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Paris Pont Neuf

By Jodi R, Germany, June 2011

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The Pont Neuf is one my favourite bridges in the world. Although the stone doesn't lend itself to vibration, this means I can take a break from making experimental sound art, and simply revel in the elegant arches and curved love-seats which offer a gorgeous view of Paris and a perfect location for a picnic.

When I stay on Rue Dauphine, I like to wander across the road to the bridge with my baguette and coffee and enjoy breakfast, watching the city wake up and the stream of people crossing between the Left and Right banks of the Seine. At night, marvel at the illuminations of the Eiffel Tower, and join one of the many dinner cruises leaving from the boat launches at the base of the bridge pylon. Seeing the bridge from underneath is another treat, as the gargoyles carved into the arches are magnificent. There is even a small park in the middle of the bridge as it crosses the  Île de la Cité, where you can take a break from the hustle of the city streets and enjoy reading or relaxing in the grass; just don't get locked in when the sun sets.

One of my favourite films ever is set on this bridge, which is now the oldest still standing in Paris, although ironically it was named the 'New Bridge'  in 1607 and inaugurated by Henri IV riding across on a white stallion. The romance in Les Amants du Pont Neuf was filmed on the bridge wile it was being repaired, and features Juliette Binoche as a painter with deteriorating eyesight, who meets vagrant circus performer Alex. Their lives become intertwined and their relationship slowly disintegrates while living on the bridge. The final scene features a backdrop of spectacular fireworks from the 1989 French Bicentennial celebrations, and the film is a wonderful celebration of life, outcasts and misfits in one of the most glamorous cities of the world.

The Pont Neuf has featured in art projects over the years, from 1963 when Nonda built and lived in a huge Trojan horse on the bridge, in 1984 the Japanese designer Kenzo covered it with flowers, and in 1985 environmental artist Christo wrapped it in fabric. Make you own art when you visit!

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