Pont d’Alma bridge in Paris

The Pont d’Alma was first constructed during the reign of Napoleon III, however, it was completely reconstructed in the 1970s and only one original statue remains today on this bridge over the River Seine close to where Princess Diana lost her life while in Paris.

A bit of history

The first bridge over the River Seine to be called the Pont d’Alma was constructed between the years of 1854 through to 1856 during the reign of Napoleon III, and it was named this to commemorate his first victory during the Crimean War in the September of 1854.
Pont d’Alma Paris
The bridge at the time had three elipictical arches and four cutwater stone piers, which were each decorated with a statue, however, the bridge had to be reworked on its foundations due to it settling by over 30 centimetres.

Yet by the 1960s the bridge had been deemed too narrow for the amount of road traffic and river traffic, which meant a decision was made in the June of 1963 to replace the whole bridge.

The engineers chosen for the project were J F Cosne and Ch. Blan and the architects chosen for the new Pont d’Alma were A Arsac and M Dougnac.  However, work for the replacement bridge over the River Seine did not start until the May of 1970, and it was decided that there would only be one single pier to make river navigation easier for the many different boats.

In addition to this, the foundations were to be taken down a depth of 40 metres in order to avoid the problems of the settling, which had reached an incredible 80 centimetres by 1960, and eventually the new Pont d’Alma was finished in 1974.

About the Pont d’Alma bridge in Paris

You will discover that the Pont d’Alma bridge has long sweeping curves either side of the single pier that has one solidarity statue called the Zouave, which was sculpted by Georges Diebolt when the original bridge in Paris was constructed.

And it is this statue that is used as a measuring instrument in times when the River Seine is flooding, by using this famous statue in Paris as a guide when the water rises, like when the water reaches its feet, and so on, with the worst time being in 1910 when it reached the figures shoulders.  However the French civil service actually use the Pont de la Tournelle as the official guide to flood levels on the river.

Now we did mention that there were originally four statues on the Pont d’Alma bridge, however, the other three were taken to different locations in France, and it is only the statue called Zouave, which remains today.
Western facade of Pont d’Alma
Eastern facade of Pont d’Alma
But the Pont d’Alma bridge over the River Seine is probably most recognised because of its name and the tragedy that occurred in the nearby tunnel back in 1997, when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash.

And today, at the north end of the bridge, there is a statue called the Flamme de la Liberte, or Flame of Liberty, which has become an unofficial memorial to Diana where wreaths and flowers are still placed at the base today.

Visiting Pont d’Alma

You will find that the Pont d’Alma bridge goes over the River Seine from the 7th Arrondissement in between the Quai Branly and the Quai d’Orsay to the 8th Arrondissement in between the Cour Albert 1er and the Quai de New-York.
Statue on Pont d’Alma
And as well as the Liberty Flame, other tourist attractions located nearby include the famous Bateaux Mouches Cruises on the River Seine and the Musee des Egouts or a little further and you could reach the Palais de Tokyo, the Musee Guimet, the Musee Quai Branly or the Crazy Horse cabaret venue.

By utilising the public transport in Paris, the nearest Metro station is called the Alma - Marceau stop via line 9, which is near the north end of the bridge, however if you are utilising the RER trains, then you would need the Pont d’Alma stop via line C, which is on the opposite side of the bank.