Friday, October 06, 2006

About the Pont de La Concorde

The Pont de la Concorde (Concorde Bridge) is the work of the engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronet, Director of the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (National Public Works School), founded by Colbert. He built it from sections of dressed stone recovered from the demolition of the Bastille during the Revolution - a very rare commodity. Like the square of which it is an extension, its name changed with events - Pont Louis XVI (Louis XVI Bridge), Revolution, Concorde, then Louis XVI again at the Restoration, and finally Concorde as from 1830.Successive rulers enjoyed decorating it with statues. In 1810, Napoleon had the effigies of eight generals who died in action during the Empire campaigns placed on it. The Restoration replaced them with twelve white marble monumental statues of four great Ministers (Colbert, Richelieu, Suger, Sully), four soldiers (Bayard, Condé, Du Guesclin, Turenne), four sailors (Dugay-Trouin, Duquesne, Suffren, Tourville).

These colossal statues made the bridge so heavy that they eventually had to be removed and taken to Versailles. The bridge was widened between 1930 and 1932 by the addition of two spans upstream and downstream, while cleverly retaining the original shape of the bridge.

Although very busy with traffic, it has fine views of the Concorde Square and of the Palais-Bourbon.

Built in 1791.

14 metres wide.

Five masonry arches built in the form of an arc, of 25, 28, 31, 28 and 25 m.

Foundations on stilts and a framework roadway.

It was widened to 35 m in 1931 by building, upstream and downstream, two bridge sections which reproduced the lay-out of the old structure, supported on separate piles sunk using compressed air.


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