The Pont des Arts Paris Love Lock Bridge

The Pont des Arts bridge Lock Bridge April 2013 -001The first thing Natalie and I did after checking into Hotel Verneuil in Paris was walk a few blocks in the hot sun to the Pont des Arts bridge, located near the Louvre. What makes this bridge special, besides its gorgeous views of the River Seine, is that couples have been coming here from all over the world to show their undying love.

The Pont des Arts bridge Lock Bridge April 2013 -005They do it by placing a lock with their names written on it on one of the fences and then throw the key into the river. I liked the whole concept except the fact that you have to throw your key into the river. Mainly, because I didn’t want to pollute the river and secondly, I didn’t want to get arrested for what is essentially littering.

The Pont des Arts bridge Lock Bridge April 2013 -007According to ABC News, the legend surrounding the bridge and the padlock tradition began “when a schoolmistress named Nada would meet her lover, a[n] army officer named Relja, on the bridge where they pledged their love in the days before World War I.” The article goes on to explain the tradition like this: “The soldier went on to fight the Germans at the Thessaloniki front in Greece, where he found a new love and married her. Nada is said to have died of sadness and grief. Nada’s tale of grief inspired young couples determined not to abandon one another to begin writing their names on padlocks and chaining them to the fence of the bridge where Nada and Relja swore their devotion. Serb couples then sealed their promises by tossing the keys into the clear spring-like Vrnjacka River below. It remained a local phenomenon until Desanka Maksimovic, a noted Serb poet who died in 1993, heard the story of the bridge’s lore and wrote one of her most beautiful poems “A Prayer for Love.” The poem has stoked the romance of the bridge.”

The Pont des Arts bridge Lock Bridge April 2013 -008I’m not sure if the Parisian police plan on continuing to cut down the locks – they’ve done it in the past but they don’t seem to be cracking down on it. There are multiple street vendors selling locks on and around the bridge. And now there are two bridges in Paris covered with these locks. But be careful which bridge you choose: one is for your committed love and the other, Pont de l’Archevêché, is for your lover.

Which bridge would you choose?

Comments

  1. Don’t be such a weenie!
    There are a lot better way to save the planet than not throwing a key in the Seine!

  2. I was recently in Paris and walked on this bridge — had no idea it was an international phenomenon, but remember thinking it was cool! And, we got engaged that day just a few blocks away, right beside the Seine River!

  3. This is such a lovely tradition – we’ll have to make it a part of our plans for an upcoming Paris trip! Thanks for the photos and the description.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Please don’t pollute the beautiful Seine.

  5. Please don’t encourage this awful tradition. It’s more about tourism than love! And thoroughly hated by the French who love their architecture — and by foreigners who’d rather see the architecture preserved rather than burdened with excess weight.

Trackbacks

  1. MP says:

    [...] Eiffel Tower/ Louvre: Last but not least, I’m lumping in all the sightseeing musts into one category. I can’t wait for Jon to see the Eiffel Tower at night, walk along the Champs-Élysées, observe the traffic at the Arch de Triomphe,  admire the Notre Dame Cathedral and put a lock on the Pont des Arts bridge. [...]

  2. [...] to be a trend started either in Italy or Serbia and then it spread to other European cities.  This article describes how a young Serbian couple pledged their love on a bridge (in Serbia, not Paris) before [...]

  3. […] in Paris. We then walked down the Seine and stopped at Pont des Arts (which is known to many as Love Lock Bridge) and learned about how much many Parisians dislike this bridge. We then popped over to the Louvre […]

  4. […] to Europe but this time with my beautiful bride. We spent three nights in Monaco and four nights in Paris at one of the world’s swankiest hotels … The Four Seasons Hotel George V. Another highlight of […]

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