Pont Saint Michel, Paris
The decision to build a bridge between the old Palais Royal on the Ile de la Cité and the left bank was taken in 1378.
The first bridge, topped with houses, was completed in 1387 under the reign of Charles VI. It was then called Pont-Neuf or Neuf-Pont, or even Pont Saint Michel. It was damaged by the great thaw of 1408 and then rebuilt of wood with houses on it. On 9th December 1547, however, it was struck by several boats, collapsed and seventeen people drowned. It was rebuilt two years later and remained until 1616, when it was destroyed by ice along with a number of houses.
It was then replaced by a stone bridge built between 1618 and 1624, with four arches, including two central arches of 14 m and two side arches of 10 m. Its downstream tympanum is decorated with a bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIII, while niches on either side are decorated with a Saint Michael and a Virgin Mary.
This was without doubt one of the last bridges in Paris to retain its houses and they were only finally demolished in 1808. However, its great age and narrowness led the Administration to look for a replacement in 1855. The new bridge was built in 1857 without interrupting river traffic. It only had three elliptical stone arches 17 m in span, in order to reduce the number of supports in the river. As it was built under the Second Empire, it was decorated with medallions containing the letter "N".
Construction date: 1857
Total length: 62 m
Quai des Orfèvres
Quai des Grands Augustins