Pont de l'Alma

Coordinates: 48°51′48.68″N 02°18′06.58″E / 48.8635222°N 2.3018278°E / 48.8635222; 2.3018278

Pont de l'Alma (Alma Bridge in English) is an arch bridge in Paris, crossing 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 September 20, 1854.

History
Construction

The initial construction of the bridge took place between 1854 and 1856. It was inaugurated by Napoleon III on 2 April 1856. At the time, each of the four piers of the bridge was decorated with a statue of military nature: a zouave and a grenadier, by Georges Diébolt, and a skirmisher and an artilleryman, both sculpted by Arnaud.

Zouave statue and flooding

For Parisians, the bridge serves as a measuring instrument for water levels and a dam in times of flooding on the Seine, due to its statue of a Zouave soldier. Access to the footpaths by the river embankments usually is closed when the Seine's level reaches the feet of the Zouave, and when the water hits the statue's thighs, the river becomes unnavigable. During the great flood of the Seine in 1910, the level reached to the shoulders of the Zouave. The French Civil Service, however, officially uses the Pont de la Tournelle to gauge the flood levels — not the Pont de l'Alma.

Reconstruction

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 over time. After the reconstruction, only the statue of the Zouave was preserved. 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 close to the eponymous Pont de l'Alma tunnel where Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car accident 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.

Technical specifications

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.

Access
Location

Bridge location on the Seine: