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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pont des Arts

The Pont des Arts is a pedestrian bridge which spans the Seine in the heart of Paris.  A tradition has developed in the last few years whereby lovers come to the bridge and pledge their love by attaching a padlock to the railing and throwing the key into the river below.

My son Philippe and daughter-in-law Rachel became engaged on the Pont des Arts in 2007. A few years later, in 2011, they returned to Paris and carved their names into a padlock which they attached to the almost-empty bridge.


I went back to the bridge last week to see if I could still find their padlock. I did. You can see how the tradition has grown in just a few short years!

Forgot to bring a lock? No problem. Itinerant entrepreneurs offer solutions.
And entertainment

The bridge attracts lovers of all ages and all nationalities
However, the railings have become so heavily laden that the city of Paris worries about the weight of all that metal damaging the railings and even the bridge itself. At least one section has already collapsed under the weight of all the locks.

Now you know where to find one of the most romantic locations in Paris.


  1. If love doesn't conquer all, surely the weight of its expression will!

  2. Hi Elaine--It's Jan here, from the online writing class a few years back! Following your blog, enjoying it, and admiring your spirit and style. My daughter, who now has her PhD in French history and is married to a Parisian, abhors this new and growing tradition. It disgraces the beauty of the bridge, she says. Having seen it myself last summer, I agree with her. Too much tourism can be harmful, don't you think? My daughter suggested we start a rebellion and recruit people willing to gather en masse some dark night and cut the locks. Too drastic and perhaps impossible, but interesting to imagine!

  3. Tout ce qui peut apporter un moment de bonheur est bon à prendre

  4. Hi Elaine, Wow! It's amazing to see the multitude of locks that have been added since Philippe and I placed ours. I really can't believe that you could still find it in the mass. Regardless of what happens with them all, I will always treasure the memory of the picnic we had on the bridge while preparing our lock, and the resulting photos. One of my many stunning Paris memories...
    Love, Rachel