Pont de l'Alma

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Coordinates: 48°51′48.68″N 02°18′06.58″E / 48.8635222°N 2.3018278°E / 48.8635222; 2.3018278

Pont de l'Alma
Paris pont alma.jpg
Pont de l'Alma, illuminated at night
Coordinates48°51′48.68″N 02°18′06.58″E / 48.8635222°N 2.3018278°E / 48.8635222; 2.3018278
CrossesSeine
LocaleParis, France
Official namePont de l'Alma
Next upstreamPont des Invalides
Next downstreamPasserelle Debilly
Characteristics
DesignGirder bridge
Total length153 m (502 ft)
Width42 m (138 ft)

Pont de l'Alma (English: Alma Bridge) is a road bridge in Paris, France across the Seine. It was named to commemorate the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War, in which the Ottoman-Franco-British alliance achieved victory over the Russian army, on 20 September 1854.

History[edit]

Construction[edit]

Construction of an arch bridge took place between 1854 and 1856. It was designed by Paul-Martin Gallocher de Lagalisserie and was inaugurated by Napoleon III on 2 April 1856. Each side of both of the two piers was decorated with a statue of military nature: a Zouave and a grenadier by Georges Diébolt, and a skirmisher and an artilleryman by Arnaud.

The Zouave statue and flooding[edit]

The Zouave statue
The Zouave statue, 3 June 2016

The general public took the original bridge as a measuring instrument for water levels in times of flooding on the Seine: access to the footpaths by the river embankments usually was closed when the Seine's level reached the feet of The Zouave; when the water hit his thighs, the river was unnavigable. During the great flood of the Seine in 1910, the level reached his shoulders.[1] The French Civil Service used the Pont de la Tournelle, not the Pont de l'Alma, to gauge flood levels, and since 1868 uses the Pont d'Austerlitz.

Reconstruction[edit]

The bridge underwent complete reconstruction as a girder bridge between 1970 and 1974, as it had been too narrow to accommodate the increasing traffic both on and below it; moreover, the structure had subsided some 80 centimeters. Only the statue of the Zouave was retained: the Skirmisher was relocated to the Gravelle Stronghold in Vincennes, the Grenadier to Dijon, and the Artilleryman to La Fère.

Death of Diana, Princess of Wales[edit]

Entrance to the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in April 1998, the site where Diana's car hit a Fiat and then the wall

The bridge is close to the Pont de l'Alma tunnel where Diana, Princess of Wales and four others were involved in a fatal car crash on 31 August 1997. They were being chased by paparazzi, and their chauffeur was driving under the influence of alcohol. [2][3] The Flame of Liberty (completed in 1987), at the bridge's north end has become an unofficial memorial to Diana.

Technical specifications[edit]

Pont de l'Alma has a length of 153 meters (502 ft) and a width of 42 meters (138 ft).

Access[edit]

Location on the Seine

The Metro station Alma - Marceau is near the north end of the bridge, RER station Pont de l'Alma near the south end.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Paris readies for floods as Seine surges higher" (video). BBC News. 27 January 2018.
  2. ^ Whitney, Craig R. (31 August 1997). "Diana Killed in a Car Accident in Paris". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
  3. ^ John King; John Beveridge (2001). Princess Diana: The Hidden Evidence. SP Books. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-56171-922-8. Retrieved 31 May 2013.

External links[edit]