Jeter un pont – To build a bridge
The pont Alexandre III, inaugurated for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, was to symbolize the Franco-Russian friendship and alliance, under the leadership of the French president Sadi Carnot and the tsar Alexandre III of Russia.
Creating a large avenue access to the Petit Palais and to the Grand Palais, the bridge also created a grand perspective upon the Invalides monument where before there was not much to look at.
Sculptures were created by quite a few different artists of the time. Georges Récipon is the author of the two sculpture groups on either side of the bridge in the center : on one side two figure representing the nymphs of the Neva river with the coat of arms of Russia and on the other side two figures representing the nymphs of the Seine with the coat of arms of Paris.
I personally like the detail work seen in the various sculptures on the bridge, it’s a clear indication of the art movement of that period; one that was classic yet charged with floral and nature detailing everywhere.
The rooster is a symbol of France
The ship is the symbole of Paris
Maybe at every turn of the century France feels an urge to invite their Siberian pals over for a fancy dinner or festival. 2010 was named the year of France and Russia. I thought it would be interesting to talk about this bridge because recently there was an effort for another friendly back-patting between Russia and France, garnished with the invitation of a couple of Russian dance troupes to perform in Paris, and a grand exhibition of artwork at the Louvre as well as festivals in other French cities, Chanel even had very Russian inspired designs over the past winter in the display windows. These manifestations are all frosting on the diplomatic/military/business cake that the two are often baking together over the past 100 years.