We present an overview of recent progress in plasmonics. We focus our study on the observation and excitation of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) with optical near-field microscopy. We discuss in particular recent applications of photon scanning tunnelling microscope (PSTM) for imaging of SPP propagating in metal and dielectric wave guides. We show how near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) can be used to optically and actively address remotely nano-objects such as quantum dots. Additionally we compare results obtained with near-field microscopy to those obtained with other optical far-field methods of analysis such as leakage radiation microscopy (LRM).