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Large footbridge of the Alma bridge - Expo Paris 1889

Large footbridge of the Alma bridge at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889
Architect(s) : Moisant, Laurent et Savey

The general cry of the Exhibition, after that of admiration, of course, is that one goes up far too much.

Not only did we cover five hundred metres, but we had to go up or down two hundred steps, under one pretext or another, and after a somewhat general walk through the Esplanade des Invalides, the Champ de Mars and the Trocadero, we certainly climbed as many stairs as if we had climbed the Eiffel Tower.

This may break the monotony of the visit, but it breaks the legs even more surely, even of Parisians who are so used to this exercise that just to change pavements, on their way to their business, they go up or down more than two hundred steps in one trip.

If we consider from this point of view alone the footbridge built by Messrs Moisant, Laurent and Savey, opposite the Pont de l'Alma, we cannot hesitate to declare that the maximum of its kind has been reached. It is obviously for the special use of members of alpine clubs and gymnasts that this counterfeit of the Hamburg bridge was erected.

From an aesthetic point of view, the bridge is not much better: here are its main features.

Four pylons, as always, serve as a starting point and support for two arches that rise disproportionately above the Avenue de Lamotte-Piquet; from these arches descend the angles that support the bridge deck. This deck is also arched, or to put it better, this deck is nothing more than an interminable staircase, divided into two parts, one for the outward journey and the other for the return journey.

If you want to see the entire length of the Agriculture exhibition, you have to climb up and down this wooden and iron Calvary, which is not the only one on the route.

Probably to reduce the horror of the ordeal, the two upper arches have been decorated with flags of all possible and imaginable nationalities. Unfortunately, this good intention has no appreciable effect: it takes nothing away from the fatigue and adds nothing to the picturesque.

The picturesque, in fact, is not at all what we seemed to think in many parts of the Exhibition's decoration, where we sacrificed in a too general way to an unpleasantly garish fairground note. The Exhibition is a festival. It is not a fair, we must not forget that.

©Livre d'Or de l'Exposition - Paul le Jenisel.