Photographing Paris – Bridges of the Seine River

Within Paris there are 37 bridges over the Seine River, many with interesting architectural features and most with an interesting history. The bulk of these are in the central tourism area between the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most photogenic areas of Paris, likely one of the most photogenic cities in the world!

Sightseeing Boats, Seine River, Paris, France

Sightseeing Boat, Seine River, Paris, France

Perhaps the best way to see and photograph the bridges of Paris is from the Seine River itself. Countless river cruises will take you through the main portion of the Seine, often while sipping on wine and eating good food. I don’t recommend this food and wine habit for photography however as you will get little in the way of photographs. Save that for a later time; it’s one of the reasons to be in Paris in the first place! Most of the large boats leave form the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower and these boats are “huge” carrying upwards of 300 passengers or more. For photography my preference is the smaller boats leaving from Pont Neuf that carry fewer people and don’t serve food. Get to the cruise terminal early and try to get a seat at the front of the boat for the best views. The evening light is stunning so attempt to be on one of the last river trips before sunset, this is a very photogenic time to be on the river.

Don’t neglect to photograph the bridges from land as well. Many are popular with musicians and artists while others have small cubbyholes for lovers to watch the Paris skyline unfold in front of them and well, be lovers. The Seine River has a constant supply of commercial boat traffic of interest while the river dinner cruises and site seeing tours pass underneath the bridges as well. This is a fascinating way to see how Paris works and a great perspective for photographs.

The bridges span about 200 years of architectural styles from simple pedestrian bridges to ornate sculptural masterpieces. Every bridge is different, one of the exciting reasons to spend time on the Seine River.

While I wont cover most of the bridges in this article I’ll touch on a few of my favourite and most photogenic of the Paris bridges.

Pont Alexandre III is an arch bridge ornamented with fine sculptural work that many consider to be one of the most beautiful in Paris. The bridge connects the Champs-Élysées quarter and the Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter, well worth the time to spend walking over between these two landmarks. Much of the detail work can only be seen from the river so viewing Pont Alexandre III from this vantage point is worth the river trips in itself. Pont Alexandre III was built between 1896 and 1900.

Sculptural details on Pont Alexandre III, Seine River, Paris, France

Sculptural details on Pont Alexandre III, Seine River, Paris, France

Pont Alexandre III and the Grand Palace, Paris, France

Pont Alexandre III and the Grand Palais, Paris, France

Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts is a pedestrian bridge in Paris which crosses the Seine River. It links the Institut de France and the central square (cour carrée) of the palais du Louvre. The original bridge was built between 1802 and 1804 and was the first metal bridge in Paris. After a somewhat rough history including damage during the two world wars and a barge collision in 1979 the bridge was dismantled. The present bridge was built between 1981 and 1984. Today the bridge is frequented by artists and musicians and is a popular place for picnics and to watch the barges plying the Seine.

Pont des Arts, Seine River, Paris, France

Pont des Arts, Seine River, Paris, France

Musicians playing on Pont des Arts, Paris, France

Musicians playing on Pont des Arts, Paris, France

The newest bridge in this area of Paris is the passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, formerly known as passerelle Solférino (or pont de Solférino) linking the Musée d’Orsay and the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Gardens). The bridge was built between 1997 and 1999. This bridge crosses the Seine with as single span and is very photogenic with its’ unique architecture. An interesting note is the use of Tabebuias, a Brazilian tree that was used to cover the bridge.

Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, Paris, France

Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, Paris, France

One can’t spend every minute in Paris doing photography however as there are so many other interesting things to do. A highlight of any time in Paris for me has always been joining the locals on the banks of the Seine and watching the world float by; dining on fine cheese with a  baguette and  a bottle of French wine while soaking up the sun. It really doesn’t get any better than this!

Enjoying the view in front of Pont de la Tournelle, Seine River, Paris, France

Enjoying the view in front of Pont de la Tournelle, Seine River, Paris, France

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  1. Jaz says:

    I had been in Paris and passed Seine. But you are so good at taking different angles, made the same area looks different. What a lovely pictures.

  2. @nemonen says:

    I have never been there, but now when I saw your photos I must go there some times.
    .-= @nemonen´s last blog ..WW #87 The brook =-.

  3. A Garden of Threads says:

    Beautiful pictures of the bridges. Happy WW.

  4. these are wonderful photos…I haven’t been to paris since I was 17, thanks for taking me back.

  5. Riet says:

    What great Paris pictures. Beautiful bridges. Haven’t been there for many years but I want to go back nDayow I see your lovely pictures.
    Have a nice

  6. A fascinating presentation of the Seine world! Enjoyed this tour guide!
    .-= Gemma@Greyscale´s last blog ..Safety Beach in Autumn =-.

  7. Your lovely photos make me miss Paris. I haven’t been back in years, but I feel like making a plane reservation right now.
    .-= Out walking the dog´s last blog ..Bird Neck Appreciation Day =-.

  8. Kevin says:

    Thanks to everyone for dropping by and enjoying the images of Paris.

  9. Wondeful Paris wiews and all thoselovely bridges. Makes me long for going back there soon

    /Christina
    .-= Christina, Sweden´s last blog ..2010 Virtual Photowalk – Wildlife, Watery Wednesday =-.

  10. Jane says:

    Great shots, I would like to see Paris again some day. Thanks for sharing:)
    .-= Jane´s last blog ..Watery Wednesday: Wet Tulip =-.

  11. Kevin says:

    It sounds as though everyone loves Paris! Of all the big cities that I have been to it’s certainly my favourite so far, just booking a flight back sometime this week. Can’t wait to get back there to do more photography.

  12. Denise says:

    Delightful photos, I hope I get there one day. You make it look so inviting.

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