Lovelock on the Pont des Arts, Paris

C+C padlock on the Pont des Arts


After a busy few months of writing-class and stuff-clearing, travel is again on the horizon and we’re moving into trip mode.  The majority of time will be spent with our families in the U.S. and England, but there will be a few precious days in Paris for ‘just us’. We hope to return later this year for a longer stay.

As always, I’m already dreaming of being in Paris. When there, we often find ourselves walking across the Pont des Arts, and next month we’ll look for something we left there on our last trip.

Beautiful Bridge, Magnificent Setting

Pont des Arts, facing Institut de France

The Pont des Arts is a pedestrian bridge over the Seine in the heart of Paris, between the central square of the Louvre and the Institut de France. It was originally built in 1802-1804; gradually deteriorated due to war and boat collisions; closed after collapsing in the late 1970’s; and was rebuilt and reopened in 1984.

For many Parisians as well as visitors, this bridge is a favourite. Its unique location offers a spectacular view up and down the river, particularly looking toward Ile de la Cité and Notre Dame. Whether you’re admiring the view while walking across the bridge during the day, sitting on a bench having a picnic in the long summer twilight, or kissing a lover at midnight, the bridge seems always to radiate an air of magic and romance.

The Pont des Arts is considered a ‘studio en plein air’, an open-air studio, and attracts many artists for its striking location and views.

On our last visit, Clive and I noticed many padlocks on the bridge. We couldn’t imagine what they were for, but in looking a bit closer, it seemed they all had couples’ names and a date on them. It wasn’t difficult to figure out they were a symbol of love.

In this photo of Clive on the Pont des Arts, you can see two padlocks on the right-hand side of the picture.

Clive on the Pont des Arts

Visual Clutter or Romantic Token?

When we first saw the padlocks, we wondered if they constituted some sort of visual clutter or ‘defacement’ of this much-loved bridge. Having discussed it, we concluded the padlocks are clean and harmless and, in their own way, enhance the romantic aura of the bridge.

Padlocks on the Pont des Arts

Opting for Romance

We’re often away from Paris, and we like to be romantic, so when we thought about having our own padlock on the Pont des Arts, we decided ‘let’s do it.’

Where else to go next but BHV? Clive tried to accommodate my love of things purple but alas, we couldn’t find a purple padlock. We settled instead for a cow one, wanting something unique.

Clive ‘engraved’ C+ C 2009 on our padlock and filled it in with a permanent marker (which has now probably faded).

Engraved cow padlock

How many lovers have a cow padlock in Paris? On a crisp November day, we attached ours to the Pont des Arts and symbolically threw the key into the Seine.

If for some reason the city decides to remove the padlocks so be it, but in the meantime, we look forward to checking out ‘our’ padlock next month.

C+C padlock on the Pont des Arts

Cheers and if any one happens to see it before we get there, could you please let us know?

21 Responses

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed these. I’ll have to keep an eye out next time I’m there.

  2. How sweet is that! I love the lovelock idea and now I’m thinking I need to take one when John and I go back. Clive did a great job personalizing yours.

  3. So cute!! I saw a lot of locks in Cinque Terre in Riomaggore.. I’ll send the link…
    I should make a trip up to Paris with Barbara and have a look!
    Can’t wait to see you and Clive when you’re back… Maybe we can take a stroll in the Parc de Sceaux this time…
    The weather has been GORGEOUS for three days now, Carolyn.. I’m sooo happy!
    Hugs to you both,

  4. Hi Carolyn, that is such a cute idea, and I LOVE your lock .. If I get back soon, will have to have a look. I am sure Leesa will be up there looking soon 🙂

    I am trying to arrange a trip so that Arni and I can go over, not much chance at the moment though.. Not until November, that is tooooo long to wait..

    Take care I do hope that we meet up again.
    Hi to Clive too.

  5. I love the cow padlock!! 🙂 I just asked my significant other if we can head there, maybe next weekend, to see if it is still there.

    I really like this tradition. It’s a moving one.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and I am so glad to have found yours, too!

    (an alien parisienne)

  6. very cool, the C+C “C” (cow) lock!

  7. Thanks, all! Linda, this was the first time we’d noticed them, too, but some look like they’ve been there a while.

    Elizabeth, hope you and John do add one when you visit – and thanks for noticing Clive did indeed to a good job. It’s hard to scratch/engrave one of those things!

    Leesa, hope to see you too and we definitely have to get to Parc de Sceaux one of these days. Anne, maybe our paths will cross next time you and Arni are visiting.

    Karin, welcome! and thanks for your comment – hope to ‘see’ you again and maybe you and your SO will place your own lovelock there 🙂

    Kim, thanks and glad you like the cow 🙂

    Cheers all.

  8. Cheers to you both,
    Long time no see but I’am busy, just like you both are.
    Life is sending me challenges and problems galore…

    Aaawwhh, that is so beautiful 🙂
    Now we all know about your little Lover’s secret in Paris. The cow is adorable!! “Meuh”, as it would say in French.

    I think that your hearts wil always be in Paris…

  9. Barbara, you always ‘get it’ so totally — thanks for the ‘meuh’ and for your great understanding.

    Cheers to ya 🙂

  10. Brilliant post, thanks! I’m just back from Paris myself, and like you, I fell in love with the touching romance on the Pont des Arts. Next time I’ll bring my own padlock for sure!

  11. Thanks, photito! I hope you put your own padlock on the Pont des Arts on your next trip 🙂

    Cheers and I look forward to visiting your blog – happy travels!

  12. Hi again, I know I’ve made a comment here before, but I forgot to say that YES, I did see your cow padlock. And it most definitely put a smile on my face:-)

    Shame I didn’t photograph it…. I did photograph quite a few, but was too concerned with catching the setting sun and the Eiffel Tower between the railings to choose my padlock carefully enough. Next time!
    Bon voyage! xx

  13. Photito, thanks SO much for this — I’m so pleased you saw our padlock and glad it made you smile.

    I especially appreciate your letting me know because it appears the city has removed most if not all of the padlocks — see updated post here

    Cheers and thanks again 🙂

  14. Hello!
    Since 2005, we visit every year on our wedding day Paris. Last time we were the first time on the Pont des Arts and saw the lovelocks.
    Yesterday I looked in the Internet for informations about the locks and thereby I visited your site. But I also found a newspaper article which says that someone should have removed the locks. Here is the link:; art1016, 2910128

    At the weekend we are going to make a short trip to Paris. There I will look for your lovelock. We will also take a lovelock with us, to continue the “tradition” .

    Greetings Guddy

  15. Hello Guddy, and thank you for your comment and visit to my blog!

    How wonderful that you visit Paris every year since 2005 on your wedding day – that is fantastic! 🙂

    I hope you do put your own lovelock on the Pont des Arts.

    Thanks too for the article link; I had also seen a report and posted an update at

    Unfortunately, our little cow lovelock does not seem to be there any more, but I am happy to know you will add another lovelock to the bridge soon.

    Cheers and have a wonderful weekend in Paris!

    Thanks again for your visit and I hope you’ll return soon.

  16. […] is that I read a post at fellow blogger Carolyn’s site this past April: My Sydney Paris Life: Lovelock on the Pont des Arts, and after reading it thought, “What a romantic idea,” and, “I’d like to […]

  17. Where did you buy the cow padlock from? Thanks!

  18. Hello Meia, and thanks for your question. We bought the padlock in the huge homeware/hardware basement of BHV department store, but I think in recent years only the single-colour ones are available.

    On our most recent visit to Paris this past June/July, I felt very saddened and guilty over the way the padlocks have now destroyed much of the bridge wires/siding. I hope to do a separate post on this sometime, acknowledging that we contributed to this tragic situation along with other mostly well-meaning visitors.

    I hope you enjoy Paris, wherever you are. Cheers.

  19. Hello, I’m so happy to see the beautiful photos of the Pont des Arts BEFORE the “love locks” destroyed the bridge. Sadly, it looks nothing like that now:
    Time for a new tradition for lovers…hopefully one that doesn’t ruin this beautiful city! 🙂

  20. Heather, thanks for your comment – much appreciated.

    As per my comment last year (directly above yours), since my early posts about this, I’ve felt increasingly sad and guilty about having contributed to what is now a terrible situation. It seemed romantic at the time (though even back then, I had slightly mixed feelings), but is indeed out of control and destroying the treasured bridge(s) of the Seine.

    The Paris city council is brilliant at managing all manner of difficult challenges, and I’m praying a solution will be found. Until then, I support the two LIsas in their positive initiative.

    Cheers and thanks for visiting! I enjoy your website very much.

  21. […] There were just a few love locks on the bridge when she attached her cute cow padlock – engraved with the couple’s initials – and posted photos on her blog. […]

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