Paris has long been the city of love, and now bronze statues stand in testament to that passionate spirit along the Pont des Arts. Previously, the bridge had been a place in which lovers would go in tribute and good luck to their long-lasting romance. New relationships. Newlyweds. A husband and wife were celebrating 60 years of marriage. There were all kinds of stories that led lovers here, and each couple would place a lock on the chain link before throwing the key into the Seine River below.
Love Locks Lost
Each year, thousands would flock to this tourist site and local attraction to glimpse the physical manifestation of romantic vows over the decades. There weren’t just hundreds of locks; there were thousands – 700,000 to be exact. Some residents believed the locks to be clutter on an otherwise breathtaking view. Others wondered how the decay of the keys in the river below might be polluting the water.
The city of Paris deliberated over these concerns, meanwhile, the weight of the locks had caused a portion of the bridge’s rail to collapse into the river. Finally, the locks were deemed potentially unsafe, and the city removes them. The chain link sides were replaced by clear plexiglass to prevent further additions from lovestruck guests.
Parisian Bridge of Culture and Art
The locks were a touching way for visiting lovers to immortalize their relationship in the City of Love. With the locks gone and the fence removed, there were outcries that Paris had removed one of the most romantic sites in the world. What would couples do now without that time-honored Parisian ritual?
Instead of leaving the bridge barren, Paris stepped up to maintain the views of the Seine while also creating a new site worthy of visitation. The big addition came from the local Parisian artist, Daniel Hourdé. The bridge is now an outdoor exhibition of his bronze sculptures, entitled “The Enchanted Footbridge.”
Altogether, there are seven pedestals, eight statues, and ten reflective metal trees. The art is a new installment in Paris history and culture, though the interpretation of the bronze statues is up to the viewer.
The Future of the Enchanted Footbridge
Paris hopes that the newly restored views and artistic environment will not only be a place for visiting lovers but also inspire future artists, surrounding them in real Parisian beauty.