Lover’s Bridge

by Erin

Everyone knows Paris as ‘the romance capital’ and the ‘city for lovers’. Some years ago, a new fad started when love-struck sweethearts began locking padlocks onto the chain link fence of the Pont des Arts, which crosses from the left bank to the Louvre museum. The love padlocks, called cadenas d’amour, multiplied until there were thousands of love tokens on the bridge, each engraved with a message of love. After locking the love padlock onto the fence, lovers toss the keys into the Seine river – a sign of their eternal devotion.

Since the craze took off, new sites have popped up all over the world. Sweethearts in China favour Mount Huang, where it is customary to ‘”lock your soul” together and then throw the key over the cliff to the valleys below.

Discover more romantic places in Paris...

After walking up the Eiffel Tower, climbing to the top of Montmartre, shopping on the Champs Elysées, and enjoying the life of luxury nobles at Chateau de Versailles, doesn’t a walk along the Seine with your dearest lover seem like a Paris holiday necessity?
While you are feeling the French elegance on both sides of the Seine River, do not forget to discover the lover’s bridge!

They say that on this bridge, if the lovers kiss each other, they’ll be happy together forever. Many artists, travellers, students and dreamers will often visit and sit on the bridge – maybe they’re looking for love too? So even if Parisians will never call the Pont des Arts the ‘lover’s bridge’, with the romantic Ile de la Cité in the background, the twinkling lights from the faraway Eiffel Tower, and a scenic view which hasn’t changed for over 200 years, there is no place better for romance.
Once you get a chance to experience this French romance in Paris, do NOT let it go! Sitting in a small café and drinking lattés with the one you love makes every single day like Valentine’s Day!

Paris Chérie says:
Find the Pont des Arts south of the Louvre Museum along Quai François Mitterrand between Pont du Carrousel and Pont Neuf.

50 Responses

  1. Carol Phelps

    This is a great little article! Just one thing – I wish people would date everything they put up on the web. You say this custom of the locks on the bridges started “two years ago” but is that 2 years before 2012, or 2 years before 1995?

    • Susan

      Back in May 2010 Paris’ town hall snipped off 2,000 locks. So the trend pre-dates that!

    • ann

      I visited France 32 years ago (in my youth) and locks were there then with the same romantic notion so it’s not new. What a shame to hear that Paris Town hall snipped off 2,000 locks in 2010 – that’s a lot of broken romances!

  2. This post teaches you very nicely about lover’s bridge. With the help of this post, all the youngsters can get interesting stories. This post is very famous in these days.

    • Susan

      It’s cute to visit – but don’t leave a trace of yours! Tell the story, as you say, of your visit.

  3. Pat Tisdel

    I was in Paris in October 2012, and I saw the manylocks on the lovers bridge. These locks are also placed on the bridge by newly weds. Very interesting place to visit

    • Erin

      I’ve seen a couple get engaged on the bridge :) It was very sweet and how romantic!…

  4. I simultaneously love and hate this idea. The romantic record keeper in me wishes I’d left a padlock any of the 4 times I visited Paris. The grumpy historian in me wishes people would stop junking up beautiful cities like Paris. :)

    • Susan

      Paris is not alone – now bridges in Moscow, Verona, Brussels and Mt Huang in China. I like a grumpy historian’s view!

      • Jillian

        Hi Susan, I am going to Brussels in May and am looking for the love locks there. Do you know where they are located?

        • Erin

          I’m not sure where to find the love locks in Brussels but if you’re coming to Paris it is the Pont des Arts in the 6th arrondissement. :)

    • Diego

      Trina, i get your point, but i suggest you relax a bit and do it if you have your significant other you visit Paris. The city is wonderfully historic, that means nothing if you cannot live it today.

    • Romantic

      Have you ever thought about that all history used to be present?… 500 years from now people will talk about all the romantic people who locked up their love in Paris in the early years of the millennium change. <3

  5. suzy

    oh, no…i think this is a beautiful idea! my honey and i will be leaving our lock in may.

    • Susan

      When I checked at Easter – you’ll be lucky to find a spot!

    • cashimoto

      Same here…on the 18th!

    • Allan

      You nmay see my partner and I doing the same thing in May, just heard of this and sounds perfect

  6. Great article – the memories come flooding back!

    I used the idea of love locks to propose to my girlfriend (now wife) during our trip to Paris in March 2012. Rather than the famous bridges, I chose a more intimate and personal spot to secure our own love lock in Paris.

    If you or any of your readers would like to read my story (and see a brief video), you can do so here: http://www.locks-of-love.com/acatalog/My-Story.html

    • Susan

      Hey Adam – your ARE the love bridge historian. Thanks for the romantic story and video.

  7. Mark B

    I met my girlfriend in Paris for valentines day 2013, I am from England and she is from Russia, we do not have much time together due to work commitments so we decided to meet up. I had it in my mind and the ring in my pocket that I would propose to her up the Eiffel Tower but on that day it was closed due to bad weather. We set off walking around Paris and came across this bridge. After seeing all the locks and reading some of the inscriptions I knew it was the right moment. THE ANSWER WAS YES :) x

    • Erin

      Such a sweet story Mark!!! Félicitations (that means congratulations!) Wish you two the best!

  8. O.

    I was born and raised in Paris, and I can assure you that there is no “Lover’s Bridge” here… Do you mean the Pont de l’Archevêché, or the Pont des Arts? Both are covered in padlocks, much to the dismay of many Parisians. I understand that these padlocks symbolize love for many romantic couples, but it’s a little bit of a nonsense for most French people, who first and foremost value freedom in love.

    I also find it sad that the beautiful Pont des Arts lost its name and own symbol in the process. People used to come here to have picnics, play music, paint and indulge in their bohemian fantasy for the day. Back then it was easy to make new friends or, indeed, fall in love with a total stranger. It was all about the secret and the sharing, not about tokens of love and public exposition.

    • Susan

      Agree! Love is really blind when it turns out that the symbol of choice – clamping a padlock on a bridge – is in fact an act of vandalism.

    • pedro

      Yes There is a lover’s bridge, two of them actually (Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archevêché). If you choose to ignore this and lament something from 300 years ago I can only suggest this to you. Time moves on. Get with it or get over it. Central Paris is basically a city that was re-invented by Napoleon III in the 1860’s: Haussemann designed and built everything in the same style in central Paris. What it was before that who knows, it is not the Paris of today.

      What has been created with the locks is a new age phenomena and should be embraced along side the Orsee, the Louvre and all the other interesting and not so interesting things to experience when in the “city of love”.

      It adds another dimension to the aura of the city and it gives people a unique intimate experience shared between them.

      Cutting the locks was probably one of the stupidest things the paris government has done in a long time, the outcry from just about everyone was overwhelming and necessary.

      If you really want to have a complete and unsullied Paris (or its other name; Hong Kong jr.) experience as a resident, then I strongly suggest you start on the ground floor and remove all the drug addicts, the apathetic metro attendants, the automated washrooms that are few and far between and the Asian tourists who are ruining your city and everyone else’s travel experience.

      then party on dude

  9. My husband and I also had our lovelock experience however, not in Paris but in Wroclaw, Poland.

    In Poland, there’s also a bridge famous for its lovelocks.

    Here’s my story if you’d care to read my blog about it. Hehe! Peace out! =)

    http://faraplayedhere.com/index.php?link=article&id=76

    • Susan

      Oh la la. So the Polish are just as romantic as the French! We loved your blog.

  10. Jemma

    Hi all I am going to Disneyland Paris in a couple of weeks and would like to take my other half to the love bridge in pont de arts, does anyone know how to get there from disneyland

    • Erin

      Hi Jemma! It’s easy to get there… just take the RER A from Disneyland towards Paris (all trains will stop in Paris) and get off at Chatlet, transfer to line 7 (the light pink line) and go one station to Pont Neuf. From here, follow the Seine west about 5 minutes on foot to the Pont des Arts! Take pics of your lock on the bridge and send it to us info@parischerie.com! Bisous chérie!

  11. pedro

    The bridge of love in Paris is phenomenal, My partner and I placed a lock on the bridge just like everyone else. It is now a landmark that cannot be missed and has become an intrinsic part of the rive seine and the bridges that span it.

  12. Laura

    We are leaving tonight for Paris and i have my lock packed away! I hope there is room for our us! Cannot wait to see the bridge of love!

  13. Sharon

    My daughter just phoned me from Paris to say her boyfriend had just proposed to her on the Pont des Artes…of course we knew he was planning to ask her, as he visited us before they departed, to ask for our blessing. She said it was the most romantic moment of her life after the most amazing dinner of her life. I’m sorry Parisians find the custom so offensive…especially since it symbolizes such a magical moment in the lives of so many.

    • Erin

      What a lovely story! Congratulations to them both!

  14. Michelle

    An image of this bridge together with the words “hint, hint”, was all it took. I met my soul mate Tera on Facebook. While not looking, we became friends, fell deeply in love and are now headed to Paris, in love, to get married on this very bridge. Thank you to all the hopeless romantics, who just like us, are proud of the passion we share, for each other and for the city of romance. We too want to leave a little of ourselves there. It’s one way of saying “our love, was and remains here”

  15. Jo

    So sad that no matter what people do, they are always thought to be destroying some remnant from the past. So let the storms of life and time tear down the bridges, but let them do it with the locks.

    • Erin

      The French said this about the Eiffel Tower and Louvre pyramid…thought to both be a terrible eyesores. Now, they are loved monuments that define the city… the same may soon be said about the Love Bridge perhaps?

  16. james

    hi , i’m going france this november . can anyone let me know where is this place at located? issit very near eiffel tower?

    • Erin

      Hi James – look up in the comments a little further to find exact directions :)

  17. Nicole

    Im going to France in the summer without my boyfriend and want to put on a lock for my boyfriend and i but I’ve heard there is a difference between Pont des Arts and the Pont de l’Archevêché love locks, i know Pont des Arts is for committed love and Pont de l’Archevêché is for a lover but can someone elaborate on that for me?

    • Gerard

      Sure, Pont de l’Archeveche is for lovers who are into SM and kinky stuff; pont des Arts is for swingers looking to form love triangles. But many tourists don’t know that. Happy to help.

  18. Ian and Nicola

    My wife and I placed our lock on the bridge yesterday to mark our 9th wedding anniversary, it was beautiful.

    • jackie

      any tips on where to stay?

  19. jackie

    has anyone any good suggestions upon where to stay in order to see the sights, especially the Bridge of Secrets/love/locks? Somewhere reasonable and clean and central?

  20. I’m SO glad I found your blog! I have a dream and it’s somewhere in Europe. I have to catch it before it’s too late :)

    • Erin

      Dreams come true in Paris… follow yours here 😉

  21. Gerard

    To those who think the locks stay forever, think about it: there’s people placing locks there every single day and night. And the bridge is only so long. If you think the only conclusion is that they’re regularly cut off, you’re right!
    They’re cut off every 2-6 months, and by then they’re about as numerous as on the pics. from what I heard, if you place one in the summertime, it will only last a couple of weeks, as there’s a surge during tourist season.

    The idea is kinda cute, but the fact is, the weight is a big problem when fully loaded. The structure is fine with regular people walking across, but with people standing around, plus the weight of all those locks, the structure is impacted in a way it becomes dangerous to let it go on.

  22. Stephen

    I want to do this when we go to Paris – are you in ?

  23. Just read: “In March 2014, two American women living in Paris launched an online no-love-locks campaign to remove the padlocks from the bridge. They say that the bridge became physically damaged by the weight of the locks (93 metric tons of metal), by the rust that passes onto the River Seine and by the environmental damage to the river from the keys that are thrown in and rusting. The campaign received more than 1600 signatures in one month.”
    Don’t get me wrong of course I am for love.
    But … Do we have to have material locks to lock our love?

    • Erin

      That’s the big debate, Emrick! Read our most recent article:

  24. parisianlover

    I’m Parisian and I have found interesting tips about romantic things to do in Paris : lover brigde, cruises, romantic walks, dining, Montmartre quarter …
    http://www.still-in-paris.com/what-to-do-in-paris/romantic-things-to-do-in-paris/

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