Jun 30, 2017

Bridging the City: Pont d'Yeu


If there's one thing that really ties this city together, it's the bridges that punctuate the Seine from one end of Paris to the other. The River that Runs Through It may be the star of the movie, but the best way to get up close and personal to her is to get on The Bridge that Runs Across It.

For some reason, I can only imagine looking at thinking about the bridges from East to West. Maybe my mind is following the sun. Or maybe it's following the direction looking toward the Eiffel Tower from where I live. It's hard to know. No matter which direction you look at them, that's 34 bridges, intramuros, as they say in Europe, within the city walls (or, in this case, within the Péripherique ring road):

Pont National (major road inside Péripherique)
Pont de Tolbiac
Place Simone de Beauvoir (pedestrian crossing)
Pont de Bercy
Pont Charles de Gaulle
Viaduc d'Austerlitz (train tracks only)
Pont d'Austerlitz
Pont de Sully
Pont de la Tournelle (left bank to Ile St Louis) & Pont Marie (Ile St Louis to right bank)
Pont Louis Philippe (Ile St Louis to right bank)
Pont Saint Louis (pedestrian only, between Ile St Louis and Ile de la Cite)
Pont de l'Archeveché (left bank to Ile de la Cite)
Pont au Double (pedestrian only, left bank to Ile de la Cite)
Pont d'Arcole (Ile de la Cite to right bank)
Petit Pont Cardinal Lustiger (left bank to Ile de la Cite) & Pont Notre Dame (Ile de la Cite to right bank)
Pont St Michel (left bank to Ile de la Cite) & Pont au Change (Ile de la Cite to right bank)
Pont Neuf (from bank to bank, traversing Ile de la Cite)
Pont des Arts (pedestrian only)
Pont du Carrousel
Pont Royal
Passerelle Léopold-Sedar-Senghor (pedestrian only)
Pont de la Concorde
Pont Alexandre III
Pont des Invalides
Pont de l'Alma
Passerelle Debilly
Pont d'Iéna
Pont de Bir-Hakeim (traversing the manmade island Ile aux Cygnes)
Pont de Grenelle (also traversing the Iles aux Cygnes)
Pont Mirabeau
Pont du Garigliano (major road inside Péripherique)

I regularly pass all but a half dozen of those in central Paris. But some of them are simply not very noticeable and photogenic, and I have no pictures at all. Others are glorious, and I can't stop snapping photos.

Place Simone de Beauvoir (pedestrian bridge) in the foreground, and behind it, the stone bridge you see is the Pont de Tolbiac (rare moment of me looking from west to east):

Pont de Bercy:

Pont Charles de Gaulle, quite possibly the least interesting of all Paris' bridges:

Viaduc d'Austerlitz, come out of the Gare d'Austerlitz, train tracks only:

Pont d'Austerlitz:

Under the bridge, a homeless refugee encampment:

Pont de Sully, during the floods and at regular water levels. You can see the difference. In case you're wondering about the colorful crowds, it's part of the route for the Gay Pride Parade: 

Pont Marie from Ile St. Louis at sunset:

Pont de la Tournelle, great both for being in the foreground of your Notre Dame photo and for standing on it to take awesome Notre Dame photos closer-up:


Pont de la Tournelle, at sunrise taken from Pont de l'Archeveché (unusually for me, taken from the west, looking east!):

Pont de la Tournelle with Pont de l'Archeveche in the background, and the Pont au Double in the way back.

Standing on Pont de la Tournelle for the shot of Notre Dame. Pont de l'Archeveché on the left, and the Pont Saint Louis behind the trees near the right.

On Pont de l'Archeveché, with the pedestrian rust-colored Pont au Double in the distance on the left-hand side of the photo, leading to Notre Dame.

Same bridges, almost the same spot, taken from below, with one of the hundreds of brides I've seen down here. It's a brides and bridges photo.

These particular bridges are the traditional first day of photo spots for our girls. Not only are they stunning settings, they're also great metaphors for the passage from one grade, one year, to another. On the left, ages 6 and 8, heading to their first day in school in Paris just after we moved here. They're standing on Pont de Sully, and Pont de la Tournelle is in the background. On the right, it's from two years later, standing on the Pont de L'Archeveché.


Pont Saint Louis, which our family calls the pont piéton (pedestrian bridge) between the two islands. We also call it our front yard, and the girls grew up dancing and performing with the buskers on this bridge, the Hotel de Ville in the background.

For four years, we overlooked the Pont Saint Louis. Here's one of my favorite sunset shots (no filter, no color adjustment at all. The world literally looked that golden yellow with the naked eye).

Standing on the Pont Saint Louis and looking at the next bridge over, Pont d'Arcole, gives you a nice view of Hotel de Ville and the Tour St. Jacques:

From Ile de la Cité looking toward the left bank over Pont St. Michel. Either it's a particularly blessed bridge, or I just get lucky on the day I take its photo:

Pont au Change, seen from the right bank, looking west towards the Conciérgerie, during the flood (as you can see):

Pont Neuf, here standing on the Pont au Change. Pont Neuf, which means New Bridge, is the oldest bridge in Paris, built from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 17th. It was, at the time it was built, the newest bridge in the city, of course. More than that, it was a new style for the bridges -- solidly made with stone, no medieval style wooden colombage houses on top of it, and even places for people to get out of traffic and sit and enjoy the view of the river. It was a new concept and, obviously, a very popular one, since most of the other bridges of Paris follow these same precepts.

Still the Pont Neuf, but from below:

And here from the right bank.

And here looking backwards -- that is, from the West towards the East.

The pedestrian-only Passarelle Léopold Sedar Senghor:

The Pont des Arts is one of the most famous of Paris' bridges, and with good reason. It's a unique looking pedestrian bridge, and it connects, basically, the Louvre (on the right bank)...

...and the photogenic Institute of France on the left:

These photos are taken before and after the new railings were put up. In the first you see some love-locks. But this was years ago. Then, the locks got worse and worse and became quite the eyesore as well as a safety hazard. They literally added tons of weight to the rails, which started to peel off, occasionally.

Adieu love-locks!

It's a beautiful bridge at night, too.

Pont Alexandre III is one of the other most famous bridges of Paris, largely because of the golden statues that guard it, and also because it connects les Invalides and the Grand and Petit Palais:


A view from the bridge. Though you can't see the Seine or any buildings around, there's no mistaking which city this photo is taken in:

Pont de l'Alma is known, in particular, for this statue, the Zouave, which serves as an informal measure of flooding. When the Zouave is swimming underwater, Paris is in trouble. Amazingly, I did not go visit the Zouave and photograph it during last year's historic floods:

Luckily, other people did. Here's a photo from the newspaper Le Figaro:

photo from: http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2016/06/12/01016-20160612ARTFIG00046-inondations-a-paris-le-zouave-n-a-plus-les-pieds-dans-l-eau.php

Pont d'Iena, connecting the Eiffel Tower to the Trocadero:

Passerelle Debilly (another pedestrian bridge) near the Eiffel Tower:

Pont de Grenelles and the Statue of Liberty looking toward the East, where you get both the statue and the tower in one fabulous eyeful (pun intended), then standing on the bridge looking west:


Under the bridge, just behind the Statue of Liberty, you can sneak in a little work-out.

Pont Mirabeau:

On our very first day living in Paris, we take this photo on the Pont des Arts, with the Pont Neuf behind us. The girls are much bigger now, and the locks have fist multiplied then been removed, but other than that, not much has changed: we still stop to appreciate the beauty every time we cross the Seine on one of Paris's many -- many -- bridges.

THE CHEESE: Pont d'Yeu

Pont d'Yeu is a raw goats' milk cheese from the Loire-Atlantique department in the Pays de la Loire region. It's also known as La Bûchette de Pont d'Yeu for the obvious reason that it's in the form of a bûchette, a little log. It's made on the Ile d'Yeu, which used to be connected to the mainland by the natural Pont d'Yeu, a land bridge that's now only visible and accessible at very low tide.

It's a splendid, magnificent cheese with a gorgeous ashed crust with colorful Penicillium molds. Because of the environment, with the Atlantic all around on this tiny island, the molds here have adapted to highly salty conditions. The resulting cheese has a lovely salty finish with "sweet" style molds, instead of the stinky-feet orange molds that develop when cheese is purposefully rubbed with salted water. The cheese bursts with flavor, aged for 2-4 weeks.

And the texture matches the flavor -- bursting and beautiful.


The cheese is named after the Pont d'Yeu -- not a man-made bridge but rather a millions-of-years-old natural phenomenon, whereby the Ile d'Yeu connects to the mainland at very low tide via a huge land bridge. Not one of Paris' bridges is natural, or nearly that old. But to talk about all the beautiful bridges of Paris, mon Dieux, it has to be Pont d'Yeu cheese!


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