Pont Saint Michel bridge in Paris
The Pont Saint Michel is one of the stone bridges in Paris that links to the Ile de la Cite island, and constructed in the 1850s during the Second Empire, it has the Imperial N on the tympana above the piers.
A bit of history
It was way back in the 1300s that a decision was made to construct a bridge from the left bank over the Ile de la Cite, and called the Neuf-Pont, this was completed in 1387 during the reign of King Charles VI.
However, this bridge over the River Seine was badly damaged in 1408 and was reconstructed in wood again, and had houses built on it, but in 1547, it was struck by several boats and collapsed killing several people. Yet again the bridge was rebuilt along with houses on it, and it remained in place until 1616, when this time it was struck by severe ice and again got destroyed.
A new bridge made of stone was then constructed between 1618 and 1624 during the reign of King Louis XIII, and there was even an equestrian statue of him added along with decorations of Saint Michael and the Virgin Mary, and was named the Pont Saint Michel, which translates to Saint Michael bridge.
Now when you look back at the history of many bridges in Paris, they were originally constructed with houses, and even this bridge was no exception, and the Pont Saint Michel was one of the last bridges to retain its houses until these were demolished at the turn of the 1800s.
But unfortunately, over the years the Pont Saint Michel had begun to show signs of severe wear, plus it was deemed too narrow for how the city had grown, and it was decided that a replacement should be constructed.
About the Pont Saint Michel
Although the original bridge had four arches, the new bridge designed by the French Engineers Paul-Martin Gallocher de Lagalisserie and Paul Vaudrey who also designed the Pont au Change, decided that three elliptical stone arches would best suit requirements and ease for river traffic.
The Pont Saint Michel was completed in 1857 during the Second Empire, and incredibly there was no interruption to traffic on the River Seine during its construction. And just like the Pont au Change, you will see that the tympana, which is the part of the bridge in between the arches that go down to the piers and abutments, are decorated with the Imperial insignia of medallions that are a laurel wreath surrounding a letter N.
Visiting Pont Saint Michel
You will find the Pont Saint Michel located between the Quai des Grands Augustins on the left bank of the River Seine, going over to the Quai des Orfevres on the Ile de la Cite on the opposite side of the island to the Pont au Change.
Originally named after the nearby chapel, you will find this bridge exceedingly close to the Place Saint Michel and the impressive Fontaine Saint Michel fountain, but also close to the Sainte Chapelle, La Conciergerie and Notre Dame Cathedral, with the Petit-Pont being the next bridge upstream, and the Pont Neuf downstream.
Now when it comes to reaching the Pont Saint Michel via the public transport system in Paris, you will find that the nearest Metro station is located in the Latin Quarter in the 5th Arrondissement and serving line 4 it is called the Saint-Michel stop. However, if you are travelling on the RER trains, then you would need the Saint-Michel - Notre Dame stop, or alternatively the Metro station Cite is located on the island itself and is also very convenient.