Built just in time for the Exposition Universelle of 1900, Pont Alexandre III was put in place to commemorate the Franco-Russian alliance that took place in 1892 when the two countries formed an alliance for economic and military purposes. The bridge itself was named after the Russian Tsar Alexander III who was responsible for forming the alliance between the two nations. Although not widely known, a similar but not as extravagant twin bridge was also built in St. Petersburg, Russia at the same time and it was designed by Gustave Eiffel, who also created the Eiffel Tower. Tsar Alexander III unfortunately died before construction on the bridge began, and his son Tsar Nicholas II laid the foundation stone to begin construction in October of 1896.
Architecturally, the bridge is a masterpiece due to the challenges faced by its designers in the process of making the plans for the bridge. Originally the bridge was supposed to be much higher, but the French government demanded that the bridge be low enough so that it wouldn’t block the views on opposite ends; Understandably so, the bridge connects the Place de Invalides where Napoleon’s tomb rests, to the Champs-Elysees which is the most famous avenue in Paris. Pont Alexandre III also contains symbolism representing France and Russia; Both the Russian and Parisian coat of arms are carved ornately into the bridge. There are also four gilt-bronze statues atop massive pillars that act as counterweights for the bridge on each end, each representing a different era in French history: King Louis XIV, Emperor Charlemagne, the Renaissance, and Modern Times.
Walking across the bridge is an experience of its own. Once you are done admiring all of the ornate Art-Nouveau lamps, statues, and decorations you realize just how perfectly situated the bridge is. Pont Alexandre III offers a breathtaking view of Place de Invalides along with the Grand and Petit Palais, and romantic views of the Eiffel Tower, which explains why the bridge also has a fame for engagements and wedding photos. The beauty of Pont Alexandre III will draw you in, and its history will make you not only want to come back but also share it with those who have not experienced it.