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Pont Neuf, Paris

75001 Paris, France
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The Oldest Bridge Across the Seine Paris  France

The Oldest Bridge Across the Seine

Stand on the the quais beneath the Pont Neuf bridge—the city's oldest crossing of the Seine—and look up. Staring down at you are mascarons, stone faces that resemble gargoyles, but without bodies. No two of these grotesque visages are the same. Enjoy their individuality as you ponder the decades it took to build this stone structure: begun in 1578 by Henri III and inaugurated by Henri IV in 1607. From 1588 to 1599, construction was interrupted by the French Wars of Religion, which lasted 36 years.

Then head up the stairs to walk across its two spans, which connect the Ile de la Cité to the Right and Left banks. Great views of the Louvre can be had from the longer, seven-arch span that stretches to the Right Bank.