Pont Alexandre III, Paris of course!

And why not a bridge, well not just any bridge but a bridge in Paris and over the Seine river. This is important news, monument to walk both ways for hours… I have written a post on bridges ,rather general overview, but back to the streets series nah, just reminder from a fellow poster. Why not do justice to the Alexander 3rd bridge of Paris and in honor of Russia.

Oh yes it is known as the Pont Alexandre III located in Paris, dept 75 of the Ïle de France region. Paris is a unique district where the city is the same name of the department, there are others elsewhere. Reminder Alexandre III was not really a friend of France even if spoked perfect French, just out of geopolitical convenience he was honored with the bridge. The Pont Alexandre III  was built during the Belle Époque opened just in time for the Universal Exposition of 1900. The bridge is decorated with lampposts and sculptures of cherubs and nymphs. Tall pillars on either side of the bridge are topped with large gilded statues, and connects the Invalides to the Grand and Petit Palais. Let me tell you a bit more on the Pont Alexandre III mostly from a historical architecural point of view i like even if make it brief.

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The Pont Alexandre-III bridge crosses the Seine river between the 7éme and 8éme arrondissement or districts of Paris. This site is served by the Invalides metro station lines 8 and 13 , and the Invalides RER C station. It is located between the Pont de la Concorde and the Pont des Invalides. It links the Esplanade des Invalides on the rive gauche or left bank at quai d’Orsay to Cours la Reine on the rive droite or right bank at Avenue Winston-Churchill, where the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais are located. This bridge is named after the Tsar of Russia Alexander III. Few Parisians know that the axis of the Alexander III bridge is slightly skewed compared to that of the Seine. Far from being an error on the part of the architect, this orientation of the bridge was intended to be in perfect continuity with the Esplanade des Invalides. The bridge thus participates in the Republican axis created under the Third Republic for the Universal Exhibition of 1900 for which it was built.

Inaugurated for the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900, the bridge was intended to symbolize Franco-Russian friendship, established by the signing of the alliance concluded in 1891 between Emperor Alexander III and the President of the French Republic Sadi Carnot . Dead in 1894, Alexander III will never see the bridge that bears his name today. It was his son, Tsar Nicolas II, who laid the foundation stone for this monumental work of art with the Empress and President Félix Faure (as President Carnot had been assassinated in 1894) on October 7, 1896.

During the decision to organize a Universal Exhibition of 1900, it was decided to destroy the Palace of Industry dating from the 1855 exhibition to replace it with two palaces, on either side of a track that would extend the Place des Invalides. Also, the Trinity Bridge or Troïtsky Bridge ,another bridge very similar to the Alexander III bridge, was built in 1903 on the Neva River in Saint Petersburg in Russia. In the spring of 1900, the Lumière brothers did not resist the urge to film the crowd of visitors to the Universal Exhibition, wandering from the Pont Alexandre III to the Esplanade des Invalides.

The bridge was made of cast steel. In order to resist the enormous horizontal thrust, it was equipped with very massive abutments. The foundations were dug under a pressurized box using the Triger process. It is a metal bridge 154 meters long and 45 meters wide composed of a single arch of 107 meters comprising three points of articulation, allowing to cross the Seine without an intermediate support point. Two stone tunnels of 22.50 meters each are located at its ends. Because of its large span for a low height, the Alexandre-III bridge exerts a significant lateral thrust. In order to avoid the spacing of the anchors, the banks were considerably reinforced by means of immense concrete masses, undoubtedly the most important foundations ever made. The monumental columns seem like matches in comparison: their foundations being independent of those of the bridge, their role is only decorative.

The Pont Alexandre III bridge is illuminated by 32 bronze candelabras which were made by the Lacarrière establishment, also known for the realization of the monumental chandelier of the Opéra Garnier!  The four renown’s at the top of the entrance pylons represent the right bank, upstream: La Renommée des arts, by Emmanuel Frémiet; right bank, downstream: La Renommée des sciences, by Emmanuel Frémiet; left bank, upstream: La Renommée au combat, by Pierre Granet; left bank, downstream: Pegasus held by the Renown of the War, by Léopold Steiner (due to his death in 1899, the group was completed by Eugène Gantzlin). The decorations at the base of the four pylons have as themes: right bank, upstream: France of the Middle Ages by Alfred-Charles Lenoir; left bank, upstream: France in the Renaissance by Jules Coutan; left bank, downstream: France under Louis XIV by Laurent Marqueste; right bank, downstream: Modern France by Gustave Michel. The authors of the groups of lions led by children to the bridge entrances are: left bank: Jules Dalou; right bank: Georges Gardet.

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The different bronze or copper groups spanning the bridge are: Les Amours supporting the four lampposts, by Henri Désiré Gauquié; Four geniuses with fish and shells, by Léopold Morice and André Massoulle; in the center upstream of Concorde: Nymphs of the Neva with the arms of Russia, by Georges Récipon; downstream center of Alma: Nymphs of the Seine with the arms of Paris, by Georges Récipon. The apron supported by the metal arch is decorated with a series of masks and garlands taking up the rhythm of the connecting posts.   The Pont Alexandre III bridge has changed color several times; it went from gray to green-brown then to pearl gray. It resumed its original colors during its only restoration in 1998. A medal by engraver Daniel-Dupuis commemorates the laying of the foundation stone of the bridge. It carries the allegorical figures of Peace, France and Russia as well as the Nymph of the Seine and views of the projected work. A copy is kept at the Carnavalet museum of Paris.

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Finally, the Pont Alexandre III has been seein in several films, my favorites are 1966: Does Paris burn? by René Clément; 1973: The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob by Gérard Oury; 1985: Dangerously yours by John Glen, with Roger Moore in the role of James Bond 1997: Anastasia by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, the bridge is the place of the final fight against Rasputin and 2011: Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen! In music my favorites are on British singer Adele shoots the clip for her ballad “Someone like you” .2011. The clip “It’s almost the end”, by Mozart, the rock opera was filmed on and around the bridge. The Diva Mariah Carey filmed a large part of her music video for the song “Say Something” in 2006, featuring Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg.

Tha Paris tourist office has a bit more on the Pont Alexandre III in English: Paris tourist office on the Pont Alexandre III

One of my glorious road warrior rides into Paris and taken many friends over it. Just wonderful views and easy parking at 45 Quai d’Orsay Tour Maubourg or Place de la Concorde for sublimes walks in beautiful Paris. Remember booking secure parking ahead you cut your costs in half ! Hope it helps. And do enjoy the pont Alexandre III whether is driving it, biking it or walking it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “Pont Alexandre III, Paris of course!”

  1. One of my favourite Parisian bridges!

    Liked by 1 person

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