Bridges of Paris: Passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor

Sunday, October 31, 2010 |

The final bridge of Paris we'll report on will be the Passerelle Leopold-Sedar-Senghor, which is a footbridge over the Seine just next door to Pont de la Concorde (see previous post). A passerelle, apparently, translates to a gateway or footbridge, which I guess differentiates it from a bridge ("pont" in french), but it qualifies as a bridge to me. The Passerelle was completed in 1999, so it's very modern by Paris standards. It links the Tuileries Gardens (Jardin de Tuileries) with the Musee d'Orsay on the left bank, which houses an amazing collection of Impressionist art. There are benches to sit on in the middle of the bridge, allowing it to be somewhat of a hangout for people. There's a great statue of good old Thomas Jefferson at the entrance on one end.

The bridge has a bit of an arc, and the sides are a bit on the open side, so this is actually one of the scarier bridges we crossed in Paris, though still rather tame. And we can actually see through to the water at one point in the bridge, not a good characteristic. We don't have a rating system, however, for the scariest part of the bridge. Apparently it is a host to one of the great scams in Paris. Yes, my wife and I were unprepared for the old, found gold ring trick. We were walking on the bridge and an old woman walking toward us looks down and picks up a ring, shows it to us, asks us if it is ours (I think that's what she was saying), showed us some engraving supposedly showing it was pure gold (it wasn't), implored us to keep it, left it with us, then walked away, only to return a few seconds later asking for money. Back down onto the bridge goes the ring, and away we walk. Amazingly, on the other half of the bridge, an older man we were approaching reaches down to pick up something shiny, but before he can even straighten up, we were out of there, and quickly off the bridge. Rings come out of nowhere on that bridge. But, we rate bridges only for their natural scariness. This one gets a 6.5 (2 for height, 4 for width, and 0.5 for length). I think I'd stay away at night.