In 1969, Kenneth Clark featured the following passage in his fundamental book “Civilisation”:
I am standing on the Pont des Arts in Paris. On the one side of the Seine is the harmonious, reasonable facade of the Institute of France, built as a college in about 1670. On the other bank is the Louvre, built continuously from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century: classical architecture at its most splendid and assured. Just visible upstream is the Cathedral of Notre Dame –not perhaps the most lovable of cathedrals, but the most rigorously intellectual façade in the whole of Gothic art. What is civilisation? I do not know. I can’t define it in abstract terms –yet. But I think I can recognise it when I see it: and I am looking at it now.
Today, some 40-something years later, the cult Pont des Arts bridge still preserves its fame of a multifaceted modern civilization hub honorably cited in movies, books and songs.
Other than being a uber-famous place for summertime picnics and noisy nights out, sometimes it happens to be an open-air arts scene, for the joy of casual passers-by.
Stop by the next time when you get the chance to experience the bridge’s picturesque serenades and see this island over the water get transformed into a vibrant ground where tunes, musicians and people come together to sing, dance and enjoy life in this magical ephemeral bubble over the river…