Couples attach locks to the Pont Des Arts
as a sign of their everlasting love.

Paris has long been synonymous with romance, with couples flocking from all over to proclaim their love for one another. Part of this romantic ritual occurs with the fastening of love locks on the national historic monument, the Pont des Arts, in a symbolic act of their everlasting love.

After inscribing their initials onto the padlocks, lovers attach their locks to the bridge and throw away the key into the River Seine.

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PERSONAL STORY Provided Amanda and Adam Lickstein

After a 9-hour flight from Miami to Paris, we finally made it to our quaint hotel overlooking the Champs-Élysées. I was exhausted and a little less motivated, but his excitement spurred me into action. Adam had an itinerary set. As soon as we hopped into a taxi, he directed the driver toward the Pont Des Arts. While en route to the bridge we passed several vendors selling locks to clasp to the bridge’s legendary chain link fence. I asked Adam if we could buy a lock. He told me we could find one once we were on the bridge. As we started onto the walkway, the sight of love enveloped us. Tens of thousands of locks representing those who had professed their love for one another, was overwhelmingly present. While I took in the moment, Adam began to open his backpack. He told me he brought locks for us. The inscription on the red, shiny lock read:

“Amanda Freilich – Adam Lickstein Loves You 08-21-2013”

Adam gets down on one knee while Amanda reads the inscription on her love lock.

After an extensive search, I finally found the perfect spot for my lock. I secured it to the fence.

Adam pulled a second, blue lock from his backpack. His lock read: “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you. Love Always and Forever Adam”

After reciting this line over and over again in my head, Adam broke the silence and asked me to turn the lock over. The other side was inscribed: “Amanda, will you marry me?”

Adam gets down on one knee while Amanda reads the inscription on her love lock. ©Amanda and Adam Lickstein

I turned to him, he was on his knee looking up at me. It took my breath away. My heart raced. I was light-headed. I think I shouted “YES!” before he even spoke the words aloud. He asked me again over my cries of joy and then held me until my tears subsided. Once we regained our composure, Adam suggested we call our parents. They were all at breakfast together awaiting our call. We all laughed and cried as we enjoyed the moment together.

Every inch of the Pont Des Arts was adorned with locks.
Every inch of the Pont Des Arts was adorned with locks. ©Roisin Astell

Adam pulled a second, blue lock from his backpack. His lock read: “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you. Love Always and Forever Adam”

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WHY HAS IT DISAPPEARED?

The trend of couples clasping their locks forever to the bridge came with some concerning consequences. What once seemed a tender gesture soon became more of a harmful craze.

It was reported that as of 2015 there were over one million locks on Pont des Arts, weighing around 45 tons. With the addition of more weight onto the bridge, safety became a big concern, placing one of Paris’ heritage sites in jeopardy. Moreover, part of the bridge collapsed due to the sheer weight of the lovers’ locks. Not only had the fad of the love locks become a safety issue, but also an eyesore for Parisians, with many referring to them as ‘visual pollution’.

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PERSONAL STORY Provided by Amanda and Adam Lickstein

Removing the locks from the Pont Des Arts is a truly difficult circumstance. On one hand, the locks are beautiful mementos of certain love in an uncertain world. On the other hand, I understand that they may be a safety hazard for those who frequent the bridge.

It is sad to see a monument weather such circumstances; however, as we walked around Paris, we noticed people had clasped love locks on other chain link fences and bridges. Love is so many things, including compromise.

The people that live their life in love are those who want to clasp the symbolic lock to the Pont Des Arts.

"People in love understand compromise. Although the tradition on Pont Des Arts is at risk due to safety concerns, the love behind the tradition is not."

The Love Locks of Paris, Pont Des Arts.
The Love Locks of Paris, Pont Des Arts. ©Roisin Astell
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SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

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