A big flame adorns the surrounding of the Alma bridge, a full-scale replica of the one held by the Statue of Liberty in New York.
Inaugurated in 1989, this replica of the flame held by the Statue of Liberty in New York is a sculpture dedicated to Franco-American friendship. It was given to the City of Paris by The International Herald Tribune, which celebrated its hundredth birthday in 1987. This English-speaking newspaper was created by an Americain journalist in Paris and is still published there. It had launched an international fundraising in order to build the sculpture.
“Liberty enlightening the world”, also known as the Statue of Liberty, erected in New York in 1886, was a gift of France to the United States to celebrate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. It is a work by architect Auguste Bartholdi, in association with Gustave Eiffel. Initially a symbol of the friendship linking the two countries, it has remained in the collective imagination as a symbol of freedom, peace and Human Rights.
In 1889, to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution, replicas of the original work were made. The French state bought one replica for the Luxembourg museum. In 1906, it was placed in the garden, where it has stayed until it was replaced by a copy in 2012: the original one was transfered to the Orsay museum. A second replica was first inaugurated on the United States square before being moved to the Swan Island, near the Grenelle bridge. It first looked at the Elysée, contrary to what Bartholdi wanted, as he wished the statue to look in the direction of New York. It was done in 1937, with the International Exhibition. Finally, there is a smaller replica outside the Arts et Métiers museum.
Since 1997, the Flame of the Alma bridge has also become an informal memorial for Princess Diana, who died that year in a car accident that occurred in the tunnel underneath the flame. It is a tribute to Lady Di paid by her numerous admirers, who was a politically committed figure, notably fighting for the ban of antipersonnel mines and against AIDS.