Included in the supplemental registry of historical monuments in 1975
Napoleon I originally had the idea of building a bridge along the axis from the Ecole Militaire. This bridge was to have been called the "Pont du Champ de Mars" or the "Pont de l'Ecole Militaire", but after winning the battle of Jena on 14th October 1806, the Emperor decided that it would bear the name of this victory, in a decree dated 1807 issued in Warsaw.
The project was first of all entrusted to Jacques Dillon, designer of the Pont des Arts and then, on his death, to Lamande, who had designed the Pont d'Austerlitz. It was originally to have consisted of cast iron arches but an imperial decree of 1808 decided on stonework, which was felt to be stronger and cheaper to maintain, even though the foundation work was already under way. Quite exceptionally for that period, the construction costs were borne entirely by the state. The structure comprises five arc of circle arches of 28 m and four intermediate piers. Work was slow, and although started in 1808, it was only completed in 1814. Its tympana are decorated with imperial eagles designed by François-Frédéric Lemot and sculpted by Jean-François Mouret.
After the empire fell in 1815, it was only saved from destruction by the energetic intervention of Louis XVII. The Prussians, led by Blücher, for whom the name Jena brought back bad memories, wanted to blow it up. Tradition has it that they renounced the idea once Louis XVII said that they would have to blow him up with it.
The bridge was nonetheless renamed the "Pont des Invalides" and the imperial eagles removed and replaced by the royal "L".
After the revolution of 1830, the bridge returned to its original name and, with the return of the Emperor's ashes, the idea of restoring the eagles took shape. This was to become reality in 1852, with the help of the chisel of Antoine-Louis Barye. In 1853, four sculptures were installed; on the right bank, a Gallic warrior by Antoine Préault and a Roman warrior by Louis Daumas and on the left bank, an Arab warrior by Jean-Jacques Feuchère and a Greek warrior by François Devault.
In the second half of the 19th century, the under-capacity of the bridge began to be felt, as its width was no more than 14 metres, including pavements. During the universal exhibitions so popular at the time, this inadequacy was temporarily remedied by means of temporary metal structures, which were removed once the events were over. But with the rising traffic due to the expansion of the Trocadéro, Auteuil and Passy districts, the need for a more permanent widening of the structure became increasingly urgent. A decree of 1914 ratifying the principle of widening the bridge to 40 metres remained still-born and it was only in 1937, with the prospect of the universal exposition due to take place that year, that the authorities finally decided to implement the project, all the more necessary as the bridge was beginning to show signs of wear. The widening programme, reduced to thirty-five metres, led to the construction of two concrete bridge elements placed on either side of the existing bridge and joined to it by metal girders.
Stone facing covers the concrete of the new tympana, on which Barye's eagles were placed. The statues were repositioned and as it now stands, the bridge is included in the supplementary register of historical monuments.
1808-1814. Widened in 1937
35m: 22 m roadway; two pavements of 6.50 m.
Stone bridge of five 28 m arc of circle arches.
Widened in 1937 from 19 m to 35 m by installing two bridge elements upstream and downstream, similar to the original bridge, but comprising reinforced concrete vaults.
Four sculpted stone equestrian groups decorate the entrances to the bridge. Imperial eagles on the arches above the piers.
Quai de New-York