Pedestrian Bridge Simone de Beauvoir

The 304-metre Simone de Beauvoir Footbridge links the new Parisian districts of Bercy and Tolbiac. Composed of three parts - a main central span across the Seine coupled with two side spans across the urban freeways to either side - the footbridge connects the public plaza of the French National Library with the new Bercy Park beyond the river.

The pedestrian bridge totally integrates architecture and structure and through its innovative construction it adopts the Parisian bridge tradition. The Seine has a width of 150 m at the point where the bridge crosses it and the coherence of this unusually open Parisian space is maintained by reaching across the river in a single, continuous span of 190 m, without intermediate supports. It is an efficient structure which combines spatial potential with lightness and strength through the synergy of its two collaborating elements: a remarkably slender arch balanced by a pretensioned, suspended catenary.

The criss-crossing of the pathways permits different ways to cross the bridge and the overlay of the two force lines correspond with the path-network, offering pedestrians several possibilities for different perspectives. The intersection of the arch and catenary curves creates a symmetrical ‘lens’; an element that anchors the bridge visually in the landscape and gives rise to a unique public space suspended above the river. On the central deck above there is a view of Notre Dame and historic Paris while on the lower level the lens forms a plaza 12 m wide and 65 m long which, enlivened by kiosks, cafes and other temporary installations invites the pedestrians to pause mid-route. This space can also be utilised as a tribune for events held on the river.