The location where the Pont de la Tournelle now lies has been the site for a number of structures built in close succession.
The first, a wooden bridge, was built during the Middle Ages. This bridge existed to connect the Eastern bank of the Seine (le quai Saint-Bernard) to l’île Saint-Louis. It was subsequently obliterated by a flood on 21 January 1651. A stone bridge was later erected in its place in 1658. It was demolished in 1918 and later replaced by the current bridge in 1928, after it suffered several natural disasters, especially the flood in 1910.
The Pont de la Tournelle was intentionally built lacking symmetry, in order to emphasize the shapeless landscape in the part of the Seine that it bestrides. Consisting of a grand central arch that links to both riverbanks via two smaller arches, one on each side, it’s decorated on the Eastern bank with a pylon built on the left pier’s cutwater, and a statue of St. Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris, resting on top of the pylon, designed by Polish-French monumental sculptor Paul Landowski.
The term « Tournelle » traces its origin to a square turret (tourelle in French) constructed at the end of the 12th Century on the fortress of Phillipe Auguste.