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Pont au Change

Pont au Change

The existence of a wooden bridge at or near the existing Pont au Change is more or less certain before the Romans reached Gaul. A lieutenant of Caesar allegedly destroyed it in 50 BC and it is hard to keep a tally of the structures subsequently destroyed and rebuilt. In around 872 AD, there was a fortified stone bridge which, for several centuries, was the only way across the main branch of the Seine. Until 1441, the various bridges built on this site were called "Grand-Pont", as opposed to the "Petit-Pont" which crossed the small branch of the Seine. This was the date on which Louis VII ordered all the money-changers of Paris to move to this bridge, leading to its present name of "Pont au Change". In 1618, the money-changers and goldsmiths were still there, along with their shops. On 24th October 1621, a fire completely destroyed it along with a neighbouring bridge, the Pont aux Colombes, or the Pont Marchant - which no longer exists.The money-changers had asked the King for permission to rebuild the bridge at their own expense, provided that they could erect houses on it. This was approved by Royal edict of May 1639 and the King himself contributed to the construction costs out of the "extraordinary fund". This bridge, built between 1639 and 1647, comprised seven stone arches including six in the Seine. It was 32.60 m wide and was the broadest in the city at the time.

In the mid-19th century, the pressures of Hausmann's urban development programme led to the bridge being rebuilt as it no longer joined up with the new road alignments. The new bridge, that which we see today, was started in 1858 and opened to traffic on 15th August 1860.


Designers


LAGALISSERIE and VAUDREY.


Contractor


GARNUCHOT


Construction date


1859-1860


Total length
103 m


Usable width
30 m: 18 m roadway; two pavements of 6 m


Construction principles


Three elliptical stone arches with 31 m span.

 
Address


Quai de la Megisserie
Quai de l'Horloge
75001 Paris


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mise à jour le : 18 décembre 2013
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