Pont Alexandre III, the Finest Example of the Fine Arts in Paris
The inauguration of the Pont Alexandre III had 2 purposes. The first was to provide a crossing over the Seine River from the Les Invalides to the Grand and Petit palais (Great and Small palaces), the exhibition venues of the 1900 World Fair.
Its second purpose was to honor an alliance between France and Russia, who were fierce opponents not long before that time (the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War). The swift ascent of the imperial Germany, which ultimately led to the First World War (1914 – 1918), forced both sides to form the alliance. The bridge carries the name of the father of the then Russian Emperor, Nicholas Romanov.
Why you should see Pont Alexandre III?
Besides being the most beautiful bridge in Paris, the Pont Alexandre III offers fine views of the Seine, the Tour Eiffel, the Les Invalides complex and toward the Champs-Elysees. Its decoration marks the peak of the Fine Arts (Beau-Art in French) architecture, which was especially popular in France back then. You will see beautiful candelabras, flanked by cupids and sea creatures, lining the elegant bridge. Its four pillars, two on each side of the Pont Alexandre III, represent different historical periods of France.
The bridge’s arches feature interesting artworks. On the western side, which faces the Tour Eiffel, is the coat of arms of Paris. Two nymphs of the Seine flank the symbol of the French capital. On the opposite side, the Russian coat of arms, adjoined with the nymphs of the Russian river Neva, symbolizes the Russian side of the alliance.
Furthermore, the designers had a task to make the bridge as unobtrusive as possible. They were very successful. That is why you can take some of the finest photos in Paris around the Pont Alexandre III that include the Tour Eiffel and the Les Invalides.