Pont Royal bridge in Paris
The Pont Royal is in fact the third oldest bridge in Paris and going over the River Seine by the Louvre museum it is easily recognisable by the humpback it still retains and has been classified as one of the historical monuments.
A bit of history
There was once a ferry that used to link the two banks of the River Seine where you will now be able to discover the Pont Royal, however, in 1632 the first wooden bridge was constructed, that was nicknamed the Pont Rouge due to its colour.
This was designed purely for pedestrians and horse riders, with a toll that was payable by those using it, yet unfortunately, like so many of the other original bridges in Paris, this burned down and got washed away by the river, so it was decided that a stone bridge should replace it.
This new stone bridge was designed and constructed during the years 1685 and 1689 with the support of Jacques Gabriel and Jules Hardouin-Mansart, but because it was entirely financed by King Louis XIV, it was named the Pont Royal for this reason. And although the Pont Royal bridge was altered slightly in the 19th century when the hump was reduced, the bridge has remained the same, although renovation works are going to be carried out over the next few years.
About Pont Royal bridge over the River Seine
Over the years the Pont Royal has seen many different historical events such as large festivals and celebrations in Paris that took place during the 18th century, along with a nautical festival that was held on the occasion of the marriage between Elisabeth of France and the Infante Philip of Spain, which attracted around half a million people to the banks of the River Seine and the bridges.
And unlike some of the bridges over the River Seine, this has only had its named changed twice, once to the Pont National during the French Revolution the to the Pont des Tuileries, which was during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte I, when he even placed cannons on the bridge to protect the Tuileries. But after the fall of the Empire, it reverted back to its original name of the Pont Royal.
You will be able to see the five fully curved elliptical stone arches of the Pont Royal bridge, with the widest one in the middle being around 23 metres, yet at the last stretch on either bank there is a water level marker, known as a hydrographic ladder, which indicates the highest levels and the lowest levels recorded on the River Seine at this point.
And having been classified as an historical monument in Paris since 1939, eventually in 2005 the Pont Royal was illuminated by lights at night, which makes the bridge even more stunning, especially if you are on one of the cruises on the River Seine.
Visiting Pont Royal
You will find the Pont Royal situated by the Quai des Tuileries on the right bank of the river by the Pavillon de Flore of the famous Louvre Museum, and on the opposite side it is situated at the Quai Voltaire between the Rue du Bac, named after the original ferry crossing, and the Rue de Beaune.
Designated as being in the 1st Arrondissement, the next bridge upstream is called the Pont du Carrousel and the nearest Metro stations are either the Palais Royal - Musee du Louvre stop or the Tuileries stop. Whereas if you are travelling on the RER trains, then the nearest station is the Musee d’Orsay stop on the opposite bank, but there is also a Batobus water bus stop close by as well.