Friday, June 30, 2023




I found enormous goodwill and warmth in the hearts of Parisians for Princess Diana.This was evident when a square was named after her and the Flame of Liberty sculpture over the Point de l'Alma tunnel  was converted to a Memorial site.   The Pont de l'Alma  tunnel (the notorious tunnel near Pont de l'Alma bridge  ) is located at Place de l'Alma in Paris, France . It is  a moving spot for views of Paris and also for the admirers of  Princess Diana who met with a fatal accident close to  it. The bridge was named to commemorate the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War, in which the Ottoman-Franco-British alliance achieved victory over the Russian army sometime during  1854. This bridge was inaugurated by Napoleon III on 2 April 1856.
The Metro station Alma - Marceau is near the north end of the bridge while the RER station Pont de l'Alma lies  near the south end of the bridge. 
As a matter of fact, the Alma tunnel is not a  tunnel but an underpass  for Pont de  l'Alma bridge. Pont pronounced as pon in French means a bridge. It is a tunnel that goes under the intersection to allow riverside traffic to continue without stopping.
This is the underpass or the tunnel where Princess Diana was critically injured and later succumbed to her injuries in the hospital. Diana's partner, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, also died in the crash. Neither the princess nor Dodi nor the tipsy driver were wearing seat belts when the car hit a side railing at a speed of 108 km per hour. The only survivor was Diana's security guard, Trevor Rees-Jones, the only  traveller with a seatbelt fastened to his body . The fatal accident took place during the early hours of 31st August 1997.The car crash that claimed the life of Princess Diana happened in the tunnel below the Flame of Liberty statue. The statue  has since become a memorial for her. The Flame of  Liberty statue   was erected in 1989  to celebrate the Franco-American friendship. Somewhat forgotten, the Flame of Liberty statue   benefited from a renewed interest when Diana, Princess of Wales, died on 31st  August 1997, in a car  a road accident that took place inside  the tunnel below the monument. 

 The 3.5 m tall Flame of Liberty is a full-sized gilded copper replica of the torch  portion of the 'Statue of Liberty ' guarding the entrance of New-York Harbour. The Flame of Liberty stands on a grey-and-black marble pedestal placed just above the exit of the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. The Memorial has the  Eiffel Tower in the background.
The Liberty Flame  (completed in 1987), at the bridge's north end has become an unofficial memorial to Princess  Diana. The square is now officially named Place Diana. The tunnel is known as an accident black spot. From 1982 to 1997 , there were more than  11 deaths in the area .There are love locks on the chains around the Flame of Liberty  statue. Further  pictures of Diana have been  placed at the base of the statue while graffiti notes to her  have also been written on the bridge next to it.

Zamaana Bade shauq se suun Raha tha,
Hum hi so gaye daastaan kehte kehte

( Avtar Mota)

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