Archives For Paris bridge


John Pearce  —  September 24, 2014

Followup to my post of Aug. 30

For five years, lovers in Paris have demonstrated their eternal fealty by attaching padlocks to the Pont des Arts, an elegant old footbridge that connects the Louvre Museum to the Institut de France across the Seine, then throwing the key in the river — 700,000 of them so far.

Over time, they’ve multiplied like rats and spread to other bridges and sites. And they pose a structural threat to the bridge. Here’s what a full section of the fence looks like (it weighs a thousand pounds, and 15 sections have failed completely or had to be removed because of damage):


Photo by John Pearce

Don’t lean on it the next time you visit.

There’s been a publicity campaign against them, and in recent months the City of Paris has had to cover some of the panels with plywood to keep more from being added. The plywood, of course, has become the substitute for the locks — visiting lovers now autograph it and, Paris being Paris, the more assertive graffiti artists also visit. As a result, the bridge is much less welcoming to lovers or padlock vendors.

Here’s the view this afternoon. The crowd in the background is around the remaining locks.


Photo by John Pearce

The City of Paris announced on its web site a couple of days ago that it’s testing glass panels to replace the fencing that’s been there for years (and which provided somewhere to attach the locks). French architects do great things with glass, but this will be a challenge.

Here’s a view of the test panels, from the city’s web site:

Glass panel testing on Pont des Arts  Paris fr

Photo courtesy of the City of Paris



Twenty-six years ago, François Pasquier launched a tradition in Paris that has spread around the world. It’s the annual “Dîner en Blanc,” or White Dinner Party, and its basic rules are simple: Attendees must be invited; they learn the location only an hour before the dinner; they must arrive on public transportation (or chartered bus); they bring their own table, chairs, and dinner; and everyone leaves at the same time, taking with them everything they brought.

Here’s the history of the dinner, from the official web site

This year’s dinner was last night (June 12) at the Pont Alexandre. In past years it’s been held all over Paris, from the Louvre to the Madeline to the Eiffel Tower. It takes a big space — recently, there have been 15,000 attendees.

The Daily Mail has a good story about it. And the Paris Daily Photo blog is where I learned about it. Thanks.

As of this writing there’s only one video up on Youtube showing the 2014 dinner.


Here’s a video from a couple of years ago that includes more background: