Buy a padlock, a permanent marker and inscribe initials or messages of love on them then simply lock it to the landmark/bridge of your choice and if it happens to be a bridge which in most cases it is cast the key/keys into the River Seine.
Result - Love immortalised and when you leave you have the wonderful satisfaction of knowing you have declared your love for all eternity.
Now, I do consider myself a romantic and when I was in Paris in 2009 and first saw the practice on the Pont Des Arts I thought it novel and romantic but for some reason never felt at all compelled to take part. Perhaps in the deep and hidden recesses of my mind I was already troubled by the idea but as yet it hadn’t really hit home.
Fast forward 5 years and the Love Locks have really taken hold over the City on epidemic proportions. The list is frightening – get this: -
Bridges on the Seine
Pont des Arts
Pont de i’Archevêché
Pont Neuf (Behind the statue of Henri IV)
Pont Alexandre lll
Pont Léopold Sédar Senghor (Solférino)
Pont Simone de Beauvoir
Pont Notre Dame
Pont au Double
Pont Saint Louis
Canal Saint Martin (at least 4 bridges or foot bridges)
Montmartre: Fences in front of Sacre Coeur and the Eiffel Tower “outlook” near Place Tertre
Parc Monceau (fences)
Buttes Chaumont (fences)
Tourists, (and let me presume it is tourists as I can’t imagine any sane Parisian taking part in the practice) have left their mark and the accumulation of the love locks have taken their toll on the bridges and landmarks.
Is this the legacy this generation of tourist wants to leave Paris for future generations? It would seem so....yes.
However, the fight back has begun. Let’s take the Pont Des Arts. Slowly the locks are being removed and are being replaced by plywood boards to prevent a repeat. However, it wasn’t long before graffiti artists started to have their own fun. This has since been followed up with glass panels and this gives you a sense of how the bridge should look all beautiful and lock free.
The French Police take a dim view on the practice and as I understand it arrests have been made for those illegally selling the locks at 7-10 euro a time. A nice little earner indeed.
The sad thing for me is that (if I’ve understood it correctly) those fine bouquinistes who line the banks of the seine with their green stalls have also been selling locks. This is particularly sad as if anyone should want to ensure the look of the city stays pure and historic it is people such as them.
This nonsensical practice must stop. It is vandalism pure and simple. The integrity of Paris’s bridges is being put at risk. Thousands upon thousands of keys are being dumped into the seine causing unnecessary pollution. This is not a demonstration of love! Since when was love symbolised by a padlock? Love should be an expression of freedom and since love exists couples freely come together. A padlock is a terribly poor expression for freedom!
If you love another and love Paris as a city show your respect for them and it. Visit, create golden memories as past generations have done and do so without submitting to the temptation of leaving your intended love lock.
There are on-line campaigns against love locks notably on Facebook: No Love Locks, Twitter: @nolovelocks or nolovelocks.com – visit to learn more and get up to date news on progress to wipe out this damaging practice.