Sunday, January 21, 2018


The Pont des Arts is a pedestrian bridge in central Paris that connects the Institut de France on the left bank with the Louvre museum on the right. People hang out on the bridge in nice weather along with street artists and musicians. The original bridge, built early in the 19th century, was removed in 1979 after the last of several barge collisions. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1984.

The Pont des Arts, with the Louvre behind, before the Love Lock fad became popular. Color slide, 199?.

In the late 2000s, couples began attaching padlocks to the bridge's rails as a gesture of love (which included tossing the lock's key into the river below). The fad continued until the city decided that the weight of the nearly one million padlocks was doing damage to the bridge, not to mention that many city residents thought the locks were unsightly. By 2015, all the locks had been removed from the rails by the city and replaced with glass panels so that locks could no longer be attached.

To get an idea of what the padlocks looked like, here's a photo I took in 2011 of another bridge, le Pont de l'Archevêché, a little further upstream near the Notre Dame cathedral. I don't know if those locks are still there.


  1. I think around the world padlocks have had to be removed. They certainly were here, and to my knowledge, have not reappeared.

  2. oh the pain.
    I agree the cleaned up bridge is better.

  3. andrew, thankfully, some fads do fade.

    michael, yes.

  4. I've noticed locks on bridges around Spain, although not to that level and I agree they should go.


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