Pont Alexandre III: The Great Leap

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

By Theadora Brack

During these surreal and difficult days, I send encouragement and positive thoughts to all of you.

We will travel again, I’m certain. In the meantime, though, here’s a temporary break from our current unfamiliar reality and unrelenting news cycle. Celebrating little joys, let’s take a visual stroll across the Pont Alexandre III. Designed by architects Joseph Cassien-Bernard and Gaston Cousin, this most-ornate-of-all-Paris-bridges was one of the showstoppers at the 1900 Exposition Universelle—along with at the time new-fangled marvels like talkie movies, escalators, and mechanical sidewalks.

A perfect photo-op still, rain or shine—the arches of the bridge look every bit as radiant and pearly as the architects and the seventeen sculptors who adorned it surely intended.

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Haters are gonna hate

Back at the time of its launch there were a few critics, because haters are always gonna hate. In fact, one grumpy reporter wrote in 1900:

“I am unable to participate in the general admiration for the new bridge, the Alexandre III. It is aggressively modern . . . while the bloated festoons of flowers in cast metal that descend between the ports of the spandrels are positively vulgar in effect.”

Ouch. Is it really possible to have too many festoons of flowers? Not in my closet. And “aggressively modern”? Well, you be the judge. Tastes have changed.

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Looking for vintage Paris-in-motion inspo?

Get thee over to your favorite streaming platform, and watch nglish singer-writer Adele’s 2011 epic weepie “Someone Like You” video. Shot in black and white by director Jake Nava in a Wim Wenders sort of way, you’ll not only see this glorious bridge, but also a spinning Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, Invalides, and Place de la Concorde. For the love of red velvet pantsuits, frilly sleeves, and canted angle shots, the Moody Blues band’s classic “Nights in White Satin” was also filmed here. You’ll definitely feel a groovitational pull as you watch their 1967 video, featuring wild artsy shots of the Arc de Triomphe and the Jardin des Tuileries.

Honestly, this super fan has not been able to listen to either of those songs of unrequited love without hitting repeat. I’ve also been snacking nonstop on chocolate. #Guilty #Carrotscanwait #Jumpingjackscanwait

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Closing with my favorite passage in M.V. Vernier’s pocket-sized 1918 edition of “How to Enjoy Paris” travel guide:

“The spirit of Paris gradually takes possession of you and permeates you never to depart. From now on, wherever you go, it will re-awaken you. You will be drawn back to it with irresistible force, like the moth, at even-time, to the flame. There is no other cure for Paris-itis—save a little three week trip across the ocean and tropics. And at the end of the voyage is found the long-sought-for-oasis, the delicious and magic fountain where lost attractiveness is found again, and the most capricious whim is satisfied.”I couldn’t agree more

But hold that thought. For now, though, its better to stay home, try to stay safe, and wash those hands. Repeat.

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

Pont Alexandre III, Paris, February 2020 (Photo by Theadora Brack)

 

 

30 thoughts on “Pont Alexandre III: The Great Leap

  1. I’ve walked across it quite a few times but never saw it as you did. Now I see what I missed. Thank you for an uplifting post, it made me smile and feel happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Theodora,

    Another wonderful article from you.

    I found it interesting that the charming quote from M.V. Vernier’s 1918 edition of “How to Enjoy Paris”, ” . . . From now on, wherever you go, it will re-awaken you. You will be drawn back to it with irresistible force, like the moth, at even-time, to the flame”, closely parallels the more famous line by Hemingway, ” . . . then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast” – A very similar sentiment coined 32 years after the Vernier quote . . . Vermier’s quote even predates Hemingway’s own arrival in Paris in 1921.
    Dare we suspect that Hemingway had read Vernier, or is it simply a sentiment shared by more than one lover of Paris?
    I know it is certainly a feeling shared by me.

    Michael Westra

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well one of your posts was always going to lift me up Theadora – and the fact that you chose to muse on my favourite Parisian bridge is a perfect antidote to the lockdown blues. We will get to Paris again I am sure but who knows when. We have just postponed our trip to Greece and Turkey which was supposed to be May-June. We have moved it to September -here’s hoping! To be honest, if I never get to travel anywhere else again except Paris, I would be happy 🤭- meanwhile, I can live vicariously through your posts!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The last quote is so true. I’ve only been to Paris twice but She will live in me forever. I long to return. The minute I arrived, I felt as if I finally found where I belonged.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Always nice to get overseas without even having to get out my passport, especially now. So thanks for that. Obviously once person’s modern is another person’s ?? We’ve now moved to Arizona, just arriving on Friday afternoon with our worldly goods arriving yesterday. So we’ve had to do some shopping and such, but we did get to a nearby olive mill and shop today. The shop was open, but asking people to practice social distancing and it was easy, as there weren’t that many people. If I get too much of a travel bug, I’ll get out “Under the Tuscan Sun”, one of my favorite travel books ever or I’ll travel online. Until we travel again, be safe and healthy!

    janet

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thank you, merci Theadora for those images of my favourite bridge in Paris. A respite in those days of “Confinement”.
    How are you? The situation is escalating in France… Plateau has not been reached yet.
    Yes, we will travel again. Though I wonder whether my yearly july-august trip to Paris might be compromised. We’ll see.
    Meanwhile… stay home, stay safe.
    Brian

    Liked by 3 people

    • it was my favourite one, too during the 8 years we lived in Paris; meanwhile, I’ve been to San Francisco several times and I must admit, Golden Gate has stolen my heart… ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • An interesting point. We walked the Golden gate back and forth in the fog. Quite an experience. Now should prefer one on love both? (The latter)
        Stay safe.

        Like

  7. I am visualizing walking with you across the bridge. Since going into a period of solitude, I have been researching the importance of visualization. You are right – this will pass and travel will come again. But in the meantime, your post has given me the opportunity to visit Paris. And for that, I am truly grateful. Take care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Be still my heart. I read the words. They calmed my mind. They took me to a place of refuge we so desperately need. Theadora, dear Theadora you replaced desperation and created joy with your images of Paris. Because of you no matter what is ahead for us – we will always have Paris.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Dear all, At the moment my internet is not working. As soon as it is back up and running, I’ll respond to your thoughtful messages. Stay safe and strong. AND stay in touch. I’m sending more positive thoughts to all of you.

    Take care,
    Theadora

    (Thursday, 2nd of April)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Stay well! I’ve been following your blog for a while and enjoy viewing what you see and record. I’ve been recording objects and their shadow around my home for several weeks with my camera. I am going to begin drawing objects in my home.I’ve been a professional illustrator for over 60 years. I still teach illustration at a Community College in the St. Louis area, and now I am teaching my class online. I miss being around the students.
    John Dyess

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Dear Theadora ~ Has anyone ever brought this iconic landmark to life better than you? (Can a bridge be a landmark?) As always, your eye captures details like no other. Merci mille fois! I’m off to watch the music videos … thanks for those too. Sorry about your internet. Are you in lockdown in Paris or elsewhere? Wherever, stay safe and well. Virtual bises (forever?)

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thank you for this virtual tour, you brought memories to the forefront from other trips to the city of lights. Its gorgeous patina reflects everywhere in your images. Stay healthy and safe.

    Like

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