Pont de l'Alma
|Pont de l'Alma|
Pont de l'Alma, illuminated at night
|Official name||Pont de l'Alma|
|Next upstream||Pont des Invalides|
|Next downstream||Passerelle Debilly|
|Total length||153 m (502 ft)|
|Width||42 m (138 ft)|
Pont de l'Alma (Alma Bridge in English) is an arch bridge in Paris across the Seine. It was named to commemorate the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War, in which the Franco-British alliance achieved victory over the Russian army on 20 September 1854.
Construction took place between 1854 and 1856. It was inaugurated by Napoleon III on 2 April 1856. Each of the four 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.
Zouave statue and flooding
The bridge serves as a measuring instrument for water levels in times of flooding on the Seine: access to the footpaths by the river embankments usually is closed when the Seine's level reaches the feet of the Zouave; when the water hits his thighs, the river is unnavigable. During the great flood of the Seine in 1910, the level reached his shoulders. The French Civil Service uses the Pont de la Tournelle, not the Pont de l'Alma, to gauge flood levels.
The bridge underwent complete reconstruction 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
The bridge is very close to the Pont de l'Alma tunnel where Diana, Princess of Wales was involved in a fatal car crash along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul on 31 August 1997. The Flame of Liberty at the bridge's north end has become an unofficial memorial to Diana.
Pont de l'Alma has a length of 153 meters (502 ft) and a width of 42 meters (138 ft). It was designed by Paul-Martin Gallocher de Lagalisserie.
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