Pont Alexandre III. Bridge in Paris, France

Pont Alexandre III

Bridge in Paris, France

Another picture of my favorite bridge Photo © Christian R. Hamacher

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Pont Alexandre III

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Pont Alexandre III - Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III - Pont Alexandre III. Photo by Jori Avlis
The Pont Alexandre III is often considered to be the most beautiful bridge across the River Seine (Wikipedia Article) in Paris. It is without question the most beautifully decorated bridge in the city. The bridge is a main thoroughfare and connects the Petit Palais, the Grand Palais and the Champs-Elysées with the Hôtel des Invalides, the final resting place of Napoléon Bonaparte. The Pont Alexandre III is named after a Tsar of Russia instead of a Frenchmen and was constructed because of diplomat reasons rather than for transportation purposes.

The bridge is filled with lavish decorations, such as ornate lampposts, sculptures of mythical creatures and four massive pillars with gilded statues, two on each end of the bridge.

History

Construction of the bridge begun at the end of the 19th century. It was built at the same time as the Petit Palais and Grand Palais to be part of the 1900 World Fair. The World Fair would take place on both sides of the River Seine and the new bridge would allow the millions of visitors to easily cross the river. The Pont Alexandre III was designed by the architects, Cassien-Bernard and Cousin, and built by the engineers, Alby and Résal; construction took nearly three years. The whole bridge was pre-made in a factory and then transported to the site in pieces and assembled with the aid of cranes. Made up of the 20-feet-high, single span, steel arch, the bridge is a true marvel of 19th-century engineering, as are many of the other World Fair buildings. Another famous example is, of course, the Eiffel Tower, which dates from the 1889 World Fair.

Pont Alexandre III - Pont Alexandre
	III
Pont Alexandre III - Pont Alexandre III. Photo by Sean O'Neill
The bridge was named after Russian Tsar Alexander III (Wikipedia
	Article) who had signed the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892 to counter the growing power of Germany. The person who laid the founding stone in 1896 was his son, Nicholas II. He also attended the official opening of the bridge in 1900.

One of the main requirements was that the bridge shouldn’t block the view of the Hôtel des Invalides and the Champs-Elysées. This is why the Pont Alexandre III is a very low bridge; it is only 6 meter above the river. The bridge is 40 meter wide and has a single long span of 108 meter.

Ornaments and Sculptures

The bridge is extravagantly decorated with sculptures, statues, ornaments, and monuments. The huge 56-feet masonry pillars that stand on each end of the bridge each have a spectacular, shining, bronze-gilded statue. The pillars provide a counterweight for the steel arch. Those four statues are called the Fames and each one has a specific name and stands for a period in the history of France. On the right side of the river stand the Fame of the Sciences and Fame of the Arts, with at their respective bases Contemporary France by Gustave Michel and France of Charlemagne by Alfred Lenoir. On the left side of the river stand the Fame of Industry and Fame of Commerce, with France of Louis XIV by Laurent Marqueste and France of the Renaissance at their bases.

At the center of the arches, across the River Seine, the Nymph Reliefs are a magnificent highlight of the bridge. They honor the French-Russian alliance and depict the River Seine in Paris and the River Neva (Wikipedia Article) in Russia.

The Pont Alexandre III also has a counterpart in St. Petersburg, where the Trinity Bridge serves the same political purpose. That bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel, famous for the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.

Pont Alexandre III
	at night - Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III at night - Pont Alexandre III. Photo by Christian R. Hamacher

Visiting the Pont Alexandre III

As the most beautiful bridge in Paris, the Pont Alexandre III is a must on any visit to the city. It conveniently connects two major quarters, the Eiffel Tower Quarter and the Champs-Elysées Quarter, as well as a few major landmark buildings, such as the Grand Palais and the Hôtel des Invalides. Going for a walk across the bridge and admiring the sculptures and ornaments is definitely a great activity. The views from the bridge are breathtaking and therefore, the Pont Alexandre III is often considered as one of the most romantic places in Paris.

How to Get There

Linking the Esplanade des Invalides, Avenue Winston Churchill and the Champs-Elysées, the Pont Alexandre III is easily reached on foot. The nearest subway stations are Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau and Invalides, respectively accessed on the M1 and M13 trains and the M8 and M13 trains. When traveling with the RER, line C stops right at the Invalides station.

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

Similar Landmarks

No less than 37 bridges cross the River Seine in Paris. Other notable ones are Pont de la Concorde, Pont Neuf; Ponts des Arts, and Pont des Invalides. Great bridges in other locations around the world are the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Tower Bridge and the Charles Bridge.

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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Jan 06, 2015

Pictures of Pont Alexandre III

Paris: Pont Alexandre III - La Renommée de la Guerre - Pont Alexandre III
Paris: Pont Alexandre III - La Renommée de la Guerre - Photo by Wally Gobetz

Statue, pont Alexandre III - Pont Alexandre III
Statue, pont Alexandre III - Photo by Hervé Laville

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