Pont Marie – Ile Saint-Louis
Pont Marie is a 92m long by 22m wide five-arch bridge.
A young Louis XIII laid the first stone of the Pont Marie on October 11, 1614.
The bridge opened to traffic in 1635.
It was named to pay tribute to its architect and developer of the Ile Saint-Louis, Christophe Marie.
The Pont Marie tragically collapsed during the flood of 1658.
Tragically, about half of the fifty houses that were built on it were also destroyed.
A wooden bridge was immediately rebuilt in order to link the Ile Saint-Louis to the north bank.
A ‘crossing’ toll was put in place in order to raise money to rebuild the stone bridge.
The bridge was fully repaired between 1667 and 1670.
However, the houses that had been destroyed were not rebuilt.
The remaining twenty or so houses were demolished in 1769.
A Royal Decree of 1786 indeed ordered that all buildings erected on Parisian bridges had to be pulled down.
It was officially recognised that their weight applied too much pressure on the foundations and therefore threatened the stability of the whole structure.
A late 17th century bridge
The bridge has not changed much since the late 17th century, except for some technical adjustments that didn’t alter its appearance.
You’ll notice that each arch is different and that the alcoves located on the abutments are empty.
Indeed, they don’t contain any statue (not sure why though).
The bridge has since the past few years been turned into a romantic spot.
Newlyweds and lovers have to kiss and make a wish under its arches!
There’s no special historical event nor story, though, to justify this “made up” tradition!
Metro: Pont Marie on Line 7
Coordinates: Lat 48.852808 – Long 2.357356