Monday, 12 September 2011

Sab's Top Ten Wayward Paris Bridges: No.2 ~ "Le Pont des Arts"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Bridges

Sab's Top Ten Wayward Paris Bridges
by Sab Will,  wannabe offbeat Paris street guru

Forget your most beautiful, forget your most romantic (with one or two notable exceptions), here I offer you an alternative take on the age old problem: how not to end up writing unpalatable, purple prose-tinted, nauseating gush when talking about Paris and its good old Mère Seine.

The approach I’ve taken for my Top Ten Wayward Paris Bridges may not be new, for all I know, and I've certainly seen another list or two of the Top Ten Paris bridges, but the angle taken, bless them, is invariably eulogistic. Homages to hurl to, if you will.

I wanted to try something different, so I took a bunch of Paris bridges with what I considered notable characteristics and ramped them up to the giddy heights of ‘most’.

Whence the list below, where I offer you the most artistic, the most pretentious (go on, guess before looking, I’m sure you’ll get it) and yes, I couldn’t resist, the most romantic bridges in Paris, to name but a few. So go ahead and get out there; maybe I'll cross you on the Seine one of these days.

Sab's Top Ten Wayward Paris Bridges

No.2: Most Smooch-worthy Paris Bridge – Pont des Arts

OK, OK, I know I'm not supposed to be doing categories like 'most romantic', but after all, not only does it have possibly the best view of Ile de la Cité of all, with a sunset over the Eiffel Tower included in the price just by turning around, it is a legendary meeting / picnic / smooching and now tryst-sealing Paris landmark.

As a wooden planked pedestrian bridge in central Paris with the most fabulous views whichever way you look (try the Louvre at one end and the Institut de France at the other, never mind the imposing Musée d'Orsay, the gloriously backlit glass-roofed Grand Palais and the list goes on), this bridge is already worthy of a mention on even the most wayward top ten lists.

But it also has a strong personal history of its own, never mind all of us who have spent some of the most interesting moments of our Paris existence on those very wooden slats. The bridge suffered serious World War 1 and World War 2 bashing and a series of boat collisions culminated in a barge crash which knocked out a major section and required a complete rebuild in the early 80s.

Like it or not, the last three years or so has seen thousands of locks sprouting up like mushrooms on the bridge's metal railings, and there have been several stirrings from the Paris town hall that Something Will Have To Be Done. This will probably be quite simply their removal, although there are rumours of some sort of metallic tree structure being erected to hold lovers' lockets. What do I think? To be honest, the Pont des Arts craze has spread to quite a few others in the city, and now that there are more ripped plastic supermarket bags than metal to be seen on some of them I have to agree that the eyesore factor has now taken over. To be continued.


* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2011 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and offers always welcome!

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