14 Famous Bridges In France You Must See For Yourself

France is home to some of the most beautiful and iconic bridges in the world. From ancient Roman aqueducts to grand Art Nouveau structures, you’ll find about a million different bridge styles within this beautiful country.

With so many important rivers, canals, and waterways that have existed for thousands of years, it’s no wonder why France has so many bridges. A lot of these bridges are known for their stunning architectural beauty and brilliant engineering.

If you’re headed to Paris, you’ll be super pleased to know there are a bunch of really cool ones within the city limits alone, including Pont Neuf, Pont Alexandre III, Pont de Bir-Hakeim, and the Pont des Arts (aka the love locks bridge!).

My personal favorite? Pont Neuf and Pont Alexandre III. I’m a sucker for any historical structure with faces on it!

Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or just appreciate pretty structures, get excited because at least one of these iconic bridges will leave you in awe. All are magnificent, and all have a story to tell!

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1. Viaduc de Millau

Millau, France

Viaduc de Millau - Famous Bridges In France

Standing at an impressive 343m, the Millau Viaduct is famous for being the tallest bridge in the world. The Viaduc de Millau is a cable-stayed bridge located in the south of France, spanning the Tarn River valley near the town of Millau. 

Building of this marvelous sight began in 2001, and the bridge was completed in 2004. This spectacular bridge is a cable-stayed, steel, and concrete-constructed viaduct motorway bridge.

When the magnificent Millau Viaduct was introduced to the world, many marveled at the once-considered impossible-to-achieve architecture. Its design, with seven soaring towers to which cables are anchored directly to the main deck, is engineering genius.

Since its inauguration, this bridge has won various awards for its impressive architecture and incredible technical achievement. The bridge has also become a popular tourist attraction, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the Tarn River valley below!

2. Pont Alexandre III

Paris, France

Pont Alexandre III - Paris, France - www.travelswithelle.com

Pont Alexandre III is considered one of the most elegant bridges to cross the Seine River. This bridge is in the heart of Paris, making it one of the easiest to access on this list.

Famous for its gilded Fames sculptures, nymph reliefs, and intricate design, Pont Alexandre III connects the commercial Champs-Elysées to the Les Invalides esplanade.

The construction of the Pont Alexandre III was to celebrate the Russian French Alliance, which was established in 1891. The bridge was named in honor of Tsar Alexandre III, whose son and successor, Tsar Nicolas II, laid the first stone in 1896.

The bridge was completed in 1900, just in time to showcase it to people all across the world for the World Fair! After the bridge was first showcased, it became a quintessential Paris landmark.

Expect to see some of the most beautiful and intricate artwork on the bridge itself! You’ll find all kinds of angels and statues embellishing the pillars and arches of the Pont Alexander III.

Around Pont Alexandre III, there are several easy and enjoyable activities you can reach within a 10-minute walk:

  • Les Invalides: Visit the impressive complex of Les Invalides, which houses the Musée de l’Armée (Army Museum) showcasing military history, the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, and beautiful gardens to stroll through.
  • Grand Palais and Petit Palais: Explore the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, two very ornate exhibition halls showcasing art and culture. Admiring the architecture from the outside is half the fun!
  • Champs-Élysées: Walk down the famous Champs-Élysées avenue, known for its luxury shops, theaters, cafes, and historic landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe.
  • Seine River Cruises: Cruise down the Seine by boat to admire the iconic landmarks of Paris from the water. Most tours go for 1-2 hours, but if a dinner cruise on the river is more your style, this 4-course evening dinner cruise by Compagnie des Bateaux Mouches gets amazing reviews.
  • Musée de l’Orangerie: Visit the Musée de l’Orangerie, located in the Tuileries Gardens, to see Claude Monet’s famous Water Lilies paintings and other Impressionist masterpieces.

3. Pont Neuf

Paris, France

Pont Neuf - Famous Bridges In France

Pont Neuf is famous for being the oldest standing bridge to span the entire river Seine in Paris. Despite its name, which means “New Bridge” in French, it is actually the oldest bridge in Paris, having been completed in 1607. 

The Pont Neuf is known for its unique design, with 12 arches and a series of small islands located beneath it. The bridge also features a number of ornate sculptures and engravings depicting the heads of various figures from ancient mythology, including those of the French king, Henry IV, who commissioned the bridge, and his queen, Marie de Medici. 

Pont Neuf Paris France

But how did this bridge come to be in the first place? Well in 1577, King Henry III commissioned a new bridge over the Seine. The following year work started on the Pont Neuf bridge, with the King laying the first stone.

The work continued until 1588 when it was halted by political and religious unrest. After the dust settled, the building resumed in 1599 and was presided over by King Henry IV until its inauguration in 1607.

Today, Pont Neuf is a popular spot for street performers, artists, and vendors, who set up shop along the bridge and its adjacent pedestrian walkways. It makes for quite a pleasant stroll!

Around Pont Neuf, you’ll also find the following within walking distance:

  • Île de la Cité: The historic island home to Notre-Dame Cathedral, Sainte-Chapelle, and the Conciergerie.
  • Louvre Museum: world-famous! Home to thousands of works of art spanning centuries, including the iconic Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo.
  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés: A neighborhood known for its historic cafes, boutique shops, and artistic ambiance. Enjoy a coffee at the iconic Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots.
  • Jardin des Tuileries: A beautiful park filled with sculptures, fountains, and manicured gardens — located between the Louvre Museum and Place de la Concorde.
  • Musée d’Orsay: Home to a collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces by artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, and Renoir.

4. Pont des Arts

Paris, France

Pont des Arts - Famous Bridges In France

Pont de Arts is a lovely pedestrian bridge that attracts many tourists and is famously known as the ‘lovers bridge.’ This is the love locks bridge, y’all!

The bridge is known for its unique design and for being a popular spot for couples to attach “love locks” to its railings. Many couples visiting this bridge would place engraved metal locks on the side of the bridge. They would toss the key into the river to symbolize their devoted love.

The tradition of attaching locks to the bridge began in the early 2000s and became so popular that the weight of the locks began to damage the bridge. In 2015, the locks were removed from the bridge and replaced with plexiglass panels, but the tradition continues in other areas of Paris.

This bridge is also within walking distance from all the big Paris attractions like the Louvre, Notre-Dame, Le Marais neighborhood, etc. so pairing it with visits to Pont Neuf and Pont Alexandre III is totally doable.

5. Pont Ambroix

Saint-Victor-de-Malcap, France

Pont Ambroix - Famous Bridges In France

Let’s leave Paris for a minute and transport ourselves to the South of France to Pont Ambroix.

Pont Ambroix is a famous Roman bridge located in southern France, near the town of Saint-Victor-de-Malcap. The bridge is known for its impressive size and for being one of the best-preserved examples of Roman bridge engineering

Pont Ambroix was built to cross the Vidourle River at Ambrussum, which is modern-day Lunel in France. This impressive and beautiful bridge was built in 30 BC and is thought to have 11 Roman arches and to be over 175m in length.

The Pont Ambroix was an important part of the Roman road network in the region, and it played a key role in the transportation of goods and people. For about thirteen centuries, this ancient bridge carried traffic until about 1299.

If you visit this one, be sure to keep an eye out for the visible traces of Roman cart tracks found at this archaeological site. It is speculated that floods damaged the bridge beyond use over time, and it was never repaired.

Pont Ambroix was classed as a historical monument in 1840. It is recorded that two arches were still standing, as portrayed in a famous painting by Gustave Courbet in 1857. But again, a violent flood in 1933 took its toll, and only one arch remains today.

The Ambrussum archeological site and museum beside the river is a pretty place to visit to view this impressive Roman bridge. The surrounding area is also home to a number of other Roman ruins, including the famous Pont du Gard aqueduct, which is located nearby.

6. Viaduc de Garabit

Ruynes-en-Margeride, France

Viaduc de Garabit - Famous Bridges In France

The Garabit Viaduct, a colorful railway arch bridge, spans the Truyère River in France’s mountainous Massif Central region. The bridge was designed by the famous French engineer Gustave Eiffel, who as you may know, also designed the Eiffel Tower!

The Viaduc de Garabit’s construction commenced in 1882 and was completed in 1885. Impressively, it was one of the highest bridges in the world at the time. The bridge is known for its unique design, featuring a single arch that spans 165 meters (541 feet).

The Viaduc de Garabit was an important engineering feat in its time, as it was challenging to erect due to its length and height and having to contend with the wind and temperature range. Once alive and kicking, it played a key role in the transportation of goods and people across the region.

This impressive Viaduc de Garabit railway arch bridge is still in use today, offering visitors stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the Truyère River below. The bridge has also been featured in several films, including the 1999 James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough.

7. Pont du Gard

Vers-Pont-du-Gard, France

Pont du Gard - Famous Bridges In France

Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge located in the south of France, near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard. The bridge was built by the Romans in the 1st century AD to transport water from the Eure Spring to the city of Nîmes (formerly Nemausus), a distance of over 50 kilometers (31 miles).

The structure stands at an impressive height of 360m and is one of the most impressive examples of Roman engineering.

This aqueduct was constructed out of soft yellow limestone blocks from a nearby quarry bordering the Gardon River. It is estimated that 50,400 tons of rock were used in the build! Over the years, limestone built up inside the aqueduct, and it was no longer used to transport fresh water. The Romans then altered the structure into a bridge.

Pont du Gard is the only example of a three-tier ancient bridge still standing and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. According to UNESCO, the bridge is tilting a few millimeters each year. Sadly, over time it may eventually collapse.

Having said that, you may want to add this one to your next France itinerary before it’s too late! The surrounding area is also home to a number of other Roman ruins, including the city of Nîmes, which is known for its well-preserved Roman amphitheater and Maison Carrée temple.

8. Briare Aqueduct

Briare, France

Briare aqueduct - Famous Bridges In France

Briare Aqueduct is a famous canal aqueduct located in central France, near the town of Briare. The aqueduct was built in the late 19th century to transport water from the Loire River to the Canal du Loing, a distance of over 6 kilometers (3.7 miles). 

The charming Briare aqueduct is the longest steel canal aqueduct in France, sitting at 662 meters long. The aqueduct was, once again, designed by the French engineer Gustave Eiffel, who also designed the Eiffel Tower.

The Briare aqueduct was built from 1890 to 1896 and was erected on fourteen piers. The steel channel contains more than 13,000 tons of water.

Tourists are captivated by its waterway, lined with 72 elegant cast-iron lamp posts as well as beautiful views of the river. Two gorgeous ornamental columns sit on each end of the walkway.

If you’re thinking about adding this to your list of bridges to visit, don’t miss the nearby town of Briare! It is home to a number of other tourist attractions, including a famous pottery museum and the Château de Trousse-Barrière, a beautiful 18th-century castle.

You may also like: 10 Best Castles in France You Must See For Yourself

9. Pont de Bir-Hakeim

Paris, France

Pont de Bir-Hakeim - Famous Bridges In Paris

Ready to head back to Paris for more famous bridges? Pont de Bir-Hakeim is a bridge located in Paris, France that crosses the Seine River. If you’re looking for spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower that overlooks the Seine River, don’t miss this one!

The Pont de Bir-Hakeim was completed in 1905 and was originally named the Passy Viaduct. The bridge was renamed in 1949 to commemorate the Battle of Bir Hakeim, a key battle in the North African campaign of World War II. 

The Bir-Hakeim bridge crosses the river Seine and connects the 15th and 16th arrondissement (Paris districts), passing through the small island of Ile aux Cygnes. The bridge has two levels; the lowest part is for vehicle traffic and a center bicycle path. The viaduct above is a crossing for the metro rail. Pedestrians have access where the bridge crosses the Ile aux Cygnes.

Along with providing visitors with stellar views, the bridge is known for its unique design and for being featured in several films, including the 2010 movie Inception

Pro Tip: Visit during sunset with a wide-angle lens to capture some Eiffel Tower magic.

10. Pont Valentré

Cahors, France

Pont Valentré - Famous Bridges In France

Pont Valentré is a famous medieval bridge located in the city of Cahors, in the southwestern region of France. The bridge spans the Lot River and is known for its unique design and impressive towers. Just one look at it and you’ll immediately be transported to the times of feasts, kings and queens, castles, and knights in shining armor.

The structure is one of the most beautiful fortified Medieval bridges in France. The Pont Valentré was built in the 14th century and took over 70 years to complete. The bridge features six arches and three towers, each with its own unique design and purpose.

The towers were used for defense and as a toll collection point, and they can be found adorned with decorative carvings and sculptures.

On the middle tower, near the roof, is a carving of an imp. This was added when the bridge was restored in the 1870s as an attempt to confuse the devil. Say what now? Yes, this was part of a legend, and the tower became known as the ‘Devil’s Tower.’

The Pont Valentré today is a popular tourist attraction, offering visitors a glimpse into the history and architecture of medieval France. The bridge is also a symbol of the city of Cahors and is featured on the city’s coat of arms!

The surrounding area is also home to a number of other tourist attractions, including the Saint-Etienne Cathedral and the Château de Cénevières, a beautiful 13th-century castle.

11. Pont de Recouvrance

Brest, France

Pont de Recouvrance - Bridges In France To See On Your Next Trip

Pont de Recouvrance is a bridge located in the city of Brest, in the northwestern region of France. The bridge spans the Penfeld River and is known for its unique design and impressive size. In fact, Pont de Recouvrance is one of the largest lift bridges in Europe.

The Pont de Recouvrance was completed in 1954 and replaced an older bridge that had been destroyed during World War II.

The bridge features a single arch that spans 122 meters (400 feet) and is supported by two tall pillars. The Pont de Recouvrance is also known for its lift mechanism, which allows it to be raised and lowered to allow large ships to pass through.

Construction on the vertical lift bridge began in 1950 and opened on July 17, 1954. Each pylon is 70 meters high, and the 525-ton lift span is 88 meters long. Wow!

The surrounding area is also home to a number of other tourist attractions, including the Brest Castle and the Oceanopolis aquarium.

12. Pont Saint-Bénézet (Pont d’Avignon)

Avignon, France

Pont d Avignon - Famous Bridges In France

This famous bridge, commonly known as Pont d’Avignon, is the remains of a stone bridge built around 1226. The bridge was built to replace the destroyed wooden bridge that connected the towns Avignon and Villeneyve-lès-Avignon.

It originally featured 22 arches, although only four arches remain today due to damage caused by strong river currents, floods, and wars. The bridge is also known as Pont Saint-Bénézet, after the shepherd boy who is said to have had a vision of building a bridge across the Rhône River. 

Today, only four of these beautiful arches and a gatehouse remain as a reminder of the past. Due to the collapse of the arches, the bridge stops in the middle of the river and does not reach the other side.

In 1995, the Pont d’Avignon was named a UNESCO world heritage site. The surrounding area is also home to other tourist attractions, including the Palace of the Popes and the Avignon Cathedral.

Fun fact: This bridge is the subject of a famous French children’s song, “Sur le Pont d’Avignon”, which tells the story of people dancing on the bridge!

13. Pont de Normandie

Le Havre, France

pont de normandie - Famous Bridges In France

Pont de Normandie is a famous cable-stayed bridge located in the northwestern region of France, near the city of Le Havre. The bridge spans the Seine River estuary and is known for its impressive size and unique design.

In 1959, another bridge (Pont de Tancarville) was built to ship goods, without going through Paris, from northern to southern France. But traffic was increasing so much that eventually in 1995, the Pont de Normandie was inaugurated.

It was the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world at the time, with a length of over 2.1 kilometers (1.3 miles). The bridge has 4 lanes for vehicles and 2 pathways alongside the road for bicycles and pedestrians.

While you’re here, don’t miss the city of Le Havre, which is known for its modernist architecture and its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

14. Orb Aqueduct

Béziers, France

Orb Aqueduct - Orb Canal Bridge - Famous Bridges In France

The Orb Canal Bridge is a bridge located in the southern region of France, near the city of Béziers. The bridge spans the Orb River and is known for its impressive design given all the challenges the architects faced trying to build it!

In 1854, it was proposed that a bridge be built to pass the Canal du Midi over the Orb River. And so the Orb Canal Bridge was inaugurated in 1857 and commissioned in 1958.

There were many challenges to building this aqueduct. One of these was to find a way for the canal to descend into the Orb from the slopes of Fonséranes. An almost 25m vertical drop stood between the slopes and the River Orb. This was achieved by building the Fonséranes scale, consisting of eight locks and nine basins.

The impressive Orb Aqueduct is 240 meters long, 28 meters wide, 12 meters high and has 7 elegant arches. It is one of France’s largest aqueducts and was listed as a historical monument on August 29, 1962!

France Travel Insurance

This is a no-brainer. When traveling internationally, be sure to get yourself some travel insurance.

I’ve heard of too many unfortunate experiences where friends and family have had baggage lost/stolen, hotels canceled, or have had unexpected medical emergencies while traveling where they’ve had to cut their trips short.

True story alert — in 2022, my partner even had his shoulder completely dislocated while surfing in Mexico, resulting in a $950 USD emergency room bill that we had to pay out of pocket for! Not fun… and most definitely not cheap.

Without travel insurance, you would have to pay out of pocket for these mishaps. This is why I get travel insurance for all my international trips now!

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Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

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