The Pont de Bir-Hakeim Bridge
Now classified as an historical monument in Paris, you will be able to discover this two tier road and railway bridge in Paris going over the River Seine by the Ile aux Cygnes island and enjoy the architectural details, its history and the statues.
About the Pont de Bir-Hakeim bridge in Paris
The Pont de Bir-Hakeim is a two tier bridge with the lower level consisting of two lateral roadways, which are separated by a central walkway of over 8 metres, yet there is also a path for pedestrians on either side of the road that are approximately 2 metres wide.
However, the upper level was designed as a railway viaduct to carry the Metro line 6, and this is supported by an elegant central arch with four allegorical figures on the Ile aux Cygnes island, along with many pillars and metal columns, which used to be more ornate than unfortunately what we can see today.
But where you can still see this stone arch, also known as an abutment, with the four sculptures in high relief of Science and Labour by Jules-Felix Coutan, and Electricity and Commerce by Jean Antoine Injalbert, there is also an equestrian statue in front of this on the island.
This particular statue was sculpted by the Danish artist Holger Wenderkinch in the 1930s and was originally meant to represent Joan of Arc, which was given as a gift to the city of Paris, yet this was not put in place until 1956 and only inaugurated two years later in the presence of the Ambassador of Denmark. However, it was decided that the original representation of this equestrian statue was not appropriate and it was named La France Renaissante instead.
And in addition to these points, you can also still discover the cast iron statue groups that were produced by the French sculptor Gustave Michel from when the bridge was constructed, which are aligned with the piers at the arch springs, and one these groups is known as the ironsmith riveters, whereas the other was designed to represent boatmen.
Yet when you look back at the history of Pont de Bir-Hakeim, you will discover that this bridge over the River Seine did not have this name originally, as it was first of all known as the Passy Viaduct. However, it was renamed in recognition of the Battle of Bir-Hakeim, which is where Free French forces went into battle against the enemy in 1942 and General Koenig had his victory.
And today there is now a plaque located on the bridge commemorating this victory, which translated from French to English that generally reads, To Bir-Hakeim from 27 May to 11 June 1942 the first brigade of the Free French Forces pushes the furious assaults of two enemy divisions and affirms to the world that France has never stop fighting.
Visiting the Pont de Bir-Hakeim Bridge
This bridge in Paris goes from the 15th Arrondissement on the left bank of the River Seine by the Quai de Grenelle, over to the Ile aux Cygnes, or Swan Island and then continues over to the 16th Arrondissement and the Quai Louis Bleriot.
The nearest Metro stations to the Pont de Bir-Hakein are called the Passy stop on one side and the Bir-Hakeim stop on the other, however if you are travelling on the RER then you would need the Champ de Mars - Tour Eiffel stop.
And you will be pleased to know that there are several other tourist attractions in Paris that are located close by, not including the River Seine of course, and even the Eiffel Tower itself is only approximately 15 minutes walk away.