques de Molaywas burned at the stake on the Île de la Citénear the Pont Neuf, on 18 March 1314. The execution was ordered by Philippe le Bel (Philip the Fair) after Jacques retracted all of his previous confessions, which outraged the French king.
Les Amants du Pont-Neuf" ("The Lovers on the Bridge"), a film by Leos Carax, released in 1991.
* [http://realtravel.com/paris-reviews-a1872598.html Tourist review]
* [http://www.france-pittoresque.com/lieux/11.htm France Pittoresque: Histoire du Pont Neuf]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.