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Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III

The Pont Alexandre III (Alexander III Bridge) is Paris's most elegant bridge, ornamented with fine sculpture work, adding its own charm to an already beautiful site.It also owes its fame to the technical prowess that went into its construction. It is made of a single leaf arch that spans the Seine in a great curve, although it is lowered so as not to obstruct the view of the Champs-Elysées or les Invalides. Built in only two years by the engineers Résal and Alby, the first stone was placed by Tsar Nicholas II, although the structure was opened at the 1900 Universal Exhibition. Critics of the time explained the heterogeneous character of the "Exhibition Bridge" by the fact that there were as many artists as there were ornaments. Amongst the decoration are four 17 metre high corner pillars, bearing the four gilded bronze equestrian groups which represent Pegasus held by Fame.

On the right bank, the Renommée des Sciences (Fame of the Sciences) and the Renommée des Arts (Fame of the Arts) by E. Frémiet with, at their base, La France Contemporaine (Contemporary France) by G. Michel and the France de Charlemagne (Charlemagne's France) by A. Lenoir. On the Left Bank, the Renommée du Commerce (Fame of Business) by P. Granet and the Renommée de l'Industrie (Fame of Industry) by C. Steiner with, at their base, the France Rennaissante (Rebirth of France) by J. Coutan and La France de Louis XIV (Louis XIV's France) by L. Marqueste. The lions are by J. Dalou and de Gardet. The decoration is similar to A. Poulin's marine fauna.

The keystones are decorated with two compositions in beaten copper representing, upstream, the Nymphes de la Seine (the Seine Nymphs) bearing the arms of Paris, and, downstream, the Nymphes de la Néva (Nymphs of the Neva) bearing the arms of Russia by G. Récipon. On the bridge parapet, at the foot of the pillars, are four superb groups of water spirits with fish and seashells sculpted in beaten copper by L. Morice and A. Massoule, while the four monumental candelabra surrounded by cupids and sea monsters are by the sculptor, H. Gauquic. This bridge is as grand as it is elegant and is listed as a historical monument.

Inaugurated in 1900. 40 m wide. Slightly askew, it has a 107 m long metal arch with three joints, four girders in cast steel and two masonry viaducts on the banks.

Very large abutment foundations were needed because the arches had to be very low (1/17); they were built using compressed air caissons, the sides of which are parallel to the bridge's axis and 33.50 m long - with the other sides measuring 44 m.

The base of the caissons has been sunk to a depth of 18.75 m on the right bank, and 19.40 m on the left bank.


Quai d'Orsay
cours la Reine
75008 Paris

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mise à jour le : 18 décembre 2013
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