Travel The World

A New Love Tradition in the City of Romance

A Romantic Tradition in Paris

“We’ll always have Paris,” as the immortal line goes. Now, it seems, Paris will always have something to remember as well.

A short while I ago, I blogged about a romantic tradition in Seville. Lovers fix padlocks to the side of the Puente Isabel II, write their names on the metal and cast the keys into the flowing Guadalquivir below.

As I paced across the Pont Des Arts this week, a telltale golden spark caught my eye.

Here, over the water of the Seine and under the watchful eye of Notre Dame, true love clings on.

According to the dates on the locks, the authorities are more forgiving here. Perhaps the legend extends beyond the tourist office blurb after all and Paris really is the city of romance.

Padlocks on the Pont des Arts, Paris

Tips on Paris

Read a series of tips on things to see and do in Paris on my sister site Cheap Weekend Breaks. It includes information on how to use the Paris Metro, Paris Sightseeing Essentials as well as some unusual tips on Paris.

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42 Responses to A New Love Tradition in the City of Romance

  1. JoAnna April 9, 2010 at 3:18 am #

    I absolutely love the padlock tradition! I heard about it for the first time earlier this year, and now that I’ve seen pictures, I can’t wait to see it in person myself!

  2. Paul April 9, 2010 at 5:58 am #

    I absolutely hate the padlock tradition! I heard about it for the first time just now, and now that I’ve seen pictures, I’m sure I’d puke if I saw it in person!

  3. Adam April 9, 2010 at 7:37 am #

    I saw this a few years ago on a bridge in Latvia. I thought it was an old tradition there. I like that it’s spreading.

  4. Occasional stumbler April 9, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    It’s actually an old Russian tradition, you can see it in many places in Eastern Europe.

  5. Steve April 9, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    I think the padlocks will last longer than the names written on them..

  6. Sherry Ott April 10, 2010 at 2:39 am #

    I’ve seen this a few places and absolutely love it! I love the first picture!

  7. Kristine April 10, 2010 at 7:01 am #

    I first saw this at the top of the Seoul tower in Korea. Very lovely.

  8. Stutz April 10, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    I saw this on my honeymoon in the Cinque Terre in Italy. Thousands of them were locked to the railing of an ocean cliff trail between two of the towns. Apparently, when the trail was cut, it was the first practical link between the towns, opening up a new pool of potential mates for the townsfolk. It became a popular spot for young lovers to meet in the middle.

    So apparently this fad is popular across Europe, then.

  9. Heather on her travels April 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    I heard about this tradition in Rome but now it seems to be spreading the world over http://www.heatheronhertravels.com/roman-rituals-lock-up-your-love-on-the-ponte-milvio/

  10. alex April 13, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    they have this in liverpool, uk by the docks too.love it!

  11. Abi April 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    Ah – how interesting to find out that it’s spreading across the world! I’ve really enjoyed reading these comments – especially Paul’s ;)

  12. Jennifer April 14, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    really sweet! however, i worry what throwing keys in rivers does to the aquatic wildlife there. lovers should be keeping their keys as a souvenir.

  13. Michelle April 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    they have this in liverpool, uk by the docks too.love it!

  14. Abi April 20, 2010 at 9:34 am #

    @Jennifer – good point! Although if someone kept a key, I suppose they could always go back and unlock the padlock. Less of a commitment!
    Perhaps the authorities could post a “key deposit box” on the side of the bridge, although that would be far less romantic…

  15. Riqz April 22, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    This is a stupid tradition spawned by the even more stupid film “tre metri sopra il cielo”.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388483/

  16. Jim May 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I first saw this lock tradition at Two Lover’s Point, the highest observation point on the South Pacific island of Guam about 4 years ago. Though I’m sure it was going on before that.

  17. Abi May 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    The plot thickens…It’d be interesting to collect a series of photos of these from around the world…

  18. Jannie Funster May 15, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    I seem to be one of the few who have not heard of the padlock and thrown key tradition — that is way cool! I wonder which one has beenon there longest?

  19. Abi May 20, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    I actually heard rumours that they were going to take them down again…Will have to investigate…

  20. Crystal Tao June 6, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Add to this list Huanshang Mountain in China :-)

    • Abi June 7, 2010 at 8:03 am #

      Wow – I love how this list is growing! If you have a photo, please drop me a line at web (at) silverfootprint (dot) co (dot) uk…It would be great to update this post with photos (plus credits, naturally) of this tradition from around the world.

  21. alan June 17, 2010 at 3:14 am #

    oh…loves make us blind

  22. Mike June 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    For me love is about freedom and trust – the purpose of a padlock is to stop something being stolen.

  23. GOD July 13, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    I need to visit all these places with a bolt cutter. Check mate.

  24. web daddy July 14, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    Really Beautiful.. I’ll say it’s a memorabilia for the future and love that will always shine

  25. Abi August 29, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    Both Mike and God make good points…
    Web Daddy is the last standing romantic…

  26. Nellie November 15, 2010 at 5:31 am #

    hey recently I saw thick love lock tradition in Seoul as well. The fences surrounding N Seoul Tower were just cluttered with locks. On the locks were love declarations in Korean. Such an impossibly romantic ritual!

  27. Abi December 22, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    Nellie – we need a photo ;)

  28. Regine Pizzino December 30, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    I like this ~thanks for sharing

  29. E-Europe January 13, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    Yes, it’s Russian tradition.

  30. Abi January 19, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    Russia too? Wow.

  31. Brady Stump April 16, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    Enjoyed the read.

  32. Sabrina July 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    So cute, right? I saw similar padlocks in Florence and found out that it actually all started in Rome when they filmed a movie (based on the novel “Ho Voglia Di Te”) there showing two teenagers leaving a padlock on a bridge. I so wanna leave my own padlock there :)

  33. Yvonne July 16, 2011 at 3:34 am #

    ha, we also do have this tradition in Berlin! here it’s at the Oberbaumbrücke between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. :)

  34. Abi July 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    Cool! Send through some pics!

  35. Jason July 19, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Thers is also one in Firenze near the Vecchio Ponte (old Bridge) it is so full of pad locks that the chain will soon snap. I agree it becomes an eye sore

  36. Henry Williams October 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    thats a great idea i wonder who camp up wit that

    • Abi March 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      An Italian director, apparently, when looking for a convenient plot point in a film…

  37. Janice August 2, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    Paris is such a romantic city. I was there last year with my husband and we stayed in a serviced apartment, Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées (good for short term housing and long term stay!). I remember the aparthotel was quite near the Pont des Arts. We went there and fixed a love padlock with our names on the bridge too. That was one of my most memorable moment in Paris.

    • Abi October 13, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      Aw…

  38. Oakey February 25, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    This has been going on in Verona Italy for decades. Glad to see France has finally caught up.

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