Paris's Beauvoir bridge gets the Millennium shakes

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The Independent Online

The newest bridge over the Seine has fallen victim to a trembling sickness reminiscent of the problems encountered by the Millennium footbridge in London six years ago.

The elegant and revolutionary Simone de Beauvoir footbridge in eastern Paris, which opened last Thursday, has only a faint tremor and will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.

But the problem is a further irritation for the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, as he tries to attract new visitors this summer to a relatively unknown stretch of the Seine.

The footbridge and a new, floating swimming pool were to be the centrepieces of the extension of the French capital's hugely successful urban beach, Paris Plage, to the far reaches of the Left Bank of the river this July and August.

The swimming pool, the first on the Seine for 20 years, opened on 3 July and had to be closed three days later. To the fury of M. Delanoe, the air-conditioning failed in the gym and scores of tiles became unstuck in the pool. The pool reopened just in time for the official opening of Paris Plage, renamed Paris Plages this year, to take account of the new stretch of beach.

The problem with the new footbridge, named after the great feminist writer and philosopher and designed by the Austrian architect, Dietmar Feichtintger, is also said to be a nuisance, rather than a calamity. A faint trembling as pedestrians cross has been identified by engineers. It is scarcely perceptible, but a meeting will be held tomorrow to agree modifications, possibly including the fitting of two extra shock absorbers.

Similar problems afflicted the Millennium footbridge in London in 2000, and they were solved in a similar way.

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