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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Paris bridge named after feminist
Simone de Beauvoir footbridge
The 37th bridge over the Seine bears the name of a literary icon
A footbridge in honour of the French writer and leading feminist Simone de Beauvoir has been opened in Paris.

Designed in the form of two steel intersecting curves, it is part of a regeneration effort in south-eastern parts of the French capital.

This is the city's 37th bridge and the first to be named after a woman.

De Beauvoir - the lifelong companion of existentialist philosopher Jean Paul-Sartre - made a name for herself with the 1949 book The Second Sex.

The bridge stretches 304 m (1,000ft) across the Seine near the Francois Mitterrand national library.

It spans one of the widest points of the river without the support of pillars, comprising several lanes for pedestrians and cycles.

Location of the new bridge in Paris
The structure links the Bercy entertainment area on the right bank to the south of the river, which the city authorities have long been trying to redevelop.

The name of the new bridge was decided well before Dietmar Feichtinger, the Austrian architect, had submitted his design.

But he believes it was a good choice.

"The bridge links with the French national library so it was obvious to look for a woman linked to literature," he told Reuters agency.

"And Simone de Beauvoir was very fitting because of the type of person she was - very modern and very much ahead of her time," he said.

Both de Beauvoir and Sartre were part of the left bank intellectual elite. She died in 1986, six years after him.




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