A Guide to the 20 Bridges of Central Paris

January 9, 2022
Bridge Paris

An east to west guide to 20 bridges along the Seine River in the heart of Paris

Paris is not just the City of Love or the City of Lights… it’s the City of Bridges! I mean, it’s obviously no Venice, but the fact that Paris was built along the River Seine, which separates the famous Right and Left Banks, means there are inevitably a lot of bridges connecting the two, as well as linking the two islands (Île Saint-Louis and Île de Cité) at the city’s epicenter.

In short, the development of all these bridges (37 in total) means there is a lot of history to be told and lots of breathtaking views to be had.

Seriously- within roughly an hour’s stroll or “flâner” along the Seine (6 km/3.7 miles) you will not only pass many of the City’s most iconic landmarks, but 20 ornate, historical bridges, some of which you might recognize from a film or two, and all of which provide you unique views.

This bridge “cheat sheet” gives you a quick synopsis of 20 bridges, working your way from the east end of Île Saint-Louis to the far side of the Eiffel Tower on the west end of the Left Bank.

Pack your running shoes? You can easily check each of these bridges off the list on one of the most picturesque jogs of your life! Start by Pont de Sully on the Right Bank’s Parc Rives de Seine and then coming back along the Left Bank after crossing over at Pont de Bir-Hakeim. The full loop is about 7 miles, but Bir-Hakeim also has a bus and RER stop if you’re saving your steps for more city exploration!

Pont de Sully

Rebuilt by Haussman in 1876 following the French Revolution
Connects the eastern tip of Île Saint-Louis to the Arab World Institute in the 5th (Left Bank) and the Square Henri Galli park in the 4th (Right Bank).
Offers views along the southern side and quai of Île Saint-Louis and the back of Notre Dame Cathedral.
Look for the “1910” inscription on the side of the bridge that marks how high the water got during the Great Flood of that year.

Nearest metro station: Sully-Morland

Pont de la Tournelle (Left Bank)/Pont Marie (Right Bank)

Stone bridges built in the 1600s.
Both bridges connect to Rue des Deux Ponts (Road of Two Bridges), which runs through the middle of Île Saint-Louis.
Pont de la Tournelle offers a great view of the back of Notre Dame, especially at night, when you can see the illuminated Eiffel Tower lingering behind it. It also connects to the famed Ratatouille restaurant, La Tour d’Argent, on the Left Bank.
This is the Paris bridge officially used to gauge the water level of the Seine at any given time.

Nearest metro station: Pont-Marie

Pont Louis Philippe

The bridge’s namesake, King Louis-Philippe, laid the first stone in 1833 to celebrate his accession to the throne following the Revolution of 1830, but the original was burned down during the Revolution of 1848 and then rebuilt in 1860. Busy times!
Links the Quai de Bourbon on the western tip of Île Saint-Louis to the Right Bank by the well-known and photographed restaurant, Chez Julien.
This is a common bridge to come across a quintessentially French accordion player looking for tips.

Nearest metro station: Pont-Marie

Pont Saint-Louis

The cutest little pedestrian bridge that links the two islands (Île Saint-Louis and Île de Cité) in the center of the River Seine by linking the back of the Notre Dame gardens to a small square of restaurants along Rue Jean du Bellay.
This pedestrian bridge was completed in 1970- the 7th bridge built to link the 2 islands since 1630.
Popular spot for local street artists (musicians, magicians, sometimes even roller bladers) to set up shop, especially on a Friday evening or sunny Sunday afternoon.
You can grab a Berthillon ice cream cone from a nearby stand on Saint-Louis, then take in the fantastic views from the bridge of Hôtel de Ville and tips of both Seine islands.

Nearest metro station: Cité

Pont de l’Archevêché

Built in 1828, it is the narrowest road bridge in all of Paris and links Île de Cité to the 5th arrondissement on the Left Bank.
Offers the best Notre Dame Cathedral photo op, especially as the leaves are changing in the fall.
Also nicknamed the “Lovers Bridge” from when couples began adding padlocks or “love locks” to it’s metal side railings after they were banned from the Pont des Arts in 2010. They have since been removed.
You might recognize it from Outlander.

Nearest metro station: Saint Michel Notre-Dame

Pont d’Arcole

Connects the northeast side of Île de Cité to the striking Hôtel de Ville (Paris’s City Hall) on the Right Bank.
Commissioned by royal decree in 1827 and opened to pedestrians a year later, it is the first Paris bridge to be constructed entirely of wrought iron instead of cast iron.
A common bridge for street musicians, due to its close proximity to 2 tourist hot spots (Notre Dame and Hôtel de Ville).

Nearest metro station: Hôtel de Ville

Pont Notre-Dame

Links the Île de Cité’s Marché aux Fleurs (Flower Market) to the Police Station near the Saint-Jacques Tower in the 4th arrondissement (Right Bank).
This was the site of the very first bridge built in Paris in the 9th century, but has been rebuilt several times since, including a time in the 15th century when 60 houses and shops were built along the wooden bridge! Unfortunately, this bridge collapsed during a flood in 1499.
The current Haussmannian style bridge was built in 1853 and refurbished in 1919, but a small piece of the 1853 bridge remains on the Île de Cité side.

Nearest metro station: Cité

Pont au Change

The bridge runs from the Palais de Justice and the Conciergerie (French Revolution prison where Marie Antoinette was held that looks like a big castle) on the Île de la Cité to the Right Bank’s border between the 1st and 4th arrondissements at the Place du Châtelet.
The bridge was rebuilt in the 1850s, during Napoleon’s Second Empire. Look for the engraved “N,” Napoleon III’s imperial insignia.
Nearest metro station: Cité and Châtelet

Pont Neuf

This arched, stone bridge links Place Dauphine on the western end of Île de la Cité to the posh Saint-Germain-des-Prés district of the Left Bank and the eastern edge of the Louvre on the Right Bank.
Contrary to its name (literally the “New Bridge”) Pont Neuf is famously the oldest bridge that remains standing in Paris today. In fact, Parisians still say that something is “as solid as Pont Neuf.”
The bridge was commissioned by Henri IV in 1578, he laid the first stone himself, and that’s him in statue form riding a horse in the middle of the bridge.

Nearest metro station: Pont Neuf

Pont des Arts

This breathtaking pedestrian bridge links the Institut du France of the Left Bank to the cour carrée (central square) of the Louvre courtyard on the Right Bank.
This is the famed “Bridge of Love,” or love lock bridge, where lovers 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.
Does this bridge seem familiar? The old, Parisian feel of the wood panel pedestrian walkway, sandwiched by dazzling views on all four sides makes this bridge a very popular film spot. Just ask Chidi and Eleanor on The Good Place.

Nearest metro station: Pont Neuf

Pont du Carrousel

This bridge’s name reflects its connection of the Place du Carrousel and Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel monument on the grounds of the Louvre on the Right Bank (it’s sometimes also just referred to as Pont du Louvre) to the gallery and antique shop-lined Quai Voltaire on the Left Bank.
The current bridge was built in the 1930s and covered in quarried stone to match the surrounding architecture. However, the four stone statues are from the original 1847 bridge and meant to represent Industry, Abundance, the City of Paris and the River Seine. I love going on this bridge before or after a trip to the Louvre to visit the statues, which feel very fittingly placed.
Look for the commemorative plaque placed on the bridge by the President of France in 2003 to honor the memory of Brahim Bouarram (a Moroccan immigrant who was pushed from the bridge and drowned), as well as all victims of racism.

Nearest metro station: Palais Royal – Musee du Louvre

Pont Royal

This bridge was commissioned by Louis XIV to replace the paid ferry system that linked the Louvre on the Right Bank to Boulevard Saint-Germain on the Left Bank. Today it connects the Louvre to the nearby Musée d’Orsay.
Finished in 1689, Pont Royal is the third oldest bridge still standing along the Seine.
Nearest metro station: Tuileries, Solférino or Musée d’Orsay RER

Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor

“Passerelle” means footbridge, and this one opened in 1999 to connect the Musée d’Orsay on the Left Bank to the Jardin des Tuileries on the Right.
The bridge was originally named Passerelle Solférino, but later renamed after the Sengalese poet and politician who was also the first African man elected to the Académie Française.
The double decker footbridge is made out of Brazilian wood, and the lower level links to the lovely public park that runs along the Left Bank of the Seine. Look out for the nearby Thomas Jefferson statue here too!

Nearest metro station: Assemblée Nationale or Musée d’Orsay RER

Pont de la Concorde

This bridge offers a great alternate view of the Eiffel Tower in the curved distance, as it links the Palais Bourbon, home of the French National Assembly, on the Left Bank to the sprawling Place de la Concorde on the Right Bank.
This historically artistic stone bridge straddles the 7th and 8th arrondissements and was completed in 1791 and built with the rubble of the recently fallen Bastille prison.
This bridge has sidewalks, but also stays very busy with car traffic due to its connection to the busy Place de la Concorde.

Nearest metro station: Assemblée Nationale or Concorde

Pont Alexandre III

This bridge is easily one of the most iconic and ornate 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, and offering a magnificent view of the houseboat-lined Seine and Eiffel Tower in between.
It was originally built for the Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair) of 1900, the international world’s fair that showed off France’s Beaux Arts and Art Nouveau style to the rest of the world, which very much exemplified the Parisian Belle Époque (of “Beautiful Era”) of late 19th/early 20th centuries.
Art nouveau lamp posts line both sides of the bridge, bookended on all four corners by towering bronze sculptures meant to signify different ruling eras of France, with winged horses representing the Arts, Sciences, Commerce and Industry. Smaller sculptures of cherubs, fish, seashells, and sea monsters are also scattered around the bridge.
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 des Invalides

This bridge is just a block downstream from Pont Alexandre III, and despite its name, does not align directly with Invalides, but touches down in the 7th arrondissement along a stretch of Quai d’Orsay where many of the embassies find home.
Construction was first completed in 1829, but then the bridge ended up being rebuilt in preparation of the 1855 World’s Fair in Paris.
It is known for being the lowest lying bridge along the Seine, so sometimes is used as a local point of reference rendered when rendered impassable during bad flooding seasons.

Nearest metro station: Invalides

Pont de l’Alma

Pont de l’Alma spans from the Left Bank by the Paris Sewer Museum and the Musée du Quai Branly to the well-known restaurant, Chez Francis, on the Right Bank right off the designer-shop lined Avenue Montaigne.
Napoleon III commissioned this slender bridge in 1854, and it offers a great view of the Eiffel Tower, but it truly became an international point of reference in 1997, when Princess Diana tragically died in a car accident here.
The Right Bank side has a replica of the flame of the statue of Liberty that has become an informal memorial to Princess Diana, and you will often find where people have placed flowers or lit a candle in her honor.

Nearest metro station: Alma-Marceau

Passerelle Debilly

This is a nice, quiet foot bridge that offers great sunset views as it connects Quai de New York (Right Bank) to Quai Branly (Left Bank).
This walking bridge was built to prepare for increased foot traffic occurring around the Eiffel Tower during the 1900 World’s Fair, and the metal framework design feels like a natural connection to the leading lady herself!
Love locks are often banned from this bridge, and there is a little handmade sign that remains my absolute favorite sign on any bridge in Paris: “Forget the locks- our bridge cannot save your love. Only hard work does that.”

Nearest metro station: Alma-Marceau

Pont d’Iéna

If you’ve visited the Eiffel Tower, you’ve very likely waited forever at a crosswalk along Avenue de New York to dart across this bridge, which connects the Champs de Mars of the Left Bank to the Gardens of Trocadero!
The bridge was built in 1814, predating the Eiffel Tower by 63 years.
Today, Pont d’Iéna is always busy during high season, but especially at night with tourists riding the nearby carousel while watching the Eiffel Tower light up and vendors selling roses, keychains, and champagne along the sidewalks.
Most Seine riverboat cruises dock below this bridge on the Left Bank along the Port de la Bourdonnais.

Nearest metro station: Passy or Bir Hakeim

Pont de Bir-Hakeim

Last but not least, the steel Pont de Bir-Hakeim has connected the 15th and 16th arrondissements just downstream from the Eiffel Tower since 1905.
The bridge is two levels- the Metro Line 6 runs across the top viaduct level, above car lanes with a pedestrian, bike and runner-friendly strip running along the middle.
The tip of the Île aux Cygnes island is a stone-walled semicircle that juts out in the middle of the bridge, making for great photo ops in front of the Eiffel Tower that has wedding photographers sometimes standing in line to take their turn. You can also follow the island downstream to see the Paris Statue of Liberty, built 3 years after the original to celebrate friendship between France and America.
Recent movies and television like Inception and Parks and Recreation have made this bridge even more famous in recent years.

Nearest metro station: Bir Hakeim

Cover photo of Pont Alexandre III provided by mcregg photography

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