Skip Navigation

Pont Neuf by Anniemax Star this if you like it!

The Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris (opened by King Henry IV in 1607). The 384 mascarons that decorate the Pont Neuf are its most outstanding feature. A mascaron, from the Italian mascarone (mask), is a sculpted head, often grotesque, sporting fantastical traits, such as pointed ears, horns, sea-shell crowns or beards made of bunches of grapes. On Pont Neuf, no two heads are identical. You could stand for ages examining the individual, often comical faces. We heard/read a few different versions of their origin. One story claims they are the faces of the King's friends who were present at his eleborate party at the opening of the bridge...another states that they're faces of the city's pickpockets and criminals. Over more than a century, since the last major restoration, the mascarons have been damaged and blackened by air pollution, acid rain and wind. The current restoration has replaced more than half of them with copies that have been sculpted in place. We walked along the banks of the Seine and under the bridge where we'd been warned to hold our breath (toilets are obviously difficult to find in Paris).

Paris 1er Arrondissement , France

Comments

No comments yet.

Be the first to comment on this photo!

More photos from France