Paris is without a doubt one of my favourite photography locations. It is the City of Light after all! The area around the Pont des Arts is a particularly rich area in terms photography. All of the photographs in this gallery were taken in a single evening in the space of about 25 minutes! The blue hour doesn’t tend to last long so I had to work fast. The sight of a me running up and down the banks of the Seine with my camera swinging around my neck and tripod legs flailing in all directions must have been a source of amusement and perhaps worry to the Parisians and tourists strolling along the banks of the Seine.
Click on the photos to view larger versions.
Pont des Arts and Ile de la Cité
The first photo of the evening was taken from the Pont du Carrousel just beside the Louvre Museum. The view from here is one of my favourites in all Paris. In this scene, the Pont des Arts is in the foreground with the Ile de la Cite and Pont Neuf in the distance. The towers of Notre Dame Cathedral are clearly visible to the right, as is the spire of Sainte Chapelle. The conical towers of the Conciergerie can be seen on the far left. Marie Antoinette spent her last night here before being led to her execution. I stayed in an Ibis hotel myself.
Pont des Arts and the Institut de France
For the next photo, I set up a simple shot with the Pont des Arts leading the eye to the ornately domed Institut de France on the far bank. As you can see, the sky that night was really unusual hue of purple. Maybe it’s a result of pollution? I have to say, I really like it, the colour that is, not the pollution.
Institut de France from the Pont des Arts
For the next, photo, I set up my tripod on the bridge itself and framed the scene with the Institut de France in the dead centre of the scene. A long exposure of 20 seconds created some motion blur from the people walking on the bridge. I did manage to record a couple taking a photo on the left of the frame though! He’s not even using a tripod….. pfft.
Pont des Arts, Institut de France and the Monnaie de France
This photo was taken from the other side of the bridge and with a slightly different crop. From this side you can see the French flag flying above the Monnaie de Paris (The National Mint) to the far left of the frame.
Left Bank of the River Seine
This photo was taken from the Pont Neuf looking towards the famous Left Bank / Rive Gauche of the River Seine. The Pont des Arts is in the foreground but this time, the Eiffel Tower itself is visible as it rises over the Left Bank. The Musée d’Orsay can be seen in the far right of the frame. The evening sky was a beautiful mix of orange and pink hues which provided the perfect backdrop to the scene
About the Location
The original Pont des Arts was completed in 1804 under the reign of Napoleon I. A rather unfortunate accident involving the Pont des Arts getting the way of a barge occured in 1979. This resulted in a large portion of the historic structure collapsing into the River Seine below. So if ever you are having a bad day at work, just think of that barge pilot having to explain to his boss how he’d just knocked down one of the most historic bridges in Paris!
With five photos in the bag I headed off to a quaint French Cafe nearby where I sat wondering if another barge might crash into the Pont des Arts. It didn’t happen although I did get to pay €11 for a beer which was really just as disagreeable.