If you’ve been following the saga of The Enchanted Bloodline series, you know that the Pont Neuf is almost as important a “character” as Christian and Michel (particularly in Blood Tears). In fact, Christian describes his feelings about the Pont Neuf in this excerpt:
The city he remembered had been swallowed up and digested by the industrial age, yet the majestic Pont Neuf still took his breath away. Christian stopped on a bastion, remembering how magnificent the bridge seemed in ages past, built of stone and so wide that people could promenade leisurely while carriages passed without incident. Mortals toiled in their shops during daylight hours, yet scurried home before darkness fell when all manner of bandits and prostitutes emerged. He and Michel would hide in the shadows, waiting for the whores and drunks to amble by on their way to a tavern or one of the numerous brothels. In the gaslight it was always impossible to see the beautiful vampires until it was too late.
God, it was so easy to kill then.
Do you know the history of this amazing bridge though? The Pont Neuf (or “New Bridge”) is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris. It stands right by the western point of the Île de la Cité, the island in the middle of the river that was the heart of medieval Paris. The bridge is composed of two separate spans, one of five arches joining the left bank to the Île de la Cité, another of seven joining the island to the right bank.
The construction of a new bridge over the Seine was initiated by Henri III, who laid the first stone in May 1578. His successor, Henri IV, decided to take on the task with the idea of creating “The New Bridge” as a way to win over the people of his newly conquered capital city. And it worked. Parisians from all walks of life adopted the Pont Neuf and saw it as the symbol of their city and the most important place in town.
And why did they take to it so well and so quickly? Because the Pont Neuf became the first truly communal entertainment space in the city. It was free and anyone could come there – anyone at all, rich or poor. After decades of religious violence, this was exactly what the Parisians needed – a place to finally come out of their houses and enjoy themselves in public again.
The Pont Neuf has played an important role in Parisian history and an important role in my novels. It’s one of my favorite places in the world and I love being able to share it with all of you!