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Pont des Arts

Pont des Arts

This structure goes back to 1804 when Napoleon, then the First Consul, wanted Paris to have a metal bridge. However, it was built later and was less audacious than Colebrockdale Bridge in England, the first of its kind.In fact it was a pedestrian footbridge, originally with a one-penny toll, built by the engineers Louis-Alexandre de Cessart and Jacques Lacroix-Dillon. The elegance of its architecture and the great delicacy of the steel sections make it a structure of rare lightness, elevated in relation to the piers.
The name Pont des Arts (Arts Bridge) comes from the former name of the Palais du Louvre (Louvre Palace), or Palais des Arts (Arts Palace) during the First Empire, which it linked to the Collge des Quatre-Nations (College of Four Nations), which is today the Institute. It was a real hanging garden with bushes, flowers and benches for walkers.

Although it was rebuilt during the Second Empire, the original structure of the footbridge was too light and its nine arches obstructed river traffic.
After being damaged several times by barges, it was closed in 1970 for safety reasons. Ten years later, when the reconstruction project by the architect, Louis Arretche, was being formulated, certain historians and navigation services pleaded for the structure not to be rebuilt since it would have spoilt the views of the Louvre.
The new footbridge, finished in 1985, is not made of cast iron but of steel and has only seven arches instead of nine.
Planted with bushes, it is now a meeting place for artists who find inspiration in the grandeur of the site: the Louvre, the Institute and the Ile de la Cit.

Built in 1985 on seven steel arches supporting a wooden decking that is 11 m wide.

The piers and abutments are made of reinforced concrete and the faces of dressed stone.

The original structure that was demolished in 1981 and dated from 1804 was made of nine cast iron arches, of which the two Left Bank arches had been replaced by a single puddle steel arch when the Quai Conti (Conti Quay) was extended.


quai du Louvre
place de l'Institut
75006 Paris

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mise à jour le : 18 décembre 2013
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