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Pont Alexandre III in Paris

This is arguably Paris' prettiest bridge. A fabulous tourist attraction with many interesting and unique features. It took 3 years to design and build. Its location on the river Seine is one which gives splendid views in all directions. So much so, it has been used as a film location many times. It is worthy of a photograph as a memory of your holiday without doubt.

Picture of Pont Alexandre III and the river Seine

What to look for on the bridge

  • Four shining gilt-bronze pegasi statues soaring high above the Seine.
  • Rows of intricate lamps guarded by neo-Classical putti (infant boy / cherub).
  • The Nymphes de la Seine and the Nymphes de la Neva adorn the two pillars at the crossing's entrance. They are on the keystones in beaten copper. These give evidence of the French / Russian confederacy.
  • The two supporting pillars on the north bank contain representations of medieval and contemporary (i.e. 1900 Belle Epoque) France.
  • The south bank pillars feature carvings chronicling the country both during the Renaissance era and under the rule of Louis XIV.
  • Lampposts, each furnished fine globes of hand-blown glass
  • Allegorical statues span the Pont's 107.5 metre surface. Although many of the pieces look similar, each was sculpted by a different artist.
Picture of Alexandre III bridge Paris

Built for the World Fair

It was constructed along with the neighbouring Grand Palais and Petit Palais for the 1900 World Fair (Exposition Universelle). Both of these other buildings are similar in style. In practical terms, the bridge connects the Champs-Elysees quarter with Invalides and Eiffel Tower Quarter. These two quarters of Paris are most appealing and attraction-heavy. If you are a visitor touring Paris, this bridge is one not to be missed.

Design and construction

The bridge was designed and built in 3 years by engineers Resal and Alby. Tsar Nicholas II, the last Russian emperor, laid the foundation stone in October 1896. The structure was prefabricated in a nearby factory and lifted into place with a crane. The construction process was subject to strict parameters: as well as the time limit, its design was also not permitted to obscure the view of the Champs-Elysees or the Invalides.

Surrounded by Parisian monuments

The builders succeeded in their brief, and today the bridge offers spectacular views of the city. Look to the south and you'll see the dome of Les Invalides, the former army hospital that now houses Napoleon's tomb. Northeastward is the towering obelisk of the Place de la Concorde. Behind that, the Champs-Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. The famous Tuileries Gardens is close-by to the east, and the Eiffel Tower can be seen to the west.

A filmmakers dream location

This composite view, combined with the Pont's own beauty, has made the bridge a favourite location with filmmakers.

  • Anastasia 1956: Ingrid Bergman, playing the title role contemplated suicide on the bridge's steps. This was one of the melodrama's most famous scenes.
  • Moulin Rouge 1952: Scenes from John Huston's 1952 Toulouse-Lautrec biopic were shot here.
  • A View to a Kill 1984: Roger Moore as James Bond (perhaps his stunt double) made a spectacular leap from the bridge into a pleasure boat.
  • Ronin 1998: John Frankenheimer also included this location in his film.

Other history

The bridge was named after Tsar Alexander III of Russia. It was a result of the ratification of the Russian-French alliance.

In 1989 the figures atop the entrance columns were re-gilded and now look just as they did at the world's fair.