Pont Neuf

Pont Neuf

Infobox Bridge
bridge_name = Pont Neuf

caption = Pont Neuf at Sunset.
official_name =
carries =
crosses = River Seine
locale = Paris, France
maint =
id =
designer =apparently Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau and Guillaume Marchand
maintenance engineering by Soufflot, Perronet, Lagalisserie and Résal
design =arch bridge
material =stone
spans =7 + 5
pierswater =
mainspan =
length = convert|232|m
width = convert|22|m
height =
load =
clearance =
below =
traffic =
begin = 1578* Structurae|id=s0000220|title=Pont-Neuf]
complete = 1607
open =
closed =
toll =
map_cue =

map_text =
map_width =
coordinates = coord|48|51|27|N|2|20|29|E|region:FR_type:landmark|display=inline,title
lat =
long =

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 bridge across the river Seine in 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.


As early as 1550, Henry II was asked to build a bridge here because the existing Pont Notre-Dame was overloaded, but the expense was too much at the time.

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
first=Charles S.
title=Bridges of the World: Their Design and Construction
publisher=Dover Publications
location=Mineola, New York
] 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 statue of Henri IV, originally commissioned from Giambologna under the orders of Marie de Médicis, Henri’s widow and Regent of France, in 1614. After his death, Giambologna's assistant Pietro Tacca completed the statue, which was erected on its pedestal by Pietro Francavilla, in 1618. It was destroyed in 1792 during 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 Desaix and cast from a mold made using a surviving cast of the original. Inside the statue, the new sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot put 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 Molay was burned at the stake on the Île de la Cité near 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.



ee also

* "Les Amants du Pont-Neuf" ("The Lovers on the Bridge"), a film by Leos Carax, released in 1991.


External links

* [http://realtravel.com/paris-reviews-a1872598.html Tourist review]
* [http://www.france-pittoresque.com/lieux/11.htm France Pittoresque: Histoire du Pont Neuf]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • pont-neuf — (pon neuf) s. m. 1°   Pont à Paris bâti par Henri IV, sur lequel il y avait jadis des chanteurs en plein air et des bouffons (écrit avec deux majuscules). •   Tellement, monsieur, que je n oserais écrire ma propre confession, de peur qu ils [les… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • PONT-NEUF — n. m. Chanson populaire sur un air fort connu, ainsi nommée parce qu’elle se chantait et se débitait sur le Pont Neuf de Paris. Chanter un pont neuf. Il sait tous les ponts neufs qui courent les rues. Figurément, il signifie Rengaine, lieu commun …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • PONT-NEUF — s. m. Chanson populaire sur un air fort connu. Chanter un pont neuf. Il sait tous les ponts neufs qui courent les rues …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • Pont Neuf — ▪ bridge, Paris, France       oldest existing bridge across the Seine River via the Île de la Cité in Paris, built, with interruptions in the work, from 1578 to 1607. It was designed by Baptiste Du Cerceau and Pierre des Illes, who may have made… …   Universalium

  • Pont Neuf — …   Википедия

  • pont-neuf —    Fille de joie sur le ventre de laquelle tout le monde passe.         Il nous appela des grivoises,    Des ponts neufs, des fines matoises,    De ces filles, et cætera,    Qui pour cinq sols feraient cela.    JACQUES MOREAU …   Dictionnaire Érotique moderne

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