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13 In Paris/ Travel

Paris: Pont Neuf & Pont au Change

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Pont Neuf is a bridge that is smack dab in the middle of Paris. It’s the oldest existing bridge crossing the Seine river and has a very stout feeling to it. If you look closely, you’ll see that the sides are decorated with a row of heads looking down at the river. Apparently they keep away bad spirits, much in the same way historical Korean bridges had small statues of tigers and such to keep away evil spirits. Pont Neuf connects to the Île de la Cité, the island where the famous Notre Dame was built. They decided to put a statue of Henry the 4th on the island where it connects to Pont Neuf and surround it with a fence. Of course, this fence is now completely covered with padlocks of love.

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There are plenty of roads in other big cities where there are entire blocks of shops without any spaces in between the buildings, but for some reason it felt a lot more crammed together in Paris than any other city. I think it’s because it looks as though they originally had a nice row of spaced out buildings, but ran out of space and decided to fill in the gaps by squeezing in a bunch of narrow buildings. The narrow windows divided into smaller panes add to that look as well. Come to think of it, I think I saw a few “squished buildings” in Tokyo, but it didn’t seem as common as in Paris.

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Pont au Change is towards the center of the island, and is decorated with an insignia. It must be the insignia of Napoleon or his successors. It’s rather simple, but it also has a graceful look that I prefer to the bulkiness of Pont Neuf. Have you read or seen the musical Les Miserables? That moment of Javert and the bridge supposedly happened at Pont au Change, but the bridge in the movie rendition of the musical is actually Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England. I suppose it makes for a much more dramatic effect in the movie considering the height of the bridge. Then again, I don’t suppose that many people knew how to swim back then.

Your turn ♥ What is the most memorable bridge you have seen? Have you seen Les Miserables?

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  • http://blog.jessicapei.com/ Jessica @ WONDERMENTARY

    Oh yeah I remember seeing the island with the statue from afar! It looks like you actually went on it? I maaay have been under this bridge, as I went on a Seine River cruise but didn’t know any of the landmarks at the time, ha.

    • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

      Ahh yes, I went on the island to see the Notre Dame! Did you not stop by there during your tour Jess?

      • http://blog.jessicapei.com/ Jessica @ WONDERMENTARY

        Nah, just saw it from on the bus. But I did go inside Notre Dame

        • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

          The Notre Dame is on the island in the middle of the Seine river :P

          • http://blog.jessicapei.com/ Jessica @ WONDERMENTARY

            Lolol then I didn’t see the statue on the island

          • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

            Ahhh :P I’m in a fit of giggles right now lol

  • http://www.heartfulhabits.com Grace

    Very cool! I think the most memorable bridge I’ve been on is the Tower Bridge in London. Also, I think I heard not to long ago that they’re actually going to cut all the locks off of the Pont Neuf bridge.

    • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

      Yes, I heard it’s becoming a safety hazard because of all the weight! Tower Bridge is such a pretty bridge! I didn’t get to go up the tower but it’s something I want to do next time I’m in London :D

  • http://eatyourteacup.com/ Mani

    How cool! I actually saw Les Mis the musical a few weeks ago, but didn’t notice the different bridges until you pointed it out :)

    • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

      Same here! I didn’t realize until I read that Pont au Change was supposed to be the bridge in Les Mis. The bridge in Les Mis had felt much taller, so I knew they couldn’t have been the same :P

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  • Modest Splendour

    I need to go and see as well ..

    • http://www.silentlyfree.com/ Kim

      When you do, make sure you go up the the tower to see the gargoyles and hear the bells ring :D