Pont d'Arcole

The Pont d'Arcole is a bridge in Paris over the River Seine. It is served by the Metro station Hôtel de Ville.


The need for a bridge communicating between place de Grève (now Place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville) and the île de la Cité had been felt for years. Called the passerelle de Grève for the first two years of its life, its present name - according to the most generally accepted hypothesis - comes from the Battle of the Bridge of Arcole, in which Napoleon defeated the Austrians in 1796.

It was only in 1828 that a suspension bridge for pedestrians with two 6m-wide carriageways, supported from a central pier in midstream, was built by Marc Seguin. In 1854, with increased traffic due to the prolongation of the rue de Rivoli, it was replaced by a more substantial metal structure that could also be used by vehicular traffic. The pont d'Arcole was built to the plans of Alphonse Oudry (1819–1869), retired Ingénieur des Ponts et Chaussées and his partner Nicolas Cadiat; the structure was innovative in that it was the first unsupported bridge across the Seine to be made entirely in wrought iron rather than cast iron. The low arch, only lightly cambered, was also innovative, and on 16 February 1888 it suddenly sagged by 20 cm and had to be consolidated. It was only between 1994 and 1995 that the city council made overall repairs to the bridge's roadways, reviewing its waterproofing and paintwork at the same time.

The bridge is also historically notable in that it was over this bridge that the first tanks of Général Leclerc's 2nd Armored Division rolled on their way to the place de l'hôtel de ville during the Liberation of Paris in August 1944.