Parisian bridges are rather "young" architectural structures. Most of them are a little over 100 years old, or even less. But here are three of them that can boast of their “gray hair”: New Bridge, Marie Bridge and Royal Bridge, or Royal (Pont Royal)
Forerunner of the Pont Royal
In the 16th century, on the left bank of the Seine, at the behest of Queen Catherine de Medici, the construction of the Tuileries Palace began. The stone was brought to it from the right bank, which required a crossing. But plans to build a new bridge in this place remained on paper for a long time, and the stone was transported along pontoon decks. This went on for 80 years, until in 1632 Louis XIII ordered the construction of a bridge. A wooden bridge of 15 arches was built quickly and painted with red lead, giving the structure a red color. Thanks to this color, the bridge was popularly called the Red Bridge, although officially it was given the name of St. Anne in honor of the wife of the king, Anna of Austria.
The new bridge had an unfortunate fate. In 1649 and 1651 it had to be overhauled, in 1654 it had to be restored after a fire, in 1656 after being flooded during a flood. Finally, the flood of 1684 carried away six arches of the bridge "in Saint-Cloud". And then King Louis XIV made a landmark decision - to build a bridge in stone, allocating money for construction from his own pocket. The sponsorship of the Sun King gave the name to the new stone bridge - Royal, or Royal.
Sun King Bridge
In 1685, the engineer Jules Hardouin-Mansart drew up a design for the bridge and an estimate for future work. During the construction of the bridge, he used several innovative solutions: dredgers to deepen the bottom under the supports, caissons for the foundation, added basalt to the solution. The construction cost the king 765 livres, but the bridge never charged a toll or toll. The work was completed in 1689.
The bridge connected the pavilion of Flora at the Tuileries Garden on the left bank and Bac Street on the right. The bridge is 110 meters long and 7 meters wide and consists of five arches in the form of baskets. The supports are protected from ice drift by sharp aprons-wedges. On it, as well as on the Tournelle Bridge, hydrographers mark the level of the Seine during floods.
In the 18th century, the Pont Royal was a favorite place for festive festivities of Parisians. In 1791, the ashes of Voltaire were carried along it to their final resting place. On it, General Bonaparte defended the Committee of Public Safety of France, meeting in the Tuileries, with cannons from the royalists.
And the name was also changed. In 1792 - to the National, and in 1804 - to the Tuileries. But in 1814, Louis XVIII returned the bridge to its former name. In 1852, a major overhaul was carried out on the bridge, and in 1939 it was entered into the register of architectural monuments.
The Royal Bridge is a majestic building that remembers the Sun King, the French Revolution, and many other events in the turbulent history of France.
Address: Pont Royal, Paris 75007
RER train: Gare du Musée d'Orsay