The present painting was executed after the engraving of the Vue du Pont Neuf by Jacques Callot. Callot came to Paris several times between 1628 and 1631; according to Felibien, the first occasion was when King Louis XIII commissioned him to draw the sieges of La Rochelle and l'Ile de Ré in 1628-1629. During his stay, the artist drew two famous views of the most famous and popular sites of the capital: Vue du Louvre and Vue du Pont Neuf, both of which he engraved after his return to Nancy, in circa 1632.
In the foreground are the Tour de Nesles and the Porte de Nesles, which were part of the fortifications built by Philippe Auguste. In the seventeenth century the tower was considered cursed. According to legend, the three daughters-in-law of King Philippe Le Bel used to slaughter their one-time lovers after meeting them in the Tour de Nesles. The tower was destroyed during the construction of the Collège des Quatre Nations in 1663.
Contrasting with these medieval monuments stands the newer Paris of the seventeenth century. The modernization of the Ile de la Cité, on which Jacques Callot resided, and the building of the Pont-Neuf, had been planned during the reign of Henri IV. The bridge, which was opened in 1604, soon became the favourite of Parisians, being the first one in Paris not to be crowded with houses. On the left, it was flanked by the Chateau d'Eau, housing the fountain of the Samaritaine. In the middle of the bridge, at the end of the Place Dauphine, stood the statue of King Henri IV, partly executed by Gianbologna. In the background, the artist has also depicted the Tour Saint Jacques and Notre-Dame.
The present painting was probably executed by one of the many Flemish artists living in Paris who specialized in topographical views and would have been part of a community that was protected by the abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.