The Zouave statue is the most famous feature on Pont de l’Alma, as it serves to monitor the floods of the Seine.
The statue of the Zouave soldier that stands on its single pier is one of the most photographed sites of Paris.
The Zouaves Regiment participated to the Battle of the Alma (20/09/1854) during the Crimean War.
The important battle ended in the victory of France, England, Piedmont and the Ottoman Empire over Russia.
Each of the bridge’s four piers was adorned with a statue symbolizing a regiment that fought during the Crimean War.
Arnaud sculpted the statues of Infantry soldier and Artilleryman.
Diebolt sculpted the Grenadier and the famous Zouave.
The Alma Bridge was rebuilt in 1974 as it had become too narrow and unstable.
The statues were transferred to other locations except the Zouave, which was placed on the new bridge’s single pier.
André-Louis Gody served as model for the Zouave statue
André-Louis Gody (1828-1896) became famous when he was chosen as model for the statue.
A veteran of the Napoleonic wars, he was born in Gravelines in Northern France.
The Zouave statue traditionally serves as an unofficial standard in order to indicate the rise in the water level of the Seine.
The river level is deemed alarming when water reaches the feet of the Zouave!
The year 1910 is known as the year of the ‘Flood of the 20th Century’.
Waters indeed rose by 8.62 m and reached the shoulders of the Zouave statue!
Paris saw other major floods in 1924 when the Seine rose by 7.30m and in 1955 (7.12 m) and immersed the statue up to the waist.
In 2001, the Zouave statue had water up to knee level (a 5m rise).
On December 27, 2010 the river overflowed its bed once more (by 3.78 m).
It reached the feet of the statue, causing major chaos in Paris; the river banks and the Metro (underground) were indeed closed to traffic.
On June 4, 2016, at 2am, the Seine reached its peak at 6,10m.
On January 27, 2018 the river level was up to 5,72m.
Directions: 8th district
Metro: Alma-Marceau on Line 9
Coordinates: Lat 48.863816 – Long 2.302013