Pont Marie bridge in Paris
The Pont Marie is one of the oldest bridges in Paris that dates back to the 17th century and was constructed to join the Ile Saint Louis to the right bank of the River Seine and named after its designer, it is located on the opposite side to the Pont de la Tournelle.
A bit of history
When the urbanisation was developing further on the Ile Saint Louis island, it was decided that easier access was required and bridges were needed to go from each bank of the River Seine and to the Ile de la Cite island.
The bridge was designed by Christophe Marie at the beginning of the 1600s, however, it was only in 1614 that the first stone was laid by King Louis XIII in a formal ceremony, yet the Canons of Notre Dame Cathedral were against the idea and therefore work was exceedingly slow and it was not opened until 1635.
Named after its designer Christophe Marie, who also oversaw the construction of the Pont Marie, there were still more arguments between him and the Canons of the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, as there were meant to be houses constructed on the bridge.
Eventually though, fifty houses were constructed by the carpenter Claude Dublet, however, there was a lot of controversy over who owned the houses and who was responsible for the bridge, and so, the Pont Marie went into major disrepair.
Unfortunately, when the River Seine flooded during the night of 1st March 1658 it took with it two of the bridge arches closest to the Ile Saint Louis along with twenty houses and around sixty people lost their lives. Yet it was two years later that a wooden bridge was temporarily constructed, in order to restore a link from the right bank to the island.
A toll gate was then put in place, so that the money collected would pay for the reconstruction of a new stone bridge, yet this was only started in 1667 and not finished until 1670. But the houses were never rebuilt on the bridge due to fears of what could happen again, and eventually the remaining houses on the Pont Marie were demolished in 1740, and this bridge in Paris has remained virtually the same ever since.
About the Pont Marie in Paris
The Pont Marie was classified as a historical monument in Paris many years ago, and very little has changed in its appearance from the middle of the 1700s, and this is now one of the oldest bridges over the River Seine.
But this is very little known compared to the Pont Neuf, which is the oldest bridge, or the Pont Alexandre III, which is classified as the most ornate bridge in Paris, and although the abutments at the cutwaters have niches in, they were never filled with statues like they were meant to have been.
However, when you visit the Pont Marie, you will discover that there are five stone arches, yet each one of these is slightly unique in appearance from the others, which makes the bridge more unusual and not entirely uniformed.
And if you happen to go one of the tours in Paris such as a cruise on the River Seine, you may well hear the Pont Marie mentioned. But also a story is also often mentioned that goes along the lines of An old tradition is to kiss the person with you while under the bridge and make a wish, as it is known as the Lovers Bridge, however, no one seems to know how this came about.
But you will also hear about two other bridges in Paris, one called the Pont des Arts, which has become known as the bridge of Love and the other called the Pont de l’Archeveche, often referred to as the Lovers Bridge. And these are where people attach padlocks, or lovelocks as they are known, to the railings of these bridges to declare their love for each other.
Visiting Pont Marie Bridge
You will find that the Pont Marie goes from the right bank of the River Seine close to the Hotel de Ville City Hall in Paris over to the Ile Saint Louis, and it is on the same axis as the Pont de la Tournelle bridge that joins the island to the left bank.
Now it is classified as being in the 4th Arrondissement going from the Voie Georges Pompidou to the Quai d’Anjou. And when it comes to the public transport, the nearest Metro station is called the Pont Marie stop via line 7, which is within walking distance of other tourist attractions such as the Memorial de la Shoah, the Batostar and the Musee de la Magie.