Pont Neuf, Bavali
About Pont Neuf
As early as 1550, Henry II was asked to build a bridge here because the existing Pont Notre-Dame was overloaded, but the expense was too much at the time.In February 1578, the decision to build the bridge was made by Henry III who laid its first stone in on 31 May 1578, the same year when the foundations of four piers and one abutment were completed. Pierre des Isles, one of the builders, convinced the supervisory commission that the bridge, which was originally planned straight, would be more resistant to the river currents if its two sections were built at a slight angle. The change they adopted in May 1578.Further design changes were made during the summer of 1579. First, the number of arches was changed from eight and four to seven and five. This was not a problem on the north side, where nothing had been built, but on the south, where the four piles and the abutment on the Left Bank were already laid, the addition of the fifth arch necessitated reducing the length of the platform on the island, the terre-plein, from 28.5 toises to about 19. Second, it was decided to allow houses to be built on the bridge (though they never were). This required the widening of the bridge. The remaining piers were built over the next nine years. After a long delay beginning in 1588, due to political unrest and to the Wars of Religion, construction was resumed in 1599 under the reign of Henry IV. The bridge was opened to traffic in 1604 and completed in July 1606. It was inaugurated by Henry IV in 1607. Like most bridges of its time, The Pont Neuf is constructed as a series of many short arch bridges, following Roman precedents. It was the first stone bridge in Paris not to support houses in addition to a thoroughfare, and was also fitted with pavements protecting pedestrians from mud and horses; pedestrians could also step aside into its bastions to let a bulky carriage pass. The decision not to include houses on the bridge can be traced back directly to Henry IV, who decided against their inclusion on the grounds that houses would impede a clear view of the Louvre, which the newly built galerie du bord de l'eau linked to the Tuileries Palace. The bridge had heavy traffic from the beginning; it was for a long time the widest bridge in Paris. It has undergone much repair and renovation work, including rebuilding of seven spans in the long arm and lowering of the roadway by changing the arches from an almost semi-circular to elliptical form (1848–1855), lowering of sidewalks and faces of the piers, spandrels, cornices and replacing crumbled corbels as closely to the originals as possible. In 1885, one of the piers of the short arm was undermined, removing the two adjacent arches, requiring them to be rebuilt and all the foundations strengthened.A major restoration of the Pont Neuf was begun in 1994 and was completed in 2007, the year of its 400th anniversary.