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

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 – a love lock bridge. 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 the Pont de l’Archevêché, one of the most popular love lock bridges in Paris, located 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 love lock 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 – the 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.

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

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

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  • Guest
    January 12, 2014 at 3:00 AM

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

  • Jo
    November 27, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    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

  • Emmymom
    November 26, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    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? ;)

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 26, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      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.

  • Ashlee - I'll Love You Forever
    November 24, 2013 at 9:52 PM

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

  • Mandy Southgate
    November 24, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    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.

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      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. :)

      • Mandy Southgate
        November 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM

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

  • Anna
    November 24, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    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!

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 24, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      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.

      • Anna
        November 25, 2013 at 12:29 PM

        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!

  • Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe
    November 23, 2013 at 9:07 PM

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

  • Asmaa
    November 22, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    ‘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

    • Sarah Shumate
      November 23, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      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)

      • Asmaa
        November 26, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        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 :)

  • Keith Wynn
    November 22, 2013 at 12:47 PM

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

  • Katrin
    November 22, 2013 at 5:55 PM

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

  • Ashley | Domestic Fashionista
    November 22, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    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! ;)

  • stephanie
    November 22, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    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!

  • Alex Fahey
    November 22, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    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.

  • Bonnie Rose
    November 22, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    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.

  • Sara Louise
    November 22, 2013 at 8:11 AM

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