As you stroll the riverbank of Paris, you will undoubtedly notice there are many beautiful bridges spanning across the River Seine- 37 to be exact. In fact, I pass by 20 bridges in less than 4 miles on my regular running route through central Paris! As the City of Love continued to grow, so did its need to further connect its famous Right and Left Banks. This system of bridges is part of what makes Paris so walkable, and their beautiful city views and historic designs are part of what makes Paris so dang instagrammable!
Here are the Top 5 bridges in Paris you should visit to get the perfect shot at dawn or dusk:
Pont de l’Archevêché
Built in 1828, Pont de l’Archevêché is the narrowest road bridge in all of Paris and links Île de Cité to the 5th arrondissement on the Left Bank, right behind the one and only Notre Dame Cathedral. The bridge offers one of the best Notre Dame photo ops in the entire city, and sometimes you’ll find local artists capturing the beauty by painting from their easels. This view is especially lovely in the fall, when the leaves are changing in the park and on vines draping down the side of the walls along the river. Once you get your photo, check out the riverside bouquinistes that sell beautiful old French books and vintage postcards out of the green street stalls lining the Quai de Montebello.
Nearest metro station: Saint Michel Notre-Dame
You can take your time on Pont Saint-Louis, as there are no cars allowed on this cute little pedestrian bridge that links Île Saint-Louis and Île de Cité in the middle of the Seine River. The footbridge (or “passerelle”) links the back corner of the Notre Dame gardens to a small square of restaurants along Rue Jean du Bellay and is a popular spot for local street performers to set up shop. It is almost guaranteed that on a Friday evening or sunny Sunday afternoon you will find musicians, magicians, sometimes even roller bladers competing for the attention and tips of those out for a stroll along the Seine.
Nearest metro station: Cité
Pont des Arts
This breathtaking pedestrian bridge links the Institut du France of the Left Bank to the Louvre courtyard on the Right Bank. Pont des Arts is nicknamed the “Bridge of Love,” or love lock bridge, where couples from around the globe used to visit and attach padlocks with their initials on the railings along the sides of the bridge. However, it’s estimated that over 1 million of these locks were removed by 2015, when the grates were replaced with glass panels to prevent the bridge from sinking under the weight. Don’t fret- you’ll still find where some rebellious lovers have attached locks to the bridge’s lampposts, and the bridge offers some of the best views of the City, with a distant Eiffel Tower looming over the Musée d’Orsay.
Nearest metro station: Pont Neuf
Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III is easily one of the most iconic and ornate bridges in all of Paris, connecting Invalides (site of Napoleon’s Tomb) on the Left Bank to both the Grand and Petit Palais on the Right Bank, with magnificent views in between. A true symbol of the Belle Époque (or “Beautiful Era”) of Paris, art nouveau lamp posts line both sides of the bridge, bookended on all four corners by towering bronze sculptures of winged horses. The bridge is wide and there are sidewalks on either side, but the best view/photo op is on the sidewalk along the Right Bank- one of my favorite places to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle. This ornate bridge is breathtaking all the time, but especially magnificent when illuminated at night, even in the rain– just watch the last few minutes of Midnight in Paris as proof.
Nearest metro station: Invalides
Pont de Bir-Hakeim
The steel Pont de Bir-Hakeim has connected the 15th and 16th arrondissements just downstream from the Eiffel Tower since 1905, but movies and television like Inception and Emily in Paris have made this bridge even more famous in recent years. The view of the Eiffel Tower from this bridge are unparalleled- you can take beautiful photos from the tip of the Île aux Cygnes, a stone-walled semicircle that juts out in the middle of the bridge, or beneath the arched hanging lamps that run along the middle. If you come at sunrise or sunset, you might have to wait a few minutes to score the perfect photo op, but it should prove entertaining- this bridge is now quite popular for wedding and engagement shoots.
Nearest metro station: Bir Hakeim