Though it translates to “New Bridge” in French, the Pont Neuf is in fact the oldest bridge in Paris, built in 1607 to connect the banks of the river Seine to Ile de la Cite. Known in the 18th and 19th centuries for its unsavory street vendors and pickpockets, Pont Neuf is now a tranquil pedestrian bridge and meeting place for visitors and locals alike.
As one of Paris’s most popular destinations, Pont Neuf is often included on small-group walking tours of the city center and highlights along the Seine. As one of the main bridges used to access Ile de la Cite, the epicenter of the city’s medieval beginnings, Pont Neuf is often a highlight on tours of the island, which typically also stop at Notre-Dame Cathedral and Ile Saint-Louis. By contrast, Seine river cruises offer panoramic views from the water of the island, cathedral, and Pont Neuf often missed by visitors.
Themed tours, including music, photography, history, and architecture tours, often include a walk across Pont Neuf and a fresh perspective of the city. While bicycle tours provide a quick and active way to see the highlights, evening tours showcase Paris’s architectural gems illuminated under the night sky. Private tours allow visitors to tack a visit to Pont Neuf onto the day’s fully customized itinerary.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Pont Neuf is a must for history and architecture buffs, as well as photographers of all skill levels.
- Don’t forget comfortable walking shoes, as Ile de la Cite and surrounding neighborhoods are best explored on foot.
- While there are plenty of dining options available on Ile de la Cite and Ile Saint-Louis, visitors and locals often picnic on the banks of the Seine.
- Public restrooms are located in front of Notre Dame Cathedral.
How to Get There
Centrally located between the First and Sixth arrondissements, Pont Neuf is easily accessible on foot or by public transit. The nearest stops are Pont Neuf on Metro line 7 and buses 24, 58, and 70, and Cité on Metro line 4.
When to Get There
Pont Neuf is a popular people-watching location for both visitors and locals. While warm weather evenings are more atmospheric as the city buzzes with nightlife, mornings offer a quieter experience and opportunity for unobstructed photos. During the summer months, concerts, art installations, workshops, classes, and kids’ activities are often found on the banks of the Seine from Pont Sully to Pont Neuf.
The Birthplace of Paris
Stand on the Pont Neuf and look out east over Ile de la Cite. You are standing on what was once the ancient Roman city of Lutetia, the birthplace of Paris established between 250–225 BCE. While Paris owes its status to the ancient Romans, few relics remain besides the remnants of aqueducts, the Arena of Lutetia, and the remains of a bathhouse preserved in the archaeological crypt underneath Notre Dame Cathedral.