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PALACE BRIDGES

Pont des Arts

Pont du Carrousel

Pont Royal

Passerelle
Léopold-Sédar-Senghor

Pont de la Concorde

Pont Axelandre III

Pont des Invalides

Pont de l'Alma

Passerelle Debilly

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Pont des Arts

Current bridge opened in 1984

With the Louvre on the Right Bank and the École des Beaux-Arts on the Left, the bridge has been a hub for students from around the world ever since it was first built in 1804. Aspiring artists trek across the bridge with their easels, canvases, and paints to spend the afternoon copying masterpieces in the Louvre.

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Pont du Carrousel

Current bridge opened in 1939

Those who preferred the popular and cheaper suspension bridge style found the Pont du Carrousel’s arch design old-fashioned. However, the bridge’s architect, Antoine-Rémy Polonceau, knew that the towers and cables a suspension bridge required would interfere with the view of the Louvre, and stilled all controversy by financing the initial construction himself.

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Pont Royal

Current bridge opened in 1689

The Pont Royal is one of the oldest existing bridges in the city, along with the Pont Neuf and Pont Marie. A ferry had shuttled passengers across the river at this point since 1550. The first wooden bridge for pedestrians and equestrians was built in 1632 and named the Pont Barbier, after its builder, financial backer, and the owner of the adjacent lane. The bridge changed names frequently.

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Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor

Current bridge opened in 1999

The bridge was called the Pont Solférino until 2006, in honor of the French victory in the Battle of Solférino, Italy, in 1859. It was renamed Passerelle Leopold-Sédar- Senghor to honor the Senegalese statesman who became the first African to be elected to the Académie Française. A politician, poet, and cultural theorist, he was also first president of the former French colony of Senegal, from 1960 to 1980.

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Pont de la Concorde

Current bridge opened in 1932

The first bridge in this location, the Pont Louis XVI, was completed as the French Revolution began. Stones from the Bastille prison, whose destruction signaled the beginning of the revolution, were used in its construction. The tragic irony is that many Parisians crossed the Pont Louis XVI on Monday, January 21, 1793, to watch that king’s beheading.

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Pont Alexandre III

Current bridge opened in 1900

The single long, low arch of the Pont Alexandre III, with its Beaux Arts and Art Nouveau décor, exemplifies the Parisian Belle Époque (“Beautiful Era”) of 1871 to 1914. The second wave of the industrial revolution, following the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, brought affluence, prosperity, and even greater cultural influence to France in general, and Paris in particular.

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Pont des Invalids

Current bridge opened in 1855

Paris has hosted six Expositions Universelles (“World’s Fairs”). The first took place in 1855, along the Champs-Élysées and in the large adjacent grassy park leading down to the river, where the old, sagging Pont des Invalides stood. A new bridge was clearly needed, so in 1854 the current stone bridge was erected, using a new central pier as well as the two existing piers. Those attending the fair used the bridge as their gateway to the Left Bank.

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Pont de l'Alma

Current bridge opened in 1973

The Crimean War was the first conflict outside of Algeria in which the Zouaves, crack fighters of the Berber Zouaoua tribe from the North African mountains, fought as part of the French army. A statue of a Zouave stands prominently on the bridge. It served as a gauge to measure the river’s height during the great flood of 1910, when the waters reached up to the Zouave’s beard.

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Passerelle Debilly

Current bridge opened in 1906

Lovers can enjoy the Parisian sunset and the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower on this quiet, romantic footbridge. The Passerelle Debilly crosses the Seine just as the river begins a wide turn from the west to the south. The original bridge, called the Passerelle de l’Exposition Militaire, was built as a temporary and convenient crossing for the huge crowds attending the Exposition Universelle of 1900, all of whom wanted to see the Eiffel Tower.

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