Alma Bridge
Place de l'Alma - Quai Branly
75008 Paris

  • Metro - Line 9 - Alma - Marceau station
  • RER - Line C - Pont de l'Alma station
  • Bus - 42, 63, 72, 80, 92

The northern end of the bridge is served by the Alma - Marceau metro station, and the southern end by the Pont de l'Alma RER station.


Pont de l'Alma
Place de l'Alma - Quai Branly
75008 Paris

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 51′ 51″ N 2° 18′ 06″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.86349 2.30161
Description complète

The Bridge of Alma is located in the west of the capital, about 500 m from the Eiffel Tower. It connects the left bank of the Seine river (Museum of the sewers of the town of Paris and Quai Branly Museum) to the right bank at the level of Place de L'Alma, Place Diana where the Flame of Liberty donated by American citizens is located.

Administratively, this bridge connects the quai Branly (in the 7th arrondissement, on the left bank) to the avenue de New-York (in the 8th and 16th arrondissements, on the right bank). On the right bank, it separates the ports of the Conference and Debilly, and on the left bank, those of Gros-Caillou and La Bourdonnais.

The 1st Alma Bridge

The 1st Alma bridge was built between 1854 and 1856 on request of Napoleon III. It was planned for the Universal Exhibition of 1855, but was completed late and inaugurated on April 2, 1856 by Napoleon III.

Its name commemorates the battle of the Alma (1854) during the Crimean War which opposed the Russian Empire to a coalition formed by the Ottoman Empire, the French Empire, the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The conflict took place mainly around the naval base of Sevastopol, in Crimea. It ended with the defeat of Russia, ratified by the Treaty of Paris in 1856.

The bridge was built under the direction of Hyacinthe Gariel and P.-M. G. de Lagalisserie.

For the Universal Exhibition of 1900, the bridge was doubled upstream by a footbridge, called the Alma footbridge.

The 2nd Alma Bridge

As early as 1960, its reconstruction was envisaged, because it was a barrier during floods, due to its narrowness and a settlement of one of its piers.

From 1970 to 1974, the bridge was entirely replaced. It is an arch bridge, an entirely masonry structure 153 m long and 42 m wide designed by the architects J.-F. Coste, C. Blanc, A. Arsac and M. Dougnac

The Zouave of the Alma Bridge

The old bridge was supported on 2 piers which were decorated on each of their sides, upstream and downstream, by 4 statues. Each one represented one of the four regiments that fought valiantly in the Crimean War: a Zouave and a grenadier sculpted by Georges Diebolt, a chasseur à pied and an artilleryman sculpted by Auguste Arnaud.

But the new bridge rebuilt between 1970 and 1974 has only one drowned pier; it is on this pier that the Zouave was moved, on the downstream side, left bank. Only this statue of the Zouave has been preserved (but changed side), and the three other statues have been moved:

  • the chasseur à pied is visible from the A4 highway near Paris, against the south wall of the Gravelle redoubt in the Bois de Vincennes (48° 49′ 05.4″ N, 2° 27′ 19.3″ E) ;
  • the grenadier is in Dijon, the hometown of its sculptor, on the Avenue du Premier-Consul, facing Lake Kir (47° 19′ 33,7″ N, 5° 00′ 26,9″ E) ;
  • the artilleryman was offered and transferred to La Fère (department of Aisne), a city dear to the hearts of artillerymen, where the 41st marine artillery regiment was located, until 1993.

The Zouave and the measurement of the floods of the Seine

The statue of the Zouave was used to measure the floods of the Seine. When the level of the Seine reaches the feet of this Zouave, the riverside roads are usually closed. When the water rises to the thighs of the Zouave, the Seine is no longer navigable. During the historic flood of 1910, the water rose up to the shoulders.

Following the replacement of the bridge in 1970-1974, the Zouave is now lower than originally. With the same level of the Seine, the floods it signals today are therefore less severe than before 1970.

Today, the administration measures the flood level at the Tournelle bridge... with technically adapted instruments!

The Flame of Liberty on the new Place Diana

At the end of the Pont de l'Alma, on the left bank, the Flame of Liberty statue was and still is located since 1989.

The Flame of Liberty was offered to France by the United States, on the initiative of the International Herald Tribune newspaper in 1987, to commemorate the Franco-American friendship and to thank France for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. This restoration was accomplished in 1986 on the Statue of Liberty, on the occasion of its centennial. This restoration was carried out by two French artisanal companies: the Métalliers Champenois for the copper work, and the Gohard workshops for the gilding of the flame. It is 3.5 m high and is a scale 1 copy of the flame at the top of the Statue of Liberty in New York. It was inaugurated on May 10, 1989 by Jacque Chirac.

The fatal accident of Princess Diana

The entrance to the Alma Bridge is near and above the tunnel where the Princess of Wales, Lady Diana was fatally injured late at night on August 31, 1997. This tunnel, often referred to as the "Pont de l'Alma tunnel", is part of the Avenue de New York. It is in fact underground under the entrance of the Pont de l'Alma and the Place de l'Alma. Overlooking this tunnel is a part of the Place de l'Alma, a part now renamed Place Diana.

The day after the news of Lady Diana's accident, admirers of the deceased princess converged on the site of the accident. The Flame of Liberty was diverted from its original function and spontaneously became a place of remembrance for Diana Spencer. The right-of-way on which the monument is located was renamed more than 20 years later as Diana Square.

The detailed article on Princess Diana's accident can be found in Wikipedia by clicking on Death and funeral of Diana Spencer.


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