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Pont des Arts | Shimmering Weighty Love

8.31.2014
Paris Pont des Arts
Paris Pont des Arts
Paris Pont des Arts
Paris Pont des Arts
Paris Pont des Arts

What do you think about the padlocks on the Pont des Arts, this iconic metallic footbridge in the heart of Paris? To many, they resemble walls of adoration symbolizing everlasting love and to others simply an eyesore that pollute the city views and the River Seine below (the keys from the padlocks get thrown into the river)...

In either case, the Pont des Arts is suffering from the shimmering yet weighty force of love. 

Since its debut in 1804 under Napoleon I, Pont des Arts has had its share of turmoil - bombarded from both World Wars, hits from river traffic and a barge that nearly collapsed half the structure in 1979 (and most recently, a railing that fell this past summer from the massive weight of the locks). 

The current day Pont des Arts, rebuilt in 1984 from all its damages and deficiencies, is an identical reconstruction of the original design, albeit a few structural changes that make the bridge more sound and more aligned with its neighbor to the east, the Pont Neuf.

There is now a NoLoveLocks petition to stop romantics from locking their love onto the railings of Pont des Arts as well as other bridges around Paris (along with the Eiffel Tower!). 

Despite all the controversy, whenever I step onto the Pont des Arts, I can't help thinking this:

One thing will never change, and that is the frisson of nostalgia, the romantic flush that overcomes you when you stop on the Pont des Arts and gaze upriver towards the Ile de la Cité, the historic center of Paris that was the home of kings until the 14th century... (essayist Gina Doggett)


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21 comments

  1. Your photos are beautiful and take me back to my own visit there last spring. Maybe the locks are also a symbol of the romance and beauty of Paris.

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  2. I love the first shot with the shadows! I've been reading a lot about this 'love lock' trend which is posing a serious problem in cities across the world.

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  3. I like your shadow shot and your black and whites of the bridge. I do see the point of some saying that the locks block the view and after so many, they do get heavy.

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  4. I have heard of this before but I love the back story. I didn't know that there had been a near collapse but somehow it's not really surprising, is it? Great photos.

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  5. I've always liked seeing the photos, but the reality of the weight of love is a different story! I've always thought romance should be light and less static than the locks seem to suggest.

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  6. Looks amazing... I found somethings similar in Japan...

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  7. The fitst time I saw this locks was in New York and I had no idea what they meant! They are neirher pretty nor useful , on the contrary.
    But they do make wonderful objects to photograph and your pictures are perfect. Beautiful light and shadows.

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  8. Beautiful shots! (Although I do feel sad about the stress of the locks on the old bridges.)

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  9. Lovely!
    Please share your post at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2014/09/shell-game-linky.html

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  10. I'm just back from Venice, and they also ask for NoLoveLocks. I totally agree - but when I see your pictures, it's just wonderful.

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  11. Looks pretty but... I don't know! Your photos are so beautiful and that Love lock idea is very sweet. :)

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  12. I have heard a lot about this place. Would love to see it for myself

    Mollyxxx

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  13. Pretty view and our pictures are great! I didn't know this bridge was that old, I hope they find a way for lovers to keep locking their padlocks without all that damage.

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  14. Beautiful! I think it would be fun to add a padlock because of tradition, but I wonder if there will come a point where it has to stop.

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  15. That is an amazing number of locks. And an amazing expression of generations and legions of love!

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  16. Thank you so much for your comments ladies :) ... I forgot to mention that the campaign to stop adding padlocks to Pont des Arts is encouraging lovers instead to shoot "selfies" on the bridge. Perhaps the city would allow the locks that are already there to remain. Hopefully it will appease folks on both sides of the issue...

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  17. Wonderfull
    Best regard from Belgium.
    * http://retriever-louisettesblogs.blogspot.com/2014/09/costumes-de-legendes-20-ans-de-creation.html
    Honors costumes Opera with the textiles museum of Lyon
    * http://louisette.eklablog.com/-p842116
    Mons in Belgium My city

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  18. I have such mixed emotions on this issue. I sure can understand why someone would want to add their love to the wall, but it is an eyesore in this beautiful spot. Too bad, it couldn't be put somewhere else where it wouldn't be an issue with the city.

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    Replies
    1. Hello! I have to say I agree with you: I can see where all this is coming from, but in the end these locks are spoiling a beautiful piece of art...

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  19. Way.
    Cool.
    Please come visit image.in.ing each week - today's linky is at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2014/09/bzzz-linky.html

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