Secret Getaways & Romantic Bridges on Your Travel to Paris
Stroll over Spectacular Bridges of the Seine River on Your Travel to Paris
In the heart of Paris, on the Seine River in the 1st Arrondissement, there is a special feeling in the air.
The Louvre is nearby and many famous bridges cross the Seine River offering glorious views of Paris France and many historical buildings including the palace and prison, La Conciergerie.
When you are ready for a break from all your walking, wander over to Place Dauphine for a quiet retreat and sip on a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
A View of Henry IV on Pont Neuf on the Seine in Paris, France
Plan a picnic and grab some delicious crusty baguettes loaded with sumptuous meats, cheeses or veggies and escape to the almost secret Square du Vert-Galant.
Place Dauphine – A place to Rest, Relax & Escape
East of Pont Neuf and southeast of the Square du Vert-Galant, Place Dauphine is one of the loveliest squares in Paris and haven of charm and calm on the island Ile de la Cite in the Seine River. Like a secret getaway from noise and traffic.
Only a few steps away from Pont Neuf on the Seine River, Place Dauphine is a small and quiet residential square in Paris France, which dates back from the era of Henri IV and is now surrounded by some of the finest buildings of Paris architecture in Neo-Classical style.
Relax at Place Dauphine or Sit Around on the Seating Provided on Pont Neuf
The square was named after the Dauphin, the future Louis XIII. At Place Dauphine, you can explore a few quaint boutiques and cafes and escape from the crowds to enjoy a meal and a drink in a quiet setting while observing the beautiful architecture and the charming park.
Square du Vert-Galant – Hidden Park on the Seine
Not far from Place Dauphine on Ile de la Cite, is another almost secret getaway, a park called Square du Vert-Galant, located at the western tip of the island in the River Seine, Ile de la Cité, and west of Pont Neuf.
The square is named after Henri IV, nicknamed “Vert-Galant” because of his many mistresses, despite his advanced age.
From the Seine River, you can see the equestrian statue of Henri IV in the Square du Vert-Galant.
Escape to Square du Vert-Galant and Enjoy a Quiet Time in Paris
This is a great spot to have a picnic. Pick up some local food and wine and head down to Square du Vert-Galant for a relaxing time at the point of Ile de la Cité in the middle of the River Seine.
The Square du Vert-Galant is the western point you see of the island Ile de la Cité when touring on a cruise boat on the Seine River.
The Pont Neuf on the Seine River
The Pont Neuf (New Bridge) is actually the oldest standing bridge across the Seine River in Paris. Its name was given to distinguish it from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses, which have not remained.
This is one of my favourite bridges in Paris because of its grand architecture.
Pont Neuf is located at the western point of the Île de la Cité, the island in the middle of the Seine River in the heart of medieval Paris and it connects the Rive Gauche (Left Bank) of Paris with the Rive Droite (the Right Bank).
King Henry III laid its first stone in 1578 but it was completed under the reign of Henry IV, who inaugurated it in 1607. Like most bridges of its time, the Pont Neuf is constructed as a series of many short arch bridges, following Roman architecture.
The bridge had heavy traffic from the beginning and was for the longest time the widest bridge in Paris. Pont Neuf has undergone a lot of repair and renovation which began in 1994 and was completed in 2007, the year of its 400th anniversary.
From Square du Vert-Galant you can See the Statue of Henry IV
At the point where the bridge crosses the island Ile de la Cite, you will see a bronze equestrian statue of King Henry IV of France, which originally was destroyed in 1792 during the French Revolution, but was rebuilt in 1818, following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy.
Pont Neuf is a lovely bridge and well worth seeing when you visit Paris. The statue of King Henry IV of France can also be seen from the boats when taking a Seine River cruise of Paris.
The Pont des Arts (Passerelle des Arts)
The Pont des Arts (also known as Passerelle des Arts) is a pedestrian bridge in Paris which crosses the Seine River. It crosses over the Seine from the Institut de France over to the central square of the Palais du Louvre.
Walk Across from the Louvre over Pont des Art to Arrive at the Insitut de France
Here’s a little history about this bridge. Originally, between 1802 and 1804, the first metal bridge in Paris was constructed by innovation due to Napoléon I, following a design of English manufacture.
The engineers Louis-Alexandre de Cessart and Jacques Dillon initially planned a bridge over the Seine River which would house a suspended garden, with trees, banks of flowers, and benches.
The present day bridge was built between 1981 and 1984 according to the plans of Louis Arretche and has sometimes served as a place for art exhibitions.
The Pont des Art is a Pedestrian Only Bridge over the Seine
When you walk across, you can see artists and photographers who are drawn to its unique point of view of the Louvre Museum and the beautiful bridges down along the Seine.
The Pont des Arts is also frequently a spot for picnics and parties during the summer. Pont des Arts is often full of activity and it is fun to walk across the bridge on different days to see whats happening, whether a musician is playing or beating drums, or students are gathered to celebrate a special occasion.
I really enjoy people-watching on this bridge with its variety of activites day or night. You can feel the exciting energy of the visitors who cross, or relax on this bridge.
A former royal palace and prison in Paris, La Conciergerie is situated on the west of the Île de la Cité, near the Notre-Dame Cathedral. It is part of the larger complex known as the Palais de Justice, which is still used for judicial purposes.
On Pont au Change Bridge on the Seine with La Conciergerie on the Left
Historically, hundreds of prisoners during the French Revolution were taken from La Conciergerie to be executed on the Guillotine at a number of locations around Paris.
This ancient medieval fortress and prison of the city’s island is the site of awesome medieval architecture and also the famous scene of Marie Antoinette’s imprisonment in the period leading to her execution in 1793.
The Conciergerie – Formerly a Palace and Prison and Scene of Marie Antoinette’s Imprisonment
Across from the La Conciergerie is the view of the bridge, Pont au Change, and the Place du Châtelet theatre district on the Right Bank of the River Seine. Standing on the Pont au Change is a great spot to take pictures of the River Seine, its stunning bridges and the fabulous views.
The Pont au Change Bridge with Views of Place du Chatelet Theatre District
You can also venture to the Place du Châtelet and select from many wonderful restaurants and cafes to relax and enjoy a meal while admiring the intriguing architecture of La Conciergerie and Notre-Dame Cathedral. Place du Châtelet is another great spot for people-watching on this busy square.
Boat Cruises on the Seine River – Bateaux Mouches
The first few times I visited Paris, I felt that the boat cruises were too touristy. Having stayed in a hotel on the Seine, I found their bright lights at night very annoying as the boats cruised back and forth.
Later on another trip, a group of friends from Canada joined me in Paris and convinced me to try a Seine boat tour (some are called Bateaux Mouches – nicknamed Fly Boats).
Cruising Along on the Seine River in Front of Musee d’Orsay
After that cruise on the Seine, I gained a new appreciation for boating on the River Seine and touring its Canals on my Paris vacations, as they offered a different perspective of the City of Light and I learned so much more about Paris in a short time.
When you plan your travel to Paris, consider purchasing your ticket in advance to avoid line-ups during high season in the summer.
Now when I am dining on the Seine River and a boat passes by…I waive!
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