Paris - Ile De France Section
Pont Mirabeau and Apollinaire’s poem
Pont Mirabeau - Technical facts
Pont Mirabeau is one of the bridges of Paris that became famous when Guillaume Apollinaire published the poem of the same name in 1913.
The Pont Mirabeau connects the Front de Seine district in the 15th district, near the Eiffel Tower, to the square Place de Barcelone in the 16th.
The engineers Paul Rabel, Jean Resal and Amédée Alby designed the 3-arch metal (steel) bridge in 1893; the central arch has a 93m span and the side arches a 32.4m span.
It is 173m long and 20m wide and is open to road and pedestrian traffic.
Finally, the architect Juste Lisch realized the superb Gare de Javel, which accesses the Javel-André Citroën Metro station, for the World Exhibition of 1900.
The bridge’s two piers are covered with slabs of Cherbourg granite and limestone, and their shape evokes the shape of a boat, with a bow and a stern.
The pile-boat near the Right Bank ‘sails’ downstream the Seine; its counterpart by the Left Bank ‘sails’ upstream.
Jean-Antoine Injalbert sculpted the four allegorical statues that adorn them; those of the bows face the Seine, those of the sterns face the bridge.
The bow’s statue by the Right Bank represents the Ville de Paris - City of Paris, and the stern’s L'Abondance - Abundance.
The bow’s statue by the Left Bank represents Paris et L'Abondance – Paris and Abundance, and that of the stern Navigation and Commerce.
The coat of arms of the City of Paris is on the parapet, at the centre of the bridge.
Finally, two staircases go down the Rive Droite riverbank, and two ramps to the Port Autonome de Paris headquarters on the Rive Gauche.
The Pont Mirabeau was classified Historical Monument in 1975.
Le Pont Mirabeau by Guillaume Apollinaire
Guillaume Apollinaire published his poem Le Pont Mirabeau in 1913 after his break up with the painter Marie Laurencin.
The bridge indeed reminded him of his lost love as he had to cross it to meet Marie.
This poem, written in short verses and without punctuation takes up the themes of the passage of time and love.
The modernity of the style combined with these two classic themes, and Apollinaire's talent, made the poem immediately famous.
First verses of Le Pont Mirabeau par Apollinaire
Sous le Pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu’il m’en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine
Vienne la nuit sonne l’heure
Les jours s’en vont je demeure
Under the Mirabeau Bridge flows the Seine
And our loves
Must I remember them
Joy always followed pain
The night falls and the hours ring
The days go away I remain