Pont de la Concorde, a bridge built with the Bastille fortress’ stones

The Pont de la Concorde boasts an exceptional location as it links Place de la Concorde and Jardin des Tuileries on Rive Droite to the Assemblée Nationale on Rive Gauche.

Pont de la Concorde seen from Rive Gauche
The bridge piles are shaped like towers

The massive arched stone bridge replaced the old ferry which for generations transported men and animals between the two banks of the river Seine.

The aldermen of Paris built it in 1787, on the eve of the French Revolution and named it Pont Louis XV.

It was completed in 1791 and renamed Pont Louis XVI,  then Pont de la Révolution from 1792 (after the King’s execution) to 1795.

The architect Perronet was told to use cut stones recovered from the demolition of the Bastille fortress “so that the people could continually trample on the ancient fortress”.

As a reminder, he designed the piles in the shape of towers.

The bridge was eventually renamed Pont de la Concorde in 1830 to celebrate the reconciliation of the French people.

Several statues adorned it during the First Empire (Napoleon I) and during the Bourbon Restoration, but they were removed as their weight threatened to weaken the structure.

Pont de la Concorde enlarged on the occasion of the 1925 Exhibition of Decorative Arts

The bridge’s exceptional location turned it into one of the busiest and most famous bridges in Paris, but the Arts Déco Expo of 1925 boosted traffic.

Pont de la Concorde seen from Rive Gauche
Pont de la Concorde seen from Rive Gauche

The Pont Alexandre III was indeed closed as it served as venue for the exhibition.

Road traffic was diverted to the ‘neighbouring’ Pont de la Concorde which was modified to ease traffic flow.

The width of its pavements was indeed reduced to enlarge the street and a pedestrian bridge built downstream.

These temporary arrangements proved so adequate for the ever increasing road traffic of the time that extra enlargement work was scheduled in the early 1930s.

This gave the Pont de la Concorde its current dimensions (a 21m wide street with 7m wide pavements).

The architects in charge of these transformations managed, however, to keep its original Neo-Classical architecture.

The bridge, which is still the busiest bridge in Paris, was renovated in the early 1980s.

Directions:
Links the 8th district on Rive Droite to the 7th district on Rive Gauche
Metro stations: Concorde on Lines 1-8-12 on Rive Droite or Invalides on Lines 8-13 and RER C on Rive Gauche
Coordinates: Lat 48.863546 – Long 2.319691

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