JUL 15,2019 - JUL 15,2019 (1 DAYS)
Along the Seine - From Pont de Bercy to Pont de Bir-Hakeim:
Main Attractions: Playtime restaurant-boat, Wanderlust, City of, Fashion and Design, Pont Charles-de-Gaulle, Viaduc d'Austerlitz and Pont d'Austerlitz, Jardin Tino Rossi, Pont de la Tournelle, Pont de l'Archevêché, Pont au Double, Pont Neuf, Pont des Arts, Pont du Carrousel, Pont Royal, Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, Pont de la Concorde, Pont Alexandre III, Pont des Invalides, Esplanade Habib Bourgiva, Pont de l'Alma, Passerelle Debilly, Pont d'Iéna, Port de Grenelle, Pont de Bir-Hakeim, Monument de la Place des Martyrs Juifs du Vélodrome d'Hiver.
Start: Quai de la Gare Metro Station (Line 6). End: Charles Michels Metro Station (Line 10) or Bir-Hakeim station. Duration: 1 day. Distance: 8 km. Weather: Nice weather only. Orientation: Tip:
Our Itinerary: From the Quai de la Gare Metro station we head northeast on Boulevard Vincent Auriol toward Quai d'Austerlitz, 65 m. We turn left onto Quai d'Austerlitz, 80 m. Turn right to stay on Quai d'Austerlitz, 150 m. Turn left to stay on , 100 m. Tthe docks east of the city, between the Pont (bridge) d'Austerlitz and the bridge of Tolbiac especially, are becoming more touristic and drawing the attention of visitors as rallying points of Paris. The wharf is named because of the vicinity of the Austerlitz bridge. It was called "Quai de l'Hôpital from its construction in the early eighteenth century because of the proximity of the Boulevard de l'Hôpital and Salpêtrière. In 1832 , it changed its name because of the construction of the Austerlitz bridge. We arrived to the restaurant-boat Le Playtime, 34 Quai d'Austerlitz. There are very few boats on the Seine that serve food. Playtime is one of them - serving food and having an heated-water swimming pool. Moored at Quai d'Austerlit - where you’ll also find the French Fashion Institute, the Art Ludik Museum, the Wanderlust nightclub and other happening establishments. The boat is medium-sized with several spaces – the restaurant with two areas and tables down each side, a terrace on the roof and the aforementioned swimming pool at the back (open between lunch and dinner).
From Playtime, further north-west along the Seine, you see, on your right the: Wanderlust, Cité de la Mode et du Design and NUBA Paris. The Wanderlust, 32 Quai d'Austerlitz and its huge terrace have become one of the most important places in the Parisian nightlife world. A bar, restaurant, club and art space, Wanderlust is situated at the Cité de la Mode et du Design, along the Seine is, actually, open only during the spring, summer and autumn seasons. It is made up of several different spaces: the WE restaurant, a 1,600 m² terrace with a variety of activities such as yoga classes, art classes for children and adults, outdoor cinema screenings, DJ sets, and temporary pop-up installations. At night, the 400 m² club is popular with fans of electro music. On Sundays, the terrace transforms into the Brunch Bazar or into Wanderlust Village, with a variety of attractions such as artists' market stalls and brunch. An oasis for party-owls and hedonists:
Opened in spring 2012, the Docks, City of Fashion and Design has significantly boosted the dynamism of the neighborhood. The site is immediately recognizable by the ultra-contemporary, bright green structure on its exterior. With the largest rooftop in Paris, the Cité offers a unique view of the Seine and of Paris. It houses spaces dedicated to cutting-edge fashion and design. Wooden walkways connect the various levels, where you will find a restaurant and various bars and clubs. Enjoy stunning views from the panoramic terrace:
You could also taste excellent vegetarian burgers at MOB, 32 Quai d'Austerlitz - but, at the moment it is closed. During the dark hours - you can party until the end of the night in Le Nüba (a few steps further north-west from the City of Fashion and Design. Another notable club of the district, the Djoon, was adjacent to the Quai de la Gare Metro station (our start point). More than ten years ago already to settle in this corner of Paris, far from the districts where the clubbers have their habits. Successful result since in its false airs of New York loft, the Djoon has hosted all the cream of the New York house at epic parties. We continue walking north-west and pass the Pont Charles de Gaulle on our right. The Pont Charles-de-Gaulle (Charles-de-Gaulle Bridge) is a steel-reinforced concrete one-way bridge carrying road traffic from the 13th arrondissement to the 12th arrondissement. Another one-way bridge further downstream, Pont d'Austerlitz, carries traffic in the opposite direction. In 1986, the Council of Paris (Conseil de Paris) decided to construct a new bridge between the Pont de Bercy and the Pont d'Austerlitz in southeast Paris, to imitate the design of the Pont d'Austerlitz. The aims of this project were three in number: (1) to ease the traffic on the Pont d'Austerlitz, the most heavily trafficked bridge in the capital; (2) to connect the new Bibliothèque nationale de France (also known as the François Mitterrand Library) to the district of Bercy on the Right Bank of the Seine; and (3) to establish a direct link between the Gare de Lyon and the Gare d'Austerlitz. 450 walk further north-west will bring us to the Viaduc d'Austerlitz and Pont d'Austerlitz. Viaduc d'Austerlitz (Austerlitz Viaduct) is a single-deck, steel arch, rail bridge that crosses the Seine and solely dedicated to Line 5 of the Paris Métro. It links Gare d'Austerlitz on the left bank to Quai de la Rapée on the other side of the river. The construction of the viaduct began in 1903 and was completed by the following year. Both owe their names to the battle of Austerlitz (1805). The bridge links the 12th arrondissement at the rue Ledru-Rollin, to the 5th and 13th arrondissements, at the Jardin des Plantes. The construction of the bridge came from a necessity to link the Faubourg Saint-Antoine on the right bank to the Jardin des Plantes on the left bank. At the beginning of the 19th century the first bridge was constructed. In 1801, the engineer Becquey de Beaupré proposed a five-arched bridge. In 1854, the bridge was judged dangerous and the width was increased to 18 meters and finally to 30 meters.
From Pont and Viaduct d'Austerlitz we continue north-west and arrive to sights already browsed in a former blog ("From Place de la Contrescarpe to Luxembourg Gardens"). We head to Quai Saint-Bernard. Walk further, in the same direction, for 500 m. and arrive to t onto Tino-Rossi Garden, 2 Quai Saint-Bernard.
A boat on the Seine - opposite Quai Saint Bernard:
We continue walking further north-west along the Seine, we pass Pont de Sully and after 700 m. we arrive to Pont de la Tournelle. A first wooden bridge, built in the 14th century, connected the Left Bank to the Ile Notre-Dame. The terrible floods of 1651 swept away most of that wooden bridge. A bridge in stone was built in 1656, by Christophe Marie, the developer of the Ile St-Louis, on the site of a wooden bridge that had been demolished in 1918 with a view to improving the flow of the high water in the Seine. The present bridge is 24 m. wide and built in 1928 by the engineers Deval, Lang and Retraint. The support of the central arch comprises of 3 arches in reinforced concrete with a 7-metre pole. The bridge is adorned with the giant statue of Sainte-Geneviève, patron saint of Paris. The Pont de la Tournelle links the Ile St-Louis to the Quai de la Tournelle on the Rive Gauche. The Rue des Deux Ponts links the Pont de la Tournelle and Pont Marie, its counterpart on the north bank of the island. The bridge is 120 m long by 23 m wide; two small lateral arches flank a large and low central arch. Stone blocks conceal the reinforced concrete structure. One of Philippe Auguste’s Wall watch towers left its name to the bridge. This square tower or Tourelle became eventually known as Tournelle.
With Pont de la Tournelle - we can see the Notre-Dame Cathedral and Ille St. Louis:
It is 300 m. walk to the next bridge - Pont de l'Archevêché - still, with our face to the north-west along the Seine. Pont de l'Archevêché brings us very close to the Cathedral Notre-Dame. Welcome to the bridge of loving couples! The Pont de l'Archevêché, one of the narrowest bridges in Paris, is the spot for couples who want to immortalize their love. The Pont de l’Archevêché, reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, is also a pleasant place to walk, linking the Ile de la Cité to the 5th arrondissement.
The next bridge, still, with our face to the north-west is Pont au Double. It is 250 m. walk from Pont de l’Archevêché. In the 17th century, The Pont au Double bridge linked two sections of the "Hôtel Dieu" hospital. The Pont au Double connects the Parvis Notre-Dame (cathedral square) (closed after the fire) on the Ile de la Cité to the Quai de Montebello on the left bank. Its name derives from the toll levied by the hospital, consisting of one "double tournoi", a particular doubloon minted in Tours until the 13th century. The present bridge was built in 1885. The single-arch metal Pont au Double is 45m long by 20m wide. It is the BEST bridge to have a prime view over the Notre-Dame Cathedral. This elegant bridge is only for use by pedestrians and cyclists, enables breathtaking view of the Notre-Dame and provides magnificent photo-ops.
Pont au Double leading to Île de la Cité and the Notredame (north end of the bridge):
From Pont de l'Archevêché we walk approx. 1 km. to the POnt Neuf. We shall pass two other bridges on our way: the Petit Pont and Pont Saint-Michel. Our first 75 m. are along Quai de la Tournelle. Our next 300 m. are along Quai de Montebello. The Quai de Montebello extends between the Petit Pont and the Pont de l’Archevêché. It offers an unrestricted view of Notre-Dame Cathedral and its magnificent chevet. There are a number of restaurants along the quayside closest to the Latin Quarter - BUT most of them are tourist traps. Every year in mid-September, travelling markets from the South-West set up here for 3 days of musical and gastronomical celebrations. The next 200 m. are along Quai Saint-Michel and the last 470 m. are along the Quai des Grands Augustins. Pont Neuf separates between the Quai des Grands Augustins and the Quai de Conti (further north-west). Despite its name the Pont-Neuf (literally New Bridge) it is considered to be the oldest stone bridge in Paris. It crosses the western edge of the Île de la Cité. The bridge connects the Musée du Louvre, Rue de Rivoli and the Tour Saint-Jacques on the Right Bank with the Rue Dauphine, the Monnaie de Paris and Saint-Germain-des-Prés on the Left Bank via the Ile de la Cité. Pont-Neuf is a stone bridge built in different stages between 1578 and 1607. The construction of a new bridge was decided in 1577 by king Henri III who laid the first stone on the 31st May 1578 in the presence of Mother Queen Catherine of Medicis and the Queen Louise of Lorraine. The construction ended in 1607 during the reign of Henri IV. The delay was due to the rebellion of the people of Paris against the king (1588-1598). In 1599, king Henry IV resumed the work and commissioned its completion to Guillaume Marchant and François Petit who modified the initial plan. Instead of supporting houses like any other bridges in Paris, the new bridge was the first to be ‘houses-free’. As the construction of the bridge touched to an end in 1606, the king decided to open a square between the Palais de la Cité and the western point where the bridge crosses the Île de la Cité. Today the royal square – one of the first in Paris with Place des Vosges in the Marais is called Place Dauphine. The bridge is 238 long and its width 20.50 m (including a causeway of 11.50m and two pavements of 4.50m each). The design is fairly unique in that it's composed of two distinctive and separate branches: five ornate arches link the Ile de la Cité to the left bank of the Seine (rive gauche), while a further seven connect the natural island to the right bank (rive droite). Note the sculptures or ‘mascarons’ (grotesque faces), by Germain Pilon, decorating the cornices and the equestrian statue of Henri IV, the first to be placed on a public thoroughfare. These are replicas of Renaissance-era originals, and have been attributed to the French sculptor Germain Pilon. The originals remained on the bridge until 1854, and are meant to represent mythical divinities from ancient Greek and Roman mythology, as well as forest sprites and satyrs. The Pont Neuf offers ideal vantages over both the left and right bank of the Seine, as well as the Ile de la Cité — the "island" that separates the two banks. From here, admire views of sights and attractions including the Louvre and Tuileries, Eiffel Tower and Institut de France, as well as the equally lovely, pedestrian-only Pont des Arts in the distance. Also admire the Belle-Epoque facade of La Samaritaine to the north: while the beloved former department store recently closed following a fire and financial troubles, it remains an iconic monument. Plus, it's slated to re-open in the coming years as both a store and hotel:
There is a beautiful little island crossed by the bridge which the riverboat tours now use as a docking station. In the spring or summer it's a wonderful place to hang out on a bench under the willow trees, or sunbathe on the slanted stone embankments near the tended gardens in its center. To get there, simply make your way toward the equestrian statue of Henri V and find the steps leading down toward the docks. If you are the kind of person who likes watching boats this is a great spot. Actually it is one of the nicest places to hang out in all of Paris.
There are numerous decorative elements to take note of, including the regal equestrian statue of Henri IV at the point where the bridge crosses the Ile de la Cité. This is actually a replica created in 1818: the original was destroyed in 1792 during the French Revolution. Pont Neuf - Statue équestre d'Henri IV:
Quai de Conti - opposite southern side of Pont Neauf:
We walk 350 m. further north-west from the Pont Neuf to the Pont des Arts along the southern bank of the Seiene. In the middle of this section, on our left, we see the Monnais de Paris (Paris Mint) and we arrive to the Pont des Arts, on our left, is the impressive Institut de France.
The Pont Des Arts differs from many other bridges in Paris in that it is constructed of metal and is entirely pedestrian. With one of the most stunning views in all of Paris this is a top hang-out and pick-me-up zone in good weather. People bring wine and picnics, others bring guitars and the atmosphere is almost always festive. Starting in 2008, romantic couples, mostly if not all tourists, began attaching padlocks with their names to the bridge and throwing the key into the Seine as a gesture of their commitment to each other. At its peak there were more than a million locks and city officials began to be concerned that the weight might be damaging the structure of the bridge. In 2014 part of the parapet actually collapsed and the authorities began a social media campaign called Love without Locks, encouraging tourists to take selfies instead. They removed the locks which weighed around 45 tons and began to replace the railings with panels that you could not hang a lock on. The Pont des Arts is a relative newcomer to the Parisian landscape. Emperor Napoleon I commissioned a metallic pedestrian bridge in around 1802. Consisting of nine arched structures, it would be Paris' first of its kind made of metal — a preview, perhaps, of the modern city to come. It was initially meant to resemble a suspended garden, lined with greenery, flowers and equipped with benches for passersby to enjoy. Initially, pedestrians had to pay a small fee to cross or sit on it. These days, of course, it's free to visit. Following World War I and II, the bridge suffered structural damage from aerial bombing and boat accidents. After engineers deemed it unsafe in the late 1970s, it was closed to the public for a number of years. The city decided to reconstruct it, reopening the Pont in 1984. The new bridge is nearly identical to the Emperor Napoleon's, but only features seven arches instead of the original nine. Since then, it's become one of the city's most popular spots for picnics, romantic views, and even art exhibitions: numerous painters and photographers chose to set up on the Pont to work on new landscapes and showcase their work. The bridge became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991, along with the rest of the banks of the Seine from the Ile Saint Louis to the Eiffel Tower:
We continue walking for (again) 350 m. north-west and arriving to the Pont du Carrousel. This bridge is referred, sometimes, to as the Pont du Louvre. It was originally named the Pont des Saint-Peres. The present bridge was constructed between 1935 and 1939 directly in line with the entrance to the Musee du Louvre where the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel stands. It was moved a few metres along with its four large statues, so as to make it in line with The Louvre Museum. It is now 33 metres in width and has three arches with the outer two being 36 metres and the middle arch being 42 metres, but is also higher than the previous one, so as navigating the river from both of these aspects was made easier. The Pont du Carrousel has also dressed with quarried stone to make it look in keeping with its surroundings, especially with its location by the historical former palace. There are the four stone statues, which were designed by Louis Petitot as allegorical statues, depicting Industry, Abundance, The City of Paris and The River Seine, which originate from the original bridge back in 1847, although the bases they sit on are more recent.
View from Pont du Carrousel to Pont Royal:
To arrive to the next bridge - Pont Royal - we walk 210 m. along the Seine, along Quai Voltaire, with our face to the west. From the beginning of the 17th century, several efforts were made to link the Louvre and boulevard Saint-Germain by a pedestrian bridge, to the right of the rue du Bac, in order to replace the paid ferry that was named after this road. After several attempts at constructing bridges, finally destroyed by high water levels in the Seine, the construction of a new bridge of Pont Royal was ordered by Louis XIV. Jules Hardouin was instructed to build a bridge in stone. The five-arch bridge was built between 1685 and 1689 using the best materials and finest stone. Since its construction, it has only been slightly modified. It is a listed historical monument.
Pont Royal + Louvre Museum + Carrousel du Louvre:
Further west, we walk along Quai Anatole France 450 m. - heading to Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor. Musée d'Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur is on our left.
View from Pont Royal to Musée d'Orsay:
Musée d'Orsay (clock of past Railway Station):
Entrance to the Musée d'Orsay:
Between Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor and Pont Royal - the Southern Bank:
Formerly the Passerelle Solferino or the Pont Solferino, this is a pedestrian bridge constructed between 1997 and 1999, then renamed in 2006 in memory of Leopold Sedar Senghor, who was a writer, politician and served as the first president of Senegal for two decades. At the location of the current bridge, there was originally a cast iron bridge constructed which was then inaugurated by Napoleon III back in 1861, and this was named after the French victory in 1859 at the Battle of Solferino, and hence the name became the Pont Solferino. In 1961 this bridge had been deemed unsafe, so this original bridge was demolished and replaced with a new steel pedestrian bridge, and then became known as the Passerelle Solferino. During the 1990s there was a Grand Louvre project to improve the area and provide better facilities for tourists visiting Paris, and a part of this project was to have a new bridge constructed over the River Seine, as the Passerelle Solferino was demolished in 1992. This bridge, which links the Orsay Museum with the Tuileries Gardens, was constructed in steel by the Eiffel company that was founded by Gustave Eiffel who designed and constructed the most famous landmark in Paris of the Eiffel Tower. After being completed in 1999, it was inaugurated on Wednesday, 15th December in the same year in the presence of dignitaries and politicians including the Minister of Culture and Communication and the Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Housing. In 2006 the Passerelle Solferino had a change of name to that of Passerelle Leopold Sedar Senghor in memory of a Senegalese writer, poet and politician, who was also the first president of Senegal for two decades. He was also the first African to be elected a member of the Academie Francaise. You will find when looking at the Passerelle Leopold Sedar Senghor, that it is a contemporary designed footbridge, which goes from one bank to the other in a span of 106 metres, yet does not touch the River Seine at all. This footbridge also utilizes exotic woods like that from a Brazilian tree for its decking, which is also used on outside flooring at the Bibliotheque National de France library, so it provides a warm feel as you walk across.
Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor - the Southern Bank:
Move to Tip 2 below.
Along the Seine - From Pont de Bercy to Pont de Bir-Hakeim (cont.):
We continue walking 450 m. along Quai Anatole France to Pont de la Concorde. Pont de la Concorde is a stone-arch bridge crossing the Seine River at the Place de la Concorde. The masterpiece of Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, conceived in 1772, the bridge was not begun until 1787 because conservative officials found the design too daring. Perronet personally supervised construction despite his advanced age; he was 82 when the work was completed in 1791. The current bridge of the Concorde (completed in 1791) was built with stones from the demolition of the Bastille. However, it does however resume a program launched a little earlier. Linked to the neighboring square, it takes its new name, the Concorde, in 1795 when the new government, the Directory , seeks to appease the clashes of the Terror and the executions that were so numerous there. It was Napoleon who wished to place on this bridge, eight generals dead on the field of honor. Indeed, these installations are part of the imperial plan to display in the city its military grandeur. This was one of the reasons why they also were removed at the Restoration. From 1816 Louis XVIII ordered 12 new statues to highlight the great men of the old regime: 4 ministers : Colbert, Richelieu, Suger and Sully, 4 soldiers : Bayard, Grand Condé, Guesclin and Turenne, 4 sailors : Duguay Trouain, Duquesne, Suffren and Tourville. Several symbols are then highlighted: a long history of the regime (with characters from the Middle Ages) while retaining the great military value (to try to counter the Napoleonic epic) with the soldiers of the army and the sea army. At that time, the bridge was then called the Louis XVI bridge. Finally, Louis Philippe had them moved to the Versailles Court of Honor . At the heart of the seat of the absolute monarchy, which is really over after the revolution of 1830! It was explained that these statues were too heavy for this bridge and that it was too dangerous to leave them. This allowed them to be removed from the view of Parisians, while not completely denying the symbol of ancient times. These statues were scattered in 1914 in many French cities. Finally, in 1830, it took the name of Pont de la Concorde, which still exists today. Today, this bridge offers the most beautiful view of Parisian buildings such as the Bourbon Palace. The Pont de la Concorde, one of Paris' iconic bridges, is located right next to the Tuileries Garden and the Orangery. If you cross this bridge, on the other side of the Seine, you will find yourself in front of the incredible Palais Bourbon. This building was built in 1722 as a country house, and it was surrounded by gardens. During the French Revolution, it was nationalized and Napoleon I decided in 1806 to add the classical colonnade. Today, this beautiful place is the seat of the French National Assembly (L'Assemblée Nationale).
Now we continue 450 m. along Quai d'Orsay with our face to the WEST - and arrive to the Pont Alexandre III. Inaugurated for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, the Pont Alexandre III is one of the most famous and wonderful Parisian bridges. It is a real architectural and engineering gem, listed as a French historical monument in 1975 but also the "Heritage of the 20th century", which is an official French label created in 1999 by the Ministry of Culture to award outstanding architectural projects from the 20th century. And last, but not least, the panoramic view from the Pont Alexandre III over the most famous Parisian monuments is just magnificent. It was built in order to symbolize the Franco-Russian friendship established by the signed alliance in 1891 between Tsar Alexandre III (1845-1894) and the French President. But, Alexandre III died in 1894, so his son, Tsar Nicholas II, laid the foundation stone in 1896. The engineers Jean Résal and Amédée Alby and architects Cassien-Bernard and Gaston Couisin had a very delicate work to accomplish. They received a lot of demanding instructions. For example, the bridge should be as low as possible, not to hide the horizon, but, at the same time, has to be high enough not to obstruct the boat traffic. Finally, a 45-meter wide and 107-meters long bridge, named after Tsar Alexandre III, was inaugurated for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Decorated with 22 sculptures and many allegorical elements, this bridge is probably one of the most majestic bridges in Paris. Every side of the Pont Alexandre III is decorated with impressive 17-meters high monumental pylons. At the summit of every pylon is a gilt-bronze statue representing the Fame of Arts, Sciences, Commerce and Industry. No wonder this most beautiful Parisian bridge was used as a set in many movies and music clips. The bridge is widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in the city. It connects the Champs-Élysées quarter with those of the Invalides and Eiffel Tower.
Our next bridge is the Pont des Invalides. We arrive to this bridge after walking 210 further west along the southern bank of the Seine. In 1821, Claude-Louis Navier, a French engineer and physicist, designed a technologically revolutionary bridge. The construction of this suspension bridge started in 1824, on the site of the current Pont Alexandre III. Unfortunately, the project had so many failures that it was finally abandoned and the bridge was demolished even before it was inaugurated. After the complaints of some Parisians, considering that this new bridge would ruin the perspective of the Hotel des Invalides, one of the most famous Parisian monuments, the construction site of the Pont des Invalides was moved downstream.It can be a bit confusing, but the Pont des Invalides is a bridge that is actually not situated in the axis of the Hotel des Invalides, a famous Parisian monument. Two French engineers, Marie Fortuné de Vergès and Bayard de Vingtrie, constructed the new bridge in 1829. But, even this project was a pure failure, and again, in 1854, the bridge was demolished. The history of this bridge is full of the most incredibly unfortunate moments... The Pont des Invalides was finally rebuilt for the Universal Exhibition in 1855, by French engineers Paul-Martin Gallocher de Lagalisserie, Paul Vaudrey, and Jules Savarin. Unfortunately, even though this new project was more than perfect, two arches of this bridge collapsed in 1880. Today, despite all the past misfortunes, the Pont des Invalides is a great and stable bridge. The Pont des Invalides is decorated with two statues. The French sculptor Victor Vilain created the "La Victoire Terrestre" (the Land Victory), on the upstream side, and Georges Diebolt sculpted "La Victoire Maritime" (the Maritime Victory), which can be seen on the downstream side of the bridge. Georges Diebolt is a French sculptor that also created the Zouave, a sculpture which is decorating the Pont de l’Alma, since 1856. The Zouave, representing a French soldier wearing the traditional uniform worn in North Africa in the early 1800s, is also an unofficial measuring instrument for water levels of the River Seine. The Pont des Invalides, one of the iconic bridges in Paris, is surrounded by many impressive buildings and monuments. On the left bank of the Seine, you can find the Hôtel des Invalides. Built in 1670, to shelter the army veterans, this famous French monument is today a place that houses a hospital for soldiers, the French Army Military Museum, the Museum of Contemporary History, the Saint-Louis des Invalides Cathedral, a military necropolis, and the Napoleon's I grave. On the other side of the river, there is the Grand Palais, another exhibition hall and a museum complex.
View of Pont Alexander III from Pont des Invalides:
Le Messager of Osiph Zadkine (1896-1963) near the Pont des Invalides:
From this sculpture - you walk on a newly reconstructed section of the Seine quays: Esplanade Habib Bourgiva - between the bridges of Invalides and Alma. it's pretty and there are different monuments to see. Practical because the trees are on the street side and the view is clear in front of the Seine. It's a quiet place, there's greenery and it's nice to walk around.
The distance of walk to the next bridge - Pont de l'Alma is 650 m. with our face, still, to the west. Before we arrive to the Pont de l'Alma we see the Musée des Égouts (Sewers Museum) on our left. Pont de l'Alma 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. 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 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.
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. 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.
Pont de l'Alma - The Zouave statue:
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. The Flame of Liberty (completed in 1987), at the bridge's north end has become an unofficial memorial to Diana.
The northern end of Pont d'Alma - The Flame of Liberty, which was offered to the people of France by donors throughout the world as a symbol of the Franco-American friendship:
The next footbridge is Passerelle Debilly. We walk 350 m. with our face to the south-west. This footbridge that links the 16th arrondissement to the 7th is for pedestrians only. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the Passerelle Debilly is made of a large metallic framework decorated with dark green ceramic tiles that give an impression of waves. When plans were being put in place for the 1900 World Fair in Paris, it was decided that a temporary bridge needed to be erected in order to accommodate people wishing to go from one part of the exhibition on the left bank of the River Seine over to other exhibits on the right bank. So it was decided that a metal pedestrian bridge would be erected and demolished a few years later, just like the Eiffel Tower was supposed to have been demolished after 20 years from its inauguration at the 1889 World Fair. It was then designed by the engineers Lion, Amedee Alby and Jean Resal, who was also instrumental in the design of the impressive Alexandre III bridge in Paris. The bridge was completed in the April of 1900 and had been referred to by different names such as the Magdeberg or the de Billy footbridge, and when the City of Paris took over the management of the structure, they had the position of it moved in 1906 to its current location. It was then officially named the Debilly footbridge, which was named after an Imperial General by the name of de Billy, who had been killed at the Battle of Jena in 1806 during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, it then became a permanent bridge over the River Seine. This footbridge also connects to other impressive tourist attractions in Paris as it goes from the Quai Branly where you will find the Musee du Quai Branly on the left bank of the River Seine in the 7th Arrondissement, over to the Avenue de New York where you will find the Palais de Tokyo in the 16th Arrondissement:
We walk 550 m. (south-west, again) along the Port de Bourdonnais to Pont d'Iéna. The bridge of Jena enjoys an exceptional situation, it is the link between the garden of Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower. The image of this bridge marks the spirits! It was built under Napoleon I and bears the name of a victory over Prussia in 1806. The imperial eagles that adorned it were removed under the Restoration and replaced by a similar decoration in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1853, four statues of warriors standing guard at the ends of the bridge were added. They are represented next to their horse. You will find the Gallic warrior sculpted by Antoine Preault and a Roman warrior that was produced by Louis Daumas. Yet heading across the bridge to the left bank, which is where you will find the Palais de Chaillot and its museums, the other two statues are of an Arab warrior that was sculpted by Jean-Jacques Feuchere and the other is a Greek warrior produced by Francois Devault. This 19th century bridge is very pretty and decorated with beautiful sculptures.
Tour Eiffel from Pont d'Iena:
Warsaw Square (Place de Varsovie) and Trocadéro Gardens from Pont d'Iena:
Sculpture on Pont d'Iena:
Head southwest on Port de la Bourdonnais/Port de Suffren, 130 m. Continue straight to stay on Port de Suffren, 450 m and you arrive to Pont de Bir-Hakeim when Port de Grenelle is on your right: a marina building and a quay with river vessels. The port was built in 1825 by Viollet and Letellier. He enjoyed until 1866 a toll on the boats that were stationed at this place. It is bordered by the lines of line C of the RER and is below the buildings of the front of the Seine:
We arrived to Pont de Bir-Hakeim. The Pont de Bir-Hakeim is a two-level bridge built in the early 20th century. The upper level is used by metro line 6, while the lower level is for motor vehicles, with a bicycle path in the centre. The bridge provides a superb view of the Eiffel Tower.You can continue along to the Allée des Cygnes, a walkway over the Seine that can be reached from the middle of the Bir-Hakeim bridge. From here you can admire the Statue of Liberty replica next to the Pont de Grenelle. It was designed by the architect Jean-Camille Formigé, who also designed the Viaduc d'Austerlitz, the greenhouses of Auteuil, and the park below the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, and restored the Roman amphitheater in Arles and the Roman theater in Orange. The bridge has two levels: one for motor vehicles and pedestrians, and a viaduct (the "Viaduc de Passy") above, through which passes Line 6 of the Paris Métro. The railway viaduct is supported by metal colonnades, except where it passes over the île aux Cygnes, where it rests on a masonry arch. Many commemorative plates decorate the viaduct bridge, including several dedicated to soldiers fallen in Belgium during the Second World War. In addition, the central arch of the viaduct, at the level of the island, is decorated with four monumental stone statues in high-relief: figures of Science and Labor by Jules-Felix Coutan, and Electricity and Commerce by Jean Antoine Injalbert.
170 m. south-west to Pont de Bir-Hakeim (on narrow crosswalk) stands the Monument de la Place des Martyrs Juifs du Vélodrome d'Hiver. Walter Spitzer Bronze Monument to the Deportation to the Velodrome d'Hiver Victms- In 1993, a monument was created to commemorate the round-up of 14,000 Jews in Paris and their detainment in the Vélodrome d'Hiver an indoor velodrome (cycle track) at the corner of the boulevard de Grenelle and the rue Nélaton in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Eiffel Tower. The deportees, many of whom were women and children, were held in the velodrome for several days before their deportation to transit camps, leading in turn to their removal to Auschwitz, and their deaths. It is a wonderful, moving, unforgettable monument. DO NOT MISS IT !!!
Tour Eiffel from the monument:
At the next corner (Boulevard de Grenelle), you'll see a glass building named "Maison du Japon à Paris":
Head northeast on Prom. du From the Shoa Monument you return along Quai de Grenelle toward Pont de Bir-Hakeim, 150 m. Take the crosswalk, 50 m. Continue onto Boulevard de Grenelle. Walk 150 m. to arrive to the Metro station of Bir-Hakeim or 250 m. to arrive to the restaurant Comptoir Principal, 29 Boulevard de Grenelle. Very delicious food, not cheap with superb service and atmosphere. Bass fish with puree of carrot and grapefruit (or puree of sweet potatoes and brocoli - 19 euros). From the restaurant - head northwest on Boulevard de Grenelle toward Rue Saint-Saëns, 5 m. Turn left onto Boulevard de Grenelle/Rue Saint-Charles and continue to follow Rue Saint-Charles, 750 m. Turn left onto Place Charles Michels, 25 m. to hit the Metro station of Charles Michels.