Photographer's Note

Traffic on the Pont des Arts & The Conciergerie (in the background), Paris

The Pont des Arts (bridge of the arts) was built between 1981 and 1984 after the original structure built between 1802 and 1804 - Paris's first iron brige - collapsed in 1977. The new pedestrian bridge is built according to the early 19th century plans except that there are now seven arches instead of the original nine.


Between 1802 and 1804, a nine-arch metallic bridge for pedestrians was constructed at the location of the present day Pont des Arts: this was the first metal bridge in Paris. This innovation was due to Napoléon I, following a design of English manufacture. The engineers Louis-Alexandre de Cessart and Jacques Dillon initially conceived of a bridge which would resemble a suspended garden, with trees, banks of flowers, and benches.
In 1976, the Inspector of Bridges and Causeways (Ponts et Chaussées) reported several deficiencies on the bridge. More specifically, he noted the damage that had been caused by two aerial bombardments sustained during World War I and World War II and the harm done from the multiple collisions caused by boats. The bridge would be closed to circulation in 1977 and, in 1979, suffered a 60 meter collapse after a barge rammed into it.
The present bridge was built between 1981 and 1984 "identically" according to the plans of Louis Arretche, who had decided to reduce the number of arches from nine to seven, allowing the look of the old bridge to be preserved while realigning the new structure with the Pont Neuf. On 27 June 1984, the newly reconstructed bridge was inaugurated by Jacques Chirac – then the mayor of Paris.
The bridge has sometimes served as a place for art exhibitions, and is today a studio en plein air for painters, artists and photographers who are drawn to its unique point of view. The Pont des Arts is also frequently a spot for picnics during the summer.
The Argentinian writer, Julio Cortázar, talks about this bridge in his book "Rayuela". When Horacio Oliveira goes with the pythia and this tells him that the bridge for La Maga is the "Ponts des Arts".
Nowadays the bridge has become a hotspot for couples who attach a padlock to the railing and throw the key into the river below.


Once a royal palace and later a prison, the Conciergerie played a dark role in the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.

Located on the west side of the Île de la Cité, the Conciergerie began its life as a royal palace - the Palais de la Cité. The impressive site was chosen by Phillippe le Bel (Philip the Fair) in the early 14th century so that on it he could build a palace that would reflect his wealth and stature.
In its heyday - the Middle Ages - the palace was considered one of the finest in the world.

By the end of the same century, however, Charles V and the Capetian kings chose the palaces of Louvre and Vincennes over the Palais de la Cité (which also includes the current Paris Law Courts and the magnificent Sainte-Chapelle), and what was to eventually become "The Conciergerie" was given over to the Parliament to be used for the kingdom's administrative offices. The care of the palace was left to a gentleman known as the Concierge - thus the name - who had legal and police authority in the city. (Source: aviewoncities/paris & wikipedia)

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Additional Photos by George Rumpler (Budapestman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 8900 W: 3 N: 20435] (82620)
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