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Pont Neuf

Built to ease traffic congestion in the early 17th century, this iconic five-arch bridge is Paris' oldest bridge.

TravelCurious Tip

Walk along the bridge at sunset, with the views of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, and that’s when you’ll fall for Paris

Pont Neuf spans the river Seine in Paris, and is the oldest standing bridge to do so. It has stood there since the start of the 17th century. It is constructed as a series of short arch bridges and that Roman-inspired design has stood the test of time.


Decorating the sides of the bridge are 381 stone masks, or mascarons, which depict the heads of various figures from ancient mythology, as well as satyrs and sylvains. When the bridge underwent reconstruction in the 19th century the mascarons were replaced with replicas, but they are nonetheless impressive for it.


Break Pont

Where the bridge crosses the Île de la Cité stands a bronze statue of King Henry IV, commissioned by his widow and Regent of France, Marie de Medici. Pont Neuf was one of his first projects when he took the throne after a period of war and uncertainty in France. He wanted to make a statement and literally get Paris moving again.


The king allegedly impressed workers when he visited the construction by leaping over the vast gaps between the pillars of the unfinished bridge. The statue was toppled during the French Revolution, but subsequently reformed using the melted bronze from statues of Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, a general for the French Republic, and of Napoleon. How’s that for symbolism.


The Heart of Paris

Historically, Ponte Neuf was considered the unlikely heart of Paris, somewhere you could see its the true character. Czar Peter the Great came to study French civilisation and declared that he found nothing more curious in Paris than the Ponte Neuf. It was full of vendors hawking oysters, cakes, oranges, coffee, dogs, wooden legs, glass eyes and false teeth. Singers would trill bawdy rhymes about the royal and the rich and sometimes end up in prison for their troubles. It’s a little less rowdy these days, but no less worth the visit.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Paris
Île de la Cité
This island in the middle of the River Seine is the historical heart of Paris.
La Conciergerie
Once a royal residence, the Conciergerie became a prison during the French revolution, a notable prisoner being Marie-Antoinette.
Square du Vert-Galant
A beautiful little park, the subject of many photographs and paintings, occupying the western tip of Île de la Cité.
Place St-Michel Fountain
One of the city's most well-known meeting places, the statue depicts the archangel Michael vanquishing the Devil.
Place-Dauphine
One of the prettiest, most peaceful locations in Paris, the square is a hot-spot for families, dog walkers and petanque players.
Shakespeare and Co Bookshop
A legendary meeting place and boarding-house for many aspiring writers. Stocks everything from Shakespeare to Joyce.

Related Tours

The Latin Quarter: Parisian Authors & Thinkers
The Latin Quarter is one of Paris' most quirky and interesting neighbourhoods. It is an ambient juxtaposition of medieval backstreets, churches and grand Haussmman-style boulevards, which were built in the 19th century as part of Paris’ modernisation, the area takes its name from medieval times when the majority of local residents were clergy or students who spoke Latin. 

  • Begin at Île de la Cité and see the stunning Notre Dame.
  • Experience the artistic haunts of Sartre, Hemingway, and Camus.
  • Get off the beaten track at Paris’ best-hidden squares and parks.
  • Learn all about the area’s post-Medieval history.
  • End your tour in one of the most beautiful parks in the world - the Luxembourg Gardens.
This three-hour walking tour begins on the edge of the Latin Quarter, on the island Île de la Cité, the city’s historical medieval epicentre. Here you will see the famous Notre Dame and will explore some other architecturally notable sights on the island, including the Conciergerie, Place Dauphine, and Square du Vert-Galan, before venturing across the distinctively Parisian Pont Neuf bridge into the heart of the Latin Quarter.

The Latin Quarter was the scene of the student uprising in May ’68, even though its medieval facade strikes a strong contrast to its liberal, intellectual and artistic side. On Boulevard St-Michel and Boulevard St Germain, you will find many cafes where the likes of Camus, Orwell, and Hemingway passed hours discussing philosophy and literature. The area is also rich with interesting book shops, most notably the Shakespeare and Company - a legendary meeting place and boarding house for many aspiring writers.

Your tour guide will direct you through the neighbourhood’s best cultural haunts: experience the wonders of medieval backstreets that are adorned with theatres and jazz clubs, unchanged since their post-war beginnings, and see the narrowest street in Paris. Visit the city’s oldest church in St Julien le Pauvre and see one of the most famous academic institutions in the world - La Sorbonne. Next stop off at the Panthéon, a mausoleum where many distinguished French figures such as Voltaire, Braille, and Rousseau were laid to rest. Then wander through the grounds of the stunning Luxembourg Gardens and Palace, the perfect place to people watch, enjoy nature, and feel like a true Parisian.
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