The Pont Notre-Dame may be less famous that some other bridges in Paris and yet its story is one of the most interesting. The origination of this bridge dates back to the Antiquity since it’s in this very spot we used to find one of the first Parisian bridges in history: the Grand Pont!
During the Siege of Paris by the Vikings, in the late 9th century, the bridge is replaced by a plank bridge, the Pont de Planches-Milbray [The Milbray Plank Bridge], that will hold on until the floods in 1406. 15 years later, Charles VI inaugurates a new and solid wooden bridge: the Pont Notre-Dame. Houses and beautiful stores are built as well as mills, like it used to be all rage back in the days. And yet, the problem to live on a bridge in these days was the dangerousness. And during the first flood… It’s a catastrophe. In 1499, the Pont Notre-Dame partially collapsed, taking the houses with it.
Since the Pont Notre-Dame enabled the crossing of the livestock and goods, it’s been quickly decided to rebuild it. In 1512, a new work sees the light of the day and thanks to stores put there, it becomes the perfect place for business. For the record, the houses of the Pont Notre-Dame were the first ones in Paris to be numbered!
By the late 18th century, the Pont Notre-Dame, yet the oldest bridge in Paris, undergoes many alterations: houses – now insalubrious – are destroyed upon the king’s command, Louis XV and sidewalks are build. Renamed Pont de la Raison during the French Revolution, the Pont Notre-Dame is renamed again the Devil’s Bridge at the end of the 19th century because of the too many river accidents between the five arches.
To solve these river accidents, the bridge is partially destroyed and rebuilt in 1919 according to blueprints of Jean Résal already the mastermind behind the Pont Mirabeau and the Pont Alexandre III. And this is this bridge you can still cross today to join the Île de la Cité!
75004 Paris 4