Lonely Planet review for Pont Neuf
Paris’ oldest bridge has linked the western end of Île de la Cité with both river banks since 1607 when the king inaugurated it by crossing the bridge on a white stallion. The occasion 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).
View the bridge’s seven arches, decorated with humorous and grotesque figures of barbers, dentists, pickpockets, loiterers etc, from a spot along the river or a boat. 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 1984 when Japanese designer Kenzo covered it with flowers; and in 1985 when Bulgarian-born ‘environmental sculptor’ Christo famously wrapped the bridge in beige fabric.