The Pont Alexandre III is considered as the most extravagant, grandiose, ornate bridge in Paris, built over the Seine River. It is not only one of the famous tourist attractions in Paris but also one of the most charming river-crossing bridges in the world. Also classified as a French Monument historique, the flamboyant deck arch bridge connects the Champs-Élysées with both the tomb of Napoleon at Invalides and the Eiffel Tower, present on the other side of the river.
The Pont Alexandre III Bridge is named after Tsar Alexander III, the concluder of the Franco-Russian Alliance in the year 1892. Designed by Joseph Cassien-Bernard (fr) and Gaston Cousin, the bridge was built by the engineers Jean Résal and Amédée d'Alby (fr). While the foundation stone of the bridge was laid in October 1896 by his son Nicholas II, the construction of the bridge took place between the years 1896 and 1900. It was inaugurated along with neighbours, the Grand Palais and Petit Palais at the Exposition Universelle, a World exhibition held in 1900.
The bridge is an architectural gem from the 19th century. It comprises of a 6 metre (20 feet) high single steel arch, which boasts of the blend of Beaux-Arts and Nouveau-Arts style, bringing alive the essence of that era. The bridge is decorated by animated Nouveau-Art lamps, fames, nymphs, cherubs, lions and winged Pegasus horses at either end of the bridge. On each of its base, sits an allegorical sculpture that represents France in different eras.
The Gilt-bronze Fames
There are four fames aka gilt-bronze statues, two at each edge, which offer stabilising counterweight to the bridge arc. While the fames on the Right Bank are Renommée des Sciences and the Renommée des Arts, those on the Left Bank comprise of Renommée du Commerce and Renommée de l'Industrie. They are supported by masonry socles 17 metres (56 feet) in height and bring the winged horse Pegasus to heel.
There are Nymph reliefs, present at the centres of the arches over the river, which form the memorials to the famous Franco-Russian Alliance. While the Nymphs of the Seine has a relief depicting the arms of France, the Nymphs of the Neva depicts the arms of Imperial Russia. Both the Nymphs are facing each other.
While reflecting the style of the Grand Palais, the bridge was smartly designed in a way that it doesn’t block the view of both Invalides and Champs-Élysées
The moive connection
Pont Alexandre III has been the favourite location of filmmakers and cinematographers as scenes of many films as well as music videos have been shoot on the bridge.
Romantic Spot and Wedding Photography
Bringing alive the exuberant era of the 19th century, Pont Alexandre III serves one of the bustling romantic spots. The bridge is also famous for Wedding photo shoots.