Paris - Ile De France

Pont Saint-Michel – Paris bridge – Facts

This page was updated on: Monday, January 6, 2020 at: 1:29 pm

Pont Saint-Michel, originally known as Petit Pont-Neuf

The Pont Saint-Michel links the Palais de Justice on the Ile de la Cité to the Place Saint-Michel and its fountain in the Latin Quarter.

The Boulevard du Palais links it to the Pont au Change, it counterpart on the right bank.

The first Pont Saint-Michel was built between 1379 and 1387 downstream from the Petit Pont.

It was therefore originally known as Petit Pont-Neuf (Small New Bridge) because it was the most recent bridge of the time!

It also supported two rows of houses, a common practice in the Middle Ages.

This first bridge and its houses collapsed under the pressure of huge blocks of ice carried by the Seine during the severe winter of 1407/08.

France was then in full Hundred Years War and the funds failed.

A new bridge was immediately rebuilt, but it was a wooden one!

Sufficient funds were eventually raised in 1444 in order to build a 'proper' stone bridge on wooden piles.

The Petit Pont-Neuf became known as Pont Saint-Michel in 1607.

It indeed differentiated then it from the current Pont-Neuf, whose construction had begun on the western tip of the Ile de la Cité.

The bridge took its new name from the Chapelle Saint-Michel-du-Palais.

This 12th century chapel was located in the southern section of the Sainte Chapelle courtyard in the Palace of Justice.

It was eventually pulled down in 1782.

The Pont Saint-Michel was replaced between 1617 and 1623 with a new stone bridge on wooden piles.

It also supported two rows of houses and was one of the largest bridges of Paris, and one of the busiest!

N for Napoleon III

However, a Royal Decree of 1786 stipulated that all houses built on Parisian bridges had to be pulled down.

Their weight indeed placed too much pressure on the bridges' foundations and threatened the stability of the whole structure.

The houses on the Pont Saint-Michel were not demolished though until 1808!

The architects engineers Paul Martin Gallocher of Lagalisserie and Paul Vaudrey built the current three-arch Pont Saint-Michel in 1857 during the Second Empire.

The 62m long by 30m wide bridge therefore bears the capital letter N, the imperial insignia of Napoleon III.

So does the Pont au Change, which was rebuilt at the same period; these two bridges are in fact quite similar.

Metro: St-Michel on Line 4
Coordinates: Lat 48.853956 - Long 2.344626

Richelieu mausoleum in front of high altar in Sorbonne Chapel

June 5 2020

Sorbonne Chapel and Cardinal de Richelieu tomb

Sorbonne chapel, the college’s private chapel, is a masterpiece of French classical architecture that houses Cardinal Richelieu’s mausoleum
Villa Seurat - Maison Quillet at No.8 by Lurçat

May 14 2020

Villa Seurat, a showcase of Modernist architecture

Villa Seurat, a showcase of the Roaring Twenties’ Modernist architecture and a Cité d’Artistes where Arthur Miller wrote Tropic of Cancer
Theatre de La Comedie Italienne in Rue de la Gaite

April 29 2020

Rue de la Gaite in Montparnasse

Rue de la Gaite in Montparnasse district, a street nicknamed Theater St. as it’s been essentially lined with entertainment halls since the 1780s
Pont de la Concorde seen from Rive Gauche

April 14 2020

Pont de la Concorde in Paris

The Pont de la Concorde links Place de la Concorde to the National Assembly and was built at the French Revolution with stones from the Bastille Fortress

Sign up to our newsletter

Travel France Online will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates via our newsletter. By selecting the boxes on the form you confirm your acceptance to receive our newsletter.

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by Contacting Us

We will treat your information with respect. For more information please visit our privacy policy page