Pont de la Concorde

The Pont de la Concorde is a bridge found at the Place de la Concorde. It was built as a more permanent replacement for the ferry that was used to link the left and the right banks of the Seine at that point.

The construction of the Pont de la Concorde was started in 1787. The idea to have a bridge at the point was older though, but the project got underway after more than 30 years. Construction of the build was no easy feat considering the civil unrest caused by the French Revolution, and the absence of enough material to oversee the completion of the bridge. Things changed after the storming of the Bastille when the prison was destroyed in 1879. With the destruction, stones were made available, and this opportunity was quickly seized as the remains of the Bastille were quickly and used to complete the bridge. In 1791 the bridge was inaugurated as Pont de la Revolution. It was the name that fit best, taking into account the events that had previously transpired. The initial name destined for it was Pont Louis XVI, a name borrowed from the nearby Place Louis XVI.

With the use of the Place de la Revolution (formerly Place Louis XVI) as a guillotine, a name change took place for both the place and the bridge to Place de la Concorde and Pont de la Concorde in 1795. Napoleon I, during his reign, commissioned the construction of eight statues of generals who were killed in war. These were later put on the bridge. During the Bourbon Restoration, they were replaced by twelve marble statues of monarchy officials. In the initial plan of the bridge, supporting of 12 heavy statues or any statues for that matter was not included. Consequently, the statues put up on the sides of the bridge proved to be stressful to the bridge, and its integrity could not hold for very long for as long as they stayed. During the reign of Louis-Philippe I, they were transferred to Versailles. No sculptural work was left on the bridge.

During the Bourbon Restoration, the bridge was renamed to Pont Louis XVI, but it did not stay so for very long. The final name, Pont de la Concorde was given in 1830 and it has stuck ever since. The bridge continued to serve its destined purpose, but its convenient location proved to be somewhat of a disadvantage, as traffic quickly built up in the 20th century. This led to an expansion project where the width of the bridge was increased to double its former size. The architectural pattern the bridge was built in was conserved during the expansion. The most recent renovation dates back to 1983, but in this case, no dimensional alterations were made.

The Pont de la Concorde is still busy with traffic, and perhaps that won’t change. However, even with that, the bridge manages to give a perfect location to get a view of the Seine in its calm tranquillity.