Travel: Europe

Pont de l’Archevêché: A Love Lock Bridge In Paris

November 22, 2013

Pont de l'Archevêché: A Love Lock Bridge In Paris

As we were leaving Notre-Dame Cathedral, we came across one of my favorite romantic French customs – the love lock bridges. The story behind the love lock bridges is that if you come to Paris with your lover or your spouse, you must write your names on a lock and add it to the bridge. Then you lock your love forever by tossing the keys into the river below. It’s an extremely popular tradition as evidenced by the burgeoning number of locks on Pont de l’Archevêché, the love lock bridge behind the cathedral. The bridge has become so laden with locks, that people have begun to lock their locks to other people’s locks. (I don’t even want to speculate what that would mean for their relationship.)

Pont de l'Archevêché: A Love Lock Bridge In Paris
Pont de l'Archevêché: A Love Lock Bridge In Paris

Supposedly the only way to break a bond with someone you’ve placed a lock on the bridge with is to dive into the Seine and find the key that unlocks your lock. An impossible task considering the amount of keys that must line the bottom of the river.

This particular bridge is meant for lovers, which might explain why there are so many locks on it, but there is also a love lock bridge reserved for those a bit more committed in their love – Pont des Arts, near the Institut de France.

Pont de l'Archevêché: A Love Lock Bridge In Paris

I know you’re going to ask…to which bridge did we add our lock?

The answer is neither. After eleven years together, I feel pretty confident we’ll be both lovers and committed to each other for a long, long time. Besides, if everything does go pear-shaped, I don’t want to have to jump in the Seine to find our key. I’m a dreadful swimmer.

Website: Pont de l’Archevêché
Address: 5th Arrondissement, 75005 Paris

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  • http://www.cestmoisaralouise.com/ Sara Louise

    I don’t want to jump in the Seine either! ;)

  • http://www.bonnieroseblog.co.uk/ Bonnie Rose

    Another reason to return is to put a lock on that bridge. I loved seeing it in person but we didnt bring one. Such a cool thing to visit around the world are the lock bridges.

  • http://alexfahey.blogspot.com/ Alex Fahey

    Love it! I think if I go there with Matt I’d put a lock on the bridge just to be a bit sappy. :) There’s supposed to be something like that here in Korea.

  • Keith Wynn

    Oh wow that’s one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen!

  • stephanie

    I love that you didn’t do it. I can’t imagine what the bottom of the Seine must look like with all those keys!

  • http://www.domesticfashionista.com/ Ashley | Domestic Fashionista

    When I saw you were in Paris I was so excited! It’s been on my to do list to check in on all your posts. We are *hoping* to head to Paris next October for our 5 year anniversary and last hoorah before *thinking* about trying to start a family! I figured if I can start planning almost a year ahead, I have a good chance of making it happen! I will have to pick your brain some more on advice for our trip! I will definitely be buying a lock ahead of time and blinging it out! ;)

  • http://landofcandycanes.blogspot.com/ Katrin

    There is a bridge like that in Cologne too. Looks pretty cool! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://juustpeachy.blogspot.co.uk/ Asmaa

    ‘I don’t want even want to speculate what that would mean for their relationship’ Ahahahaa! I don’t think they thought it through eh! :) Also- it’s so cool that you didn’t put a lock on- methinks that says a lot more about how much love etc you have :D

    Asmaa || JustPeachy

    • http://www.thewanderblogger.com/ Sarah Shumate

      You are the only one who noticed that – or at least commented about it anyway! :o) I think it’s hilarious that people have fastened their locks onto others!

      I suppose I’m not romantic, or maybe the right word is superstitious, enough to add my own lock. I’m no expert on marriage by any means, but we’ve done okay so far without a lock on a bridge. ;o)

      • http://juustpeachy.blogspot.co.uk/ Asmaa

        It’s because I actually paused to contemplate what that might mean :P
        And you know you’re the only person who commented on the fact that I described myself as a tomboy (on my blog if you remember :D)

        True- I’m the same – I wouldn’t have much hope in it :)

        Asmaa || JustPeachy

  • http://Girl-Meets-Globe.com/ Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe

    I wondered if you put a lock on the bridge. It’s kinda cute, but we probably wouldn’t do it either. ;)

  • http://eatseedoblog.com/ Anna

    I love the lovers lock. We did put a lock on it and I was just excited that he was happy to do it – I’ve never had anyone entertain my romantic crazies before. They have started putting them on the Millenium bridge in London and there are a few lonely looking locks on a bridge down her in Montpellier too. It’s no Paris one though!

    • http://www.thewanderblogger.com/ Sarah Shumate

      Did you make a note of the spot you put your lock so you can find it later if you go back to Paris? I’d want to know if my lock was still there or not, I think. :o) I haven’t seen any on the Millennium bridge myself, but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the city was removing them. I don’t think London has quite the romance factor that Paris does.

      • http://eatseedoblog.com/ Anna

        We sort of know where it is and we have photos so we may have to retrace our steps and see if we can find it. I may have to make it our mission for when we’re in Paris next actually. Yeah, I don’t think it quite works the same way anywhere else. Just doesn’t have the same romance factor at all!

  • http://www.addictedtomedia.net Mandy Southgate

    I love your close to photos Sarah! I’ll admit, we’re with you on the whole love locks thing. We’ve also been together so long that I think we’d leave love locks to the young lovers instead! I spotted some on the Millennium Bridge last year and must check if they’re still there. As far as I know, Westminster Council removes them.

    • http://www.thewanderblogger.com/ Sarah Shumate

      That definitely sounds like something the city would do. Paris must be much more tolerant because those bridges are absolutely covered!

      I understand the romance of adding the locks, but if I actually put any stock into it and believed it would hold my marriage together, I think I’d have some serious problems on my hands. :)

      • http://www.addictedtomedia.net Mandy Southgate

        Aaah, but that’s the nature of love: it inspires us to make grand declarations!

  • Ash I’ll Love You Forever

    hahaha, you are so funny. Crack me up.
    All of these locks in one place does look pretty cool.

  • http://www.emmymom2.com/ Emmymom

    I have heard of that wall, it is such a fun tradition hopefully someday the weight of all the locks doesn’t break the fence! Wonder what that would mean? ;)

    • http://www.thewanderblogger.com/ Sarah Shumate

      I heard that at one point the city had to cut all the locks off of another bridge because it was causing the bridge to rust and deteriorate, so maybe that’s what they’d do on this one before the bridge just completely collapsed.

  • Jo

    I think I read somewhere that the bridge is on the verge of collapse due to the weight …. wonder what that will mean if all those locks fall into the Seine

  • Leave Comments

    The people that live there hate it. Who can blame them. It looks terrible.
    It is like a form of graffiti.