The newly constructed bridge over the Seine effortlessly links Mantes-la-Jolie with Limay. Nestled in the southern bends of the French Vexin’s river, it beautifully blends urban architecture with nature. Amidst hill shades and between the grand Notre-Dame collegiate church and the ancient city’s streets, this path meanders through two river branches, momentarily resting on Ile aux Dames’ green incline.
From the riverbank view, the first bridge, piggybacking on the existing Pont Neuf from the 18th century, is almost hidden. After the Second World War, this once-narrow bridge was rebuilt, connecting the Rue Royale to the northern parts of the town. However, due to ongoing vehicular congestion, it no longer suits pedestrians and cyclists. Hence, in 2012, a project focusing on sustainable mobility between the two towns was conceived, culminating in 2019 with the footbridge’s inauguration. This bridge now conveniently connects the historical heart of both towns, passing by landmarks like the Théâtre de Verdure, before reaching Limay via the Old Stone Bridge.
The design cleverly distances the new pathway from Pont Neuf. The footbridge appears to glide over the Seine, its steel arcs playfully changing form between the banks, creating distinct paths for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge offers an oasis of calm away from the bustling traffic below, with seating areas and panoramic river views to enjoy.
The structure’s spine, a central caisson with an evolving trapezoidal shape, holds T-shaped brackets. The Pont Neuf’s pillars support this bridge, ensuring minimal impact on the riverbed. This design brilliantly accommodates varying deck widths and heights for cyclists and pedestrians.
On the island, the deck gently widens, presenting a scenic balcony-like walkway showcasing the collegiate church. Once the Vieux Pont’s restoration is complete, the pathway will connect Ile aux Dames to Limay’s northeast. Following the stone arches famously painted by Corot in 1869, this historic bridge, partly destroyed in 1940, will be gracefully mended. Its minimalist steel, glass, and wood design will complement the old stone structure. The journey culminates near the Maison du Passeur, an erstwhile customs house.
Lead Architect: Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes
Engineers: Terrell SAS
Light Engineer: Coup d’Eclat