Couples who are in love go to Paris, not just to enjoy the romantic atmosphere of the City but also to seal their love forever. They will stroll across the Pont d’Amour or rather the Pont des Arts, as that is its actual name. Once the couple have found a nice spot, they’ll take out their padlock, lock it to the railings and throw away the key in to the River Seine. Their love is safely locked away for eternity.
That is, until the Mayor of Paris controversially decided to put a stop to the love locks madness and remove the bridge’s railings.
Since 2008 couples have been hanging locks on the Pont des Arts in Paris which thereafter became known as the Bridge of Love. What exactly started this movement is not clear, but it is not a French tradition. And it doesn’t just happen in Paris; several other bridges in European cities have become the target of couples with their ‘love locks’. You’ll find other ‘Love Bridges’ in Prague, Florence and Moscow.
Pont des Arts
This bridge was especially made for pedestrians between 1802 and 1804. It was the first metal bridge in Paris and had nine arches spanned across the Seine. Over the years the bridge suffered considerable damage and in the late 20th century it was reconstructed and now features only seven arches. The Pont des Arts links the ‘Institut de France’, a public academic institute which aims to protect Arts, Literature and Science, and the central square of ‘Palais du Louvre’, the Louvre Palace and Museum.
The Bridge is also part of UNESCO heritage, as the entire Parisian riverfront was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1991.
In the summer of 2015 the Mayor of Paris decided that measures needed to be taken after part of the wired railings had collapsed in 2014 and safety concerns of Parisians grew. Due to the heavy weight of thousands of locks, the bridge railings could no longer handle the heavy burden. Thus, in order to protect the safety of visitors and preserve the Parisian heritage, the locks had to be removed.
The bridge was closed for a week, probably leaving many couples disappointed, while panels with works of several artists were placed, before eventually installing the glass panels that now make up the railings of Pont des Arts. The City took tens of thousands of locks away which equalled a weight of around 45 tonnes.
Will these measures last?
Or will lovers move to yet another bridge to ‘lock their love’…
Featured image: By AHert (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo 1: By Berlinuno (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo 2: By Guilhem Vellut from Paris, France (Pont des Arts @ Paris) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo 3: By Guilhem Vellut from Paris, France (Love locks @ Pont des Arts @ Paris) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons