Here is my guide to Pont Alexandre III, the most beautiful bridge in Paris. Pont Alexandre III is the most spectacular of all Parisian bridges.
It’s an extravagant riot of Art Nouveau statuary and lavish lamps, and with outstanding views of the nearby Eiffel Tower, it’s one of the most famous Paris bridges and arguably the most beautiful.
This article is a guide to the Pont Alexandre III, telling you all about its history and its place in popular culture. I also give you the lowdown on getting to the Pont Alexandre III, the best time to visit and things to see nearby. I hope you find it helpful.
Why Visit Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III is one of the most beautiful bridges in Paris, and most famous landmarks in France.
It’s certainly the most ornate bridge in Paris, with fanciful candelabra lamps and many statues of cherubs and nymphs adorning it.
Its pillars are also decorated with impressive gold-painted bronze figures.
Pont Alexandre III also commands some of the best Eiffel Tower views, especially from its western side.
One of the most famous Paris bridges, it has a superb view of the golden dome of the Hotel des Invalides.
It’s also a very popular (i.e. crowded) spot to watch the Bastille Day fireworks display around the Eiffel Tower.
Pont Alexandre III History
The Pont Alexandre III is named after the Russian Tsar Alexander III, who reigned from 1881 until his death in 1894.
The bridge was named after him to celebrate Franco-Russian co-operation at the time, with the nations having entered into a military alliance (the Franco-Russian Alliance) in 1892.
Nicholas II, who turned out to be the last Tsar of Russia, laid the foundation stone in 1896 – it was completed four years later.
It was built for the 1900 Paris Exposition (Exposition Universelle) along with the Grand Palais, Petit Palais, the Gare d’Orsay and the famous Art Nouveau Metro entrances, including the one at Abbesses Metro.
It was an integral part of the Exposition, providing a link between the pavilions on either side of the river Seine.
In a reciprocal gesture, the Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel-designed Trinity Bridge over the river Neva in St Petersburg was built by the Societe de Construction de Batignolles.
Ironically, the sumptuous style and decoration of the bridge didn’t mirror the man after whom it is named. He was regarded by contemporaries as a gruff, reactionary character, and sought an alliance with France having fallen out with Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in 1890.
Pont Alexandre III Facts
Pont Alexandre III – which translates as Alexander III Bridge – is called Pont Alexandre Trois in French.
The Pont Alexandre III Bridge Paris is 160 metres long, and 40 metres wide; the main arch span is 108 metres.
It is one of the later examples of the Beaux Arts style prevalent in France in the second half of the 19th century.
The exuberant decorations – particularly the lamps and statuary – are influenced by the Art Nouveau style that had come to the fore in the 1890s.
Pont Alexandre III has featured in numerous movies, TV series and music videos. These include the Moody Blues’ Nights in White Satin video, the 1980s James Bond movie A View To A Kill and a memorable scene in A Very Long Engagement, a World War I movie with the same lead (Audrey Tautou) and director (Jean-Pierre Jeunet) as Amélie.
More recently, the bridge has featured in the Netflix series Emily in Paris.
See Also: Bir Hakeim Bridge – evocative Belle Epoque bridge with spectacular Eiffel Tower views
Best Time To Visit Pont Alexandre III
If possible, try to see the Pont Alexandre III at night. It’s especially beautiful during the ‘golden hour’ (or perhaps two!) before sunset, and then at dusk when the lights come on.
If you’re particularly keen on photographing Paris, try to bag yourself a spot to shoot some of the Pont Alexandre III statues, one of the lamps and the Eiffel Tower. Be aware that the lighting is very bright and flares, so the optimum time to capture this view is in the minute or two when the lights are first switched on.
I would also suggest heading to the Pont Alexander III for sunrise or early morning light. That said, it’s beautiful at any time of day – but it is just that bit more magical at the beginning and end of the day.
Where Is Pont Alexandre III Bridge
Pont Alexandre III spans the River Seine between the Esplanade des Invalides on the Left Bank and the Grand Palais and Petit Palais on the Right Bank.
It is between the Pont de la Concorde (to the east) and the Pont des Invalides (to the west).
Getting To Pont Alexandre III Paris
Le Pont Alexandre III is very easy to reach by public transport, with options by Metro, RER and bus. It’s less than 5 minutes’ walk from the station to the Alexandre III bridge.
You can get there via the Invalides Station, where the RER line C and Metro lines 8 and 13 pass through.
You can also reach this famous Paris bridge by bus. The wonderfully convenient 87 bus runs along the Left Bank from the Ile de la Cite, giving you a scenic tour of the Seine into the bargain. It stops a few minutes’ walk from the bridge, on Rue Robert Esnault-Pelterie.
The 63 and 93 buses stop a little closer, at the Pont Alexandre III stop. The 93 actually runs over the bridge.
Across on the Right Bank, the nearest Metro stop is Champs-Elysees Clemenceau, where lines 1 and 13 pass through. From there, it’s just over 5 minutes’ walk along Avenue Winston Churchill, between the Grand Palais and Petit Palais, to Pont Alexandre III.
The 72 bus stops close to the northern end of the bridge on Cours la Reine (the Grand Palais stop), while the 72 stops close to the Grand Palais (the stop has the same name) on Avenue Winston Churchill.
Things To See Near Pont Alexandre III
The Pont Alexandre III is close to several of the best things to see in Paris. It is only four bridges upstream from the most famous Paris attraction of all, the Eiffel Tower, and the quickest way to get there is RER line C in the direction of Pontoise, Versailles-Chateau or St-Quentin-en-Yvelines. Alight at Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel.
Pont Alexandre III is a short walk upstream from another of the best bridges in Paris, the Pont de la Concorde. This in turn leads to Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Gardens and, eventually, the Musée du Louvre.
The fine golden dome of the Hotel des Invalides is at the far end of the Esplanade des Invalides. This complex of buildings houses two churches (one of which has the Tomb of Napoleon), the Musée National de l’Armee (National Museum of the Army), the Musée d’Histoire Contemporain and Musée des Plans-Reliefs.
The entrance to the Invalides complex is at the far (south) end from the Pont Alexandre III bridge, on Avenue de Tourville, a 10-minute walk from the bridge.
Anyone with an interest in sculpture should also check out the Musée Rodin, which is on the way to the Invalides, on Rue de Varenne.
Across the river, the elegant Petit Palais houses the Musée des Beaux Arts (Fine Arts Museum). It’s a short walk from there to the lower end of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Stand at one of the numerous crossings for one of the best Arc de Triomphe Paris views, especially at night with the sunset afterglow in the sky and the floodlights on.
Pont Alexandre III Paris – Final Words
I hope you found my guide to Pont Alexander III helpful. It is the most beautiful bridge in Paris with breathtaking views. It is a must-see on any trip to Paris.
Further afield, you may also be interested in my articles on more of the most beautiful bridges in Europe. These include the gorgeous Charles Bridge Prague and the breathtaking Bastei Bridge high above the River Elbe in Germany.
Check out more of our Paris articles here:
- Saint Sulpice Paris – a magnificent church in the Latin Quarter
- Saint Germain des Pres – the oldest church in Paris, and one of its most beautiful
- The Pantheon Paris – our complete guide to the ‘national temple’ of France
- Parc Monceau Paris – gorgeous folly-filled park near the Arc de Triomphe
- Statue of Liberty in Paris – seeking out the replicas of Lady Liberty around Paris
- Visiting Sacre Coeur – exploring the famous hilltop church in Montmartre
- St Julien le Pauvre – a wonderful ancient church within sight of Notre Dame
- Saint Etienne du Mont – quirky Gothic and Renaissance gem in the Latin Quarter
David Angel is a Welsh historian, photographer and writer. He is a European travel expert with over 30 years’ experience exploring Europe.
He has a degree in History from Manchester University, and his work is regularly featured in global media including the BBC, Condé Nast Traveler, The Guardian, The Times, and The Sunday Times.
David is fluent in French and Welsh, and can also converse in Italian, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech and Polish.