Last Thursday my husband and I went for a walk to the Pont des Arts so as to enjoy the very special atmosphere of this pedestrian bridge at night and to take pictures of the amazing views on Paris one can admire from there.
The walk from the Rue Lacépède took about twenty five minutes through the Quartier latin. We had dinner in a good and very welcoming Italian restaurant just before arriving to the Ponts des Arts in the rue Mazarine, Amore & Gelosia: the Calamari fritti were excellent ; the pasta were good too and generously served ; and the waitresses were smiling and thoughtful!
We left the restaurant at night and kept walking towards the Seine. A few meters further in the rue Mazarine we noticed another restaurant with a pleasant outdoor terrace which could have been another nice place where to have dinner: it is called the Bistro Mazarin and is located at the corner of rue Mazarine and rue Jacques Callot. We have not tasted the food but it seems to be a traditional French Bistro and the terrace looks really great!
We turned right in the Rue Guénégaud and after walking along the Hôtel de la Monnaie we reached the Quai de Conti. The view on the Pont des Arts with the Louvre in the background is simply amazing!
The Pont des Arts is really a great spot to admire outstanding views on Paris for two reasons: firstly its location on the Seine which enables to see not only the Louvre but also the Orsay Museum and the Eiffel Tower westerly and the Pont Neuf and the top of Notre Dame easterly ; and secondly the fact that as it is a pedestrian bridge, you can easily go from one side of the bridge to the other and enjoy the views from both sides… without having to cross a street with cars.
Let’s start with the view towards south: The front side of the Institut de France is impressive and emerges perfectly well since the restoration of the building and the refurbishing of the square in front of it. The Institut de France shelters five Academies, including the famous ‘Académie Française’ which has been existing since 1635!
Then towards east: An outstanding view on The Pont Neuf, which is… the oldest bridge in Paris, unlike its name! One can also admire the Ile de la Cité and the floodlit front side of the Hôtel de la Monnaie on the left bank.
And towards west: the Pont du Carrousel in the foreground, and one cannot miss in the background: the Eiffel Tower, the Orsay Museum and the top of the glass roof of the Grand Palais…
Time flies when you take pictures… and at midnight the lightings on the buildings are switched off. The banks get darker, which highlights the Seine and all the reflections on the water!
It is time to go back home… We were not the only one to leave the Pont des Arts at that time of the night last Thursday. Indeed between midnight and 1am several groups of Parisian people all dressed in white crossed the bridge. They were getting home after attending the select ‘Dîner en blanc‘, a worldwide epicurean phenomenon which consists in a ‘chic picnic’ whose location is kept secret until the vey last minute. This year it took place in the ‘Jardins du Palais Royal’ and gathered about 10,000 people, all dressed in all white. The Dîner en blanc was created in Paris 25 years ago and exists also now in many other cities, such as Montreal, New York, Boston, Sydney, …
And at the end of the bridge on the Quai de Conti one can still admire some remnants of the past: some love locks have not been removed yet… but for how long? Let’s immortalize them for ever in a beautiful last picture before they disappear!
We very much enjoyed this walk and I really recommend it by fine weather to any Parisian or visitor: it is the ideal walk to experience the magic of Paris and to fall in love with the city. And if you use a tripod to take photographies at night, be careful as the bridge slightly moves when some people are walking or cycling by you!
Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B – www.goodmorningparis.fr