Pont Royal

With its marked humpback, the Pont Royal (Royal Bridge), remains, with the Pont Neuf (New Bridge), one of the three oldest bridges in Paris. It is listed as a historical monument. It is probably the only bridge in Paris that was not required to link the various districts of the city. None of the roads to which it leads are a direct continuation of the bridge.

On the Right Bank, the bridge meets the Pavillon Flore (Flore Pavilion) and only reaches the Avenue du General Lemonnier after a twisting route. On the Left Bank, the same occurs with the Rue du Bac and the Rue de Beaune. A ferry used to link the two banks of the Seine. In 1632, Barbier built the first wooden bridge also called Saint-Anne, but which the people nicknamed the Pont Rouge (Red Bridge) because of its colour.

This wooden bridge, for pedestrians and horseriders, who paid a double toll like many others, was burnt down and washed away by the river. After being replaced by a stone structure between 1685 and 1689, under the aegis of Jacques Gabriel, Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Pere Romain, the Pont Royal (Royal Bridge) was entirely financed by Louis XIV. Hence its name. In the 18th century, big Parisian festivals and celebrations were held here. The nautical festival held on the occasion of the marriage of Elisabeth of France and the Infante Philip of Spain attracted 500,000 people to the banks and bridges.

The Pont Royal (Royal Bridge) impressively frames the view of the Bassin du Louvre (Louvre Basin), until then open to the West. It was on this bridge – called National from 1792 to 1804 – that Bonaparte placed the cannons used for the defence of the Tuileries where the Convention and the Comite de Salut Public (Committee of Public Safety) used to sit. On the last stretch of each bank the water level marker that showed the historic low- and high-water marks can be seen. The Mairie de Paris (Paris Town Hall) has decided on major renovation works which will be carried out over a number of years.