Paris has all the sumptuous architectural details you'd expect from a place boasting centuries of history — and it's a city seemingly designed for taking in fantastic views. No surprise, then, that the French capital harbors some stunning bridges and "passerelles" (pedestrian-only footbridges). These are 10 of the most beautiful bridges in Paris: some in iconic places you've seen in the movies, and others in quieter places that you'll delight in discovering. Whether you're exploring the city solo, as a couple or in a group, make sure to beeline to at least a few of these. Early morning and just after dusk are probably the best times to appreciate their fine details.
Pont Alexandre III
With its flamboyant art-nouveau-style lamps, decorated arches and ornate statuary, the Pont Alexandre III is probably the most flamboyant of Paris' many bridges. Built between 1896 and 1900, it connects the Esplanade des Invalides with the gardens of the Petit Palais museum.
Symbol of a Belle-Epoque Paris moving triumphantly into modernity, this bridge is especially beautiful after dusk, when the aforementioned lamps light up. It's also after dark that you can best appreciate its elaborate statues and other decorative elements.
From the bridge, go see the Emperor Napoleon's tomb at the Invalides, explore the free art collections at the Petit Palais, and enjoy gorgeous views of the Parisian skyline.
Getting There: The easiest way to access this bridge is to get off at the Invalides Metro or RER (commuter-train) stop.
Pont des Arts
Connecting the Palais du Louvre to the prestigious Institut de France, the Pont des Arts is a pedestrian-only bridge that is beloved by tourists and locals alike. In the spring and summer months, Parisians and visitors flock here for lazy picnics overlooking the Seine. Photo opportunities from the bridge are first-rate: enjoy stunning views over the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and the glittering play of light on the river.
Once used as a place for couples to place their "lovelocks," these have been removed following structural damage and safety concerns. Still, this iconic metal bridge, first built by the Emperor Napoleon in 1802 and reconstructed in the 1970s, is a must-see for first-time visitors.
Getting There: The easiest way to get to the bridge is to get off at the Pont Neuf or Louvre-Rivoli metro station and head west along the Seine river.
Although its name means "New Bridge" in French, the Pont Neuf is in fact Paris' oldest along the Seine River. First built in 1578 by King Henry III, it has seen numerous reconstructions and modifications over the centuries. But it conserves its Roman-inspired arch structures. The bridge is actually composed of two separate branches: five arches connect the left bank to the Ile de la Cité (the natural island floating between the two banks of the Seine) and another seven join the island to the rive droite (right bank).
The Pont Neuf boasts an ornate equestrian statue of King Henry IV that makes it easily recognizable.
This is a lovely bridge that offers easy and picturesque access to the left and right bank as well as the Ile de la Cité. Have some ice cream at Berthillon, explore the lovely riverside paths, and enjoy views of Notre-Dame Cathedral from the Ile.
Getting There: Get off at Metro Pont Neuf and follow directions to the bridge.
This lovely but little-known bridge is a gateway between the Marais district on the right bank and the Ile de la Cité, a natural "island" on the Seine river. The current stone structure dates to around 1670, following a fire on its wooden predecessor that destroyed much of the original bridge and the houses that once stood on it. It has remained much the same since the 18th century, making it one of Paris' oldest bridges.
Its five elegant arches are unusual because the abutments have not been decorated with statues.
From the bridge, enjoy views over the Seine and the many other bridges that grace it further on the horizon westward. Go explore the mansions, winding streets and quays of the Ile de la Cité, or wander through the medieval and Renaissance-era sites of the Marais.
Getting There: Get off at the Pont Marie metro stop and follow signs to the bridge.
Pont au Double
For breathtaking views of Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Pont au Double can't be beat. This single-arched metallic bridge, built during the 19th century, connects the Parvis du Notre Dame outside the famous Cathedral to the Quai de Montebello on the left bank.
From this bridge, perspectives over the Ile de la Cité and the Latin Quarter are also superb. Stop off at the Shakespeare and Company bookshop nearby, or board a Bateaux Parisiens boat tour of the Seine from the Quai de Montebello.
Getting There: The easiest way to get to this bridge is to descend at Metro Saint-Michel and walk up the Quai St-Michel east. This turns into the Quai de Montebello; follow it until you reach the bridge on your left.
Pont de la Concorde
This prestigious bridge connects the historic Place de la Concorde to the Palais Bourbon on the left bank of the Seine. Completed in 1791 during the height of the French Revolution, construction began on it in around 1755, under King Louis XV. It was significantly widened during the 20th century to accommodate automobile traffic, but the city preserved its fine neoclassical elements.
Getting There: Get off at the Concorde metro station and follow signs to the bridge. If you're coming from the left bank, get off at the Invalides Metro/RER station and walk east to the bridge.
The Bridges of the Canal St-Martin
Many tourists never set foot on the Canal Saint-Martin — but they should. This former industrial waterway is now the center of a bustling and authentically local district favored by Parisians, especially in the evenings and summers. What's more? It also harbors some lovely, arched footbridges. These iconic green metal structures are beautiful to behold, no matter the time of day. Stand at the peak of one to look out over the canal and its lovely banks, teeming with people and activity.
While you're in the area, do as the Parisians and take some time to loaf in a trendy café, wine bar or old hotel bar. See more on what to do in the area in our complete guide to the Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood.
Getting There: Get off at Metro République or Jacques-Bonsergent and walk to the canal.
Pont de la Tournelle
The current tri-arched bridge that gracefully connects the Ile de la Cité to the left bank on the Quai Saint Bernard is one of many that have stood here over the centuries. From the 16th century, a wooden bridge graced the site, but it was eroded and destroyed by ice. A successor in stone was badly damaged by floods. The Pont de la Tournelle you see today has only been there since 1928.
Consisting of a large central arch and two smaller ones on each side, this bridge is recognizable by its pylon, graced at the top by a statue of Sainte-Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris.
From this bridge, explore the eastern part of the Latin Quarter, which is quieter and more residential than the bustling tourist center around Saint-Michel.
Getting There: Get off at Metro Cardinal Lemoine or Maubert-Mutualité and walk five or six minutes to the bridge. Alternatively, take bus line 24 and get off at Pont de la Tournelle.
Built around 1900 during the height of Belle-Epoque Paris, this metallic footbridge offers some spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower, which is relatively close by. Go at dusk to see the tower explode into shimmering light. Since this is another pedestrian-only bridge, you won't have to worry about noise or pollution from passing cars.
After a stroll on the bridge, explore the surrounding neighborhood, perhaps stopping for dinner or taking advantage of the other interesting things to do around the Eiffel Tower.
Getting There: Get off at the RER (commuter line) station Gare du Pont de l'Alma, or Metro station Alma-Marceau.
Pont au Change
This bridge offers dramatic views over the Conciergerie and the Palais de Justice — a medieval palace that now houses the luminous Sainte-Chapelle church and a former Revolutionary prison where Marie-Antoinette and thousands of others were held captive. The Pont au Change connects the central Parisian Chatelet neighborhood on the right bank to the middle of the Ile de la Cité.
Built in the 1860s by Napoleon III, the bridge bears the Emperor's insignia. It is also famous for its appearance in "Les Misérables" by Victor Hugo. It is here that the Police Inspector Javert throws himself off of a bridge and into the Seine, falling to his death.
The bridge offers easy access to the Ile de la Cité and Notre-Dame Cathedral. It's also an excellent starting point for a medieval tour of Paris.
Getting There: Get off at Metro Chatelet or Cité and walk to the bridge (about five minutes).