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Floating in the Seine downstream from the two larger, well-known Parisian islands, Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis is the smallest of the three Seine islands, Ile aux Cygnes.
Swan Island is also referred to as Allée des Cygnes or Swan Alley. I can’t guarantee you’ll see a swan there but the odd time you will spot swans swimming in the Seine.
Ile aux Cygnes was constructed in 1827 and is 890 metres (2919 feet) long and 11 metres (36 feet) wide. Yes, it’s long, skinny, and man-made! Ile aux Cygnes was planted with a variety of trees in 1830 and made into a public pathway in 1878.
Read More: Ile Saint-Louis, which used to be a pasture, is one of Paris’s oldest villages. This post on Ile Saint-Louis will help you plan your visit there and not miss any hidden gems.
1. Where Is Ile Aux Cygnes?
Ile aux Cygnes is situated between two bridges, the Pont de Grenelle and the Pont de Bir-Hakeim. These two bridges connect the 15th and 16th arrondissements of Paris.
Plan a visit to Ile aux Cygnes in Paris, after seeing the Eiffel Tower. It’s about a ten-minute walk between the two sites. Have your camera handy because a photo session at the Pont de Bir-Hakeim is always a good idea!
2. Why Go To Ile Aux Cygnes?
Ile aux Cygnes is off the beaten path Paris. Close to the River Seine with plenty of trees, you’ll mostly find locals jogging, working out, and walking their dogs on Ile aux Cygnes.
Besides sliding into local life, Ile aux Cygnes harbours the largest Statue of Liberty found in Paris and some clandestine views of the Eiffel Tower.
3. Plan A Photo Shoot At The Pont de Bir-Hakeim
The Pont de Bir-Hakeim was named after the Battle of Bir-Hakeim which took place in Libya in WWII. It was a significant battle that took place between the Free French Brigade and the Germans (Afrika Korps).
The Pont de Bir-Hakeim in Paris is a fun bridge to get acquainted with! First of all it’s a little bit famous, having been used as a location in movies such as Inception (2010) and The Last Tango in Paris (1972).
The Metro Line 6 crosses the top level of the bridge and it’s well worth planning a jaunt across the bridge, nose (or camera lens) pressed to the window to be dazzled by the views of the Eiffel Tower.
Walk on the lower level of the Pont de Bir-Hakeim in the lanes designated for pedestrians and cyclists, to admire the Eiffel Tower and city views. Don’t miss the equestrian statue named “La France Renaissante” which was a gift from Denmark. The marked stairway leads down to Ile aux Cygnes.
4. Enjoy The Natural Setting On Ile Aux Cygnes
Given the long, narrow design of Ile aux Cygnes, there is one central pathway that runs the entire length of the island. Keep your eyes open as there are 60 different types of trees planted on this island. Look for Oriental plane trees, plum trees, white chestnuts, catalpas and Sycamore maples. Ile aux Cygnes has even been awarded a national label for its remarkable, and rich biodiversity. Many of the 210 trees are labelled, the perfect place to use your Google translate app.
5. Stand By The Statue Of Liberty In Paris
Standing majestically at the western tip of Ile aux Cygnes is the Statue of Liberty. This bronze replica, made by the Alsation sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834 -1904) is nine metres (29.5 feet) high without its base.
This Statue of Liberty in Paris was given to the city of Paris, by the American people in 1889. It was first placed on the Pont de Grenelle facing eastwards towards the city for the World Exhibition in 1889. For the World’s Fair of 1937, the Statue of Liberty, officially known as Liberty Enlightening the World, was turned to face westwards. At last her eyes were turned towards her counterpart in NYC, just as Bartholdi had wished.
In 1968, the Statue of Liberty in Paris was moved from the Pont de Grenelle to the western point of Ile aux Cygnes.
Two important dates are engraved on the base of the statue:
July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence (United States of America)
July 14, 1789 the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (France)
There are other versions of the Statue of Liberty in Paris. The ones most easily found are at the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée des Arts et Metiers and the Jardin de Luxembourg.
There is also an exact replica of the Statue of Liberty flame by the Pont de l’Alma. After Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1977, the flame became a tribute to her often covered in notes and flowers.
Read More: Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor, was born in Colmar, France. In 1907, a replica of the Statue of Liberty was erected in Colmar in his honour. The house where he was born is a museum. Read my post on Colmar, which is a definite highlight of a visit to the Alsace region of France.
6. Seek Out Views Of The Eiffel Tower
Just remember how close you are to the Eiffel Tower. Look behind you. It’s there peeking over the trees or down the length of the Seine.
7. Find Views Of The Statue Of Liberty With The Eiffel Tower
If you love to see and /or photograph the Eiffel Tower walk downstream to the next bridge, Pont Mirabeau. Walk across the bridge and enjoy the interplay between the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.
I hope you enjoy exploring Ile aux Cygnes and the area nearby.
Until next time,
More Paris Info…
If you love that village feel in Paris these areas might interest you:
Montmartre, much like Ile Saint- Louis, feels like a small village. This post on Montmartre leads you to the most popular sites as well as some lesser-known places on the hill.
La Butte aux Cailles, tucked away in the 13th arrondissement, is another place in Paris that has retained its village-like charm. My article on La Butte aux Cailles will lead you to discover some the area and its visually enticing street art.
Canal Saint-Martin is another place full of small restaurants, boutiques and plenty of character. Stroll the bridges of the canal under the chestnut trees and feel like a true Parisian. All the details on this “bobo” district are in this article on Canal Saint-Martin.
If you are looking for food suggestions, read about where to find the best croissants in Paris. There are also plenty of café suggestions for the Marais area in this post: Tips from a Local. And if you are exploring the area around Canal Saint-Martin, here are the best places to stop for a bite or to find the fixings for a picnic. And stop by these restaurants in le Marais.
Travelling to Paris alone? This article on navigating Paris alone is full of tips and tricks for the solo traveller.
This page has all my articles on Paris that will help you plan out your trip, including day trips from Paris. I hope you subscribed to my newsletter to get my free download.
If you are going further afield in France, make sure to check out my page on France.