Square du Vert-Galant
Chestnut, yew, black walnut and weeping willow trees grace this picturesque park at the westernmost tip of the Île de la Cité, along...
Vedettes du Pont Neuf
One-hour cruises depart year-round from Vedettes' centrally located dock at the western tip of Île de la Cité; commentary is in French...
Monnaie de Paris
The 18th-century royal mint, the Monnaie de Paris – still used by the Ministry of Finance to produce commemorative medals and coins –...
Taverne Henri IV
Dating from 1885, this venerable wine bar lures legal types from the nearby Palais de Justice (not to mention celeb writers and actors,...
Worth the short walk from Notre Dame, the Vowels – spot the letters scattered between books and beautiful objects on the shelves lining...
Pont Neuf information
Paris’ oldest bridge, ironically named 'New Bridge', has linked the western end of Île de la Cité with both river banks since 1607, when the king, Henri IV, inaugurated it by crossing the bridge on a white stallion.
View the bridge’s arches (seven on the the northern stretch and five on the southern span), decorated with 381 mascarons (grotesque figures) depicting barbers, dentists, pickpockets, loiterers etc, from a spot along the river or afloat.
The inaugural crossing is commemorated by an equestrian statue of Henri IV , known to his subjects as the Vert Galant (‘jolly rogue’ or ‘dirty old man’, perspective depending).
Pont Neuf and nearby place Dauphine were used for public exhibitions in the 18th century. In the last century the bridge became an objet d’art in 1963, when School of Paris artist Nonda built, exhibited and lived in a huge Trojan horse of steel and wood on the bridge; in 1985 when Bulgarian-born ‘environmental sculptor’ Christo famously wrapped the bridge in beige fabric; and in 1994 when Japanese designer Kenzo covered it with flowers.