Paris Profile: Le Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir

As a kid, my engineer father would always attempt to capture our attention on road trips by pointing out some architectural feat, and had a particular affinity for bridges. Every time we drove to the Cape (for you non-New Englanders, that means “Cape Cod”), my dad would give a dime to whoever saw the bridge first. As we got older, my sister and I lost interest, but whenever I see a particularly interesting bridge it reminds me of those trips and makes me smile just a little bit. Earlier this semester, when the weather was still somewhat temperate, I went out on a date, and I gave careful instructions to be taken somewhere that I wouldn’t otherwise go as a foreigner. Clearly, I like to challenge my dates. He took me to this amazing bridge near the Bibliotheque Francois Miterrand (the biggest library ever – it has a forest in the middle) that is designed to look like a wave. It is absolutely beautiful, and since it is at the very edge of the city, you can see all of Paris, and on a clear night you can see the Eiffel Tower lit up in the distance. It is a true hidden gem of Paris, and whether you just enjoy architecture or you are looking for something different to see, this is worth the trip.

Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir at night. In the background you can see the four towers of the Francois Mitterrand library.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that the bridge is one of Paris’ newest: It was raised in 2006 and is named Le Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir (the Simone de Beauvoir bridge). It is purely pedestrian, and was constructed in Alsace and then raised in two hours, in the early morning, and inaugurated with Simone de Beauvoir’s adopted daughter present. In connects the Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand directly to Parc de Bercy, and was designed by Feichtinger Architectes. To get there, I suggest taking the metro to Bercy or Cour St. Emilion (both on the 14, the fastest line), and walking through the park and over the bridge to the library. This area of Paris is much quieter and more commercial than the more central areas, but is nonetheless charming in its own right – and Bercy Village has some great shopping!

 

*Edit: The Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand was designed to look like open books – each of the four towers (seen in the background) is shaped like a wide “V”, and in the daylight the exterior sides are darker than the ones that face the courtyard, making them resemble open books. I didn’t realize this, as I have only seen it at night! Thanks to Alyssa for the edit.

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