Pont des Arts – Paris

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 of architecture and history. The Pont des Arts itself was completed in 1804 under the reign of Napoleon I.

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.

Pont des Arts and Ile de la Cité at Blue Hour - Paris
F16 | 20 secs | ISO 100 | 70 mm

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. You can just see so much from here! 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 by guillotine on the present day Place de la Concorde. I stayed in an Ibis hotel myself.

I zoomed in to 70mm which compressed the perspective making everything in the scene appear a lot closer together. The towers of Notre Dame Cathedral are about 1.4km away from where I took this photo but seem to be much closer.

Left Bank of the Seine at Dusk
F14 | 30 secs | ISO 100 | 64 mm

For the next photo, I wanted to shoot the Pont des Arts from the opposite side so I sprinted, ok I ran, maybe jogged….fine, I walked quickly to the Pont Neuf and set up the shot looking towards where the sun had set about 20 minutes previously. The sky was a beautiful mix of orange and pink hues which provided the perfect backdrop to the scene along the Left Bank of the Seine.

Again, the Pont des Arts is in the foreground but this time, the Eiffel Tower itself is visible as it rises over the Rive Gauche. The Musée d’Orsay can be seen in the far right of the frame. Once again, I zoomed in to compress the perspective. In this scene, the Eiffel Tower is 3.5km away.

Pont des Arts and Institut de France at Night
F16 | 20 secs | ISO 100 | 28 mm

As the sky began to get darker, I decided to get some closer shots of the Pont des Arts itself and again hauled myself down the banks of the Seine knocking several children aside with my tripod as I did so (accidently of course). I set up a simple shot with the bridge 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. I have to say, I really like it.

Institut de France at Night - Paris
F16 | 20 secs | ISO 100 | 42 mm

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.

Pontdes Arts and Monnaie de Paris at Night.
F16 | 20 secs | ISO 100 | 42 mm

The final photo of the evening is similar to the third photo of this series but 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 scene.

A rather unfortunate accident involving the bridge 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.

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