My first day in Paris last September, was spent strolling around the city before the others arrived. There were a few of us who decided to venture out to see what we could find. We ended up on the bridge Pont de l’Archeveche, where the lover’s locks hang in masses from the bridges mesh walls. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Love Lock Bridges, I wanted to share it with you. The old saying goes that lovers write their names on a pad lock attach the lock to the bridges wall and toss the key into the Seine to pledge their undying love forever. The Parisians cannot remember how it began, but find it rather irritating. Sentimental folks like myself, find it rather charming, but I was unaware of the how the weight of locks may cause damage to the structure. Couples visit from all over the world and place their declaration of love on the bridges, Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archevêché.
(click the title to continue reading to find out the different in the two bridges…)
At first, lovers were discreet and would hide at night to place the locks on the bridges, but as it became accepted, the locks would be placed in the daylight. When I was there people were on the bridge selling cheap locks, for those who didn’t remember to bring their own locks, complete with markers for applying the names of the lovers.
It is said that one must be careful on which bridge your love is pledged, because there is a distinct difference in the meaning of pledges made on the two bridges. The Pont des Arts is where committed love is pledged and Pont de l’Archevêché is where love is pledged for a lover. Interestingly, there is more room on the Pont des Arts than the Pont de l’Archeveche.
I found it really interesting to survey the mass wall of locks for interesting shapes, sizes and colors. It is obvious that many travel prepared to participate in the ritual. There were some really beautiful locks with intricate engravings as well as cheap locks with sharpie marker scribblings. The combination of the various locks made for a beautiful artistic wall.
Last year, the locks on the Ponts des Arts near the Louvre were cut off reportedly by the French government but as love would have it, seemingly returned as if they had never been removed in record time. The French feel that true love isn’t safely locked away, but rather set free to flourish, so the French find this entire act fruitless. What do you think? Do you think this is sentimental or silly? I will tell you it made for an interesting stroll on my first day in Paris and when I return to Paris I plan to go back.