The Pont des Arts—also known as the Passerelle des Arts—is one of central Paris’ most romantic bridges. Famed for the “love locks” that couples once clipped to its railings, the bridge has shed some weight in recent years, but not its amorous associations. These days, the pedestrian-friendly bridge is perfect for sightseeing or picnicking.The Basics
Built in the early 19th century during Napoleon’s reign, the Pont des Arts—which links the Louvre on the right bank with the Institut de France on the left—was the first iron bridge to cross the Seine. Following damage sustained during the World Wars, plus accidental boat collisions, the bridge was rebuilt in the 1970s following the original design. The Pont des Arts is fully pedestrianized, making it a popular destination among both locals and tourists for sightseeing, relaxing, and soaking up the scenery.
It’s easy to spot the Pont des Arts on Seine river cruises, as well as walking tours, hop-on hop-off bus journeys, bike itineraries, and other explorations around the French capital. As the bridge links several key Paris landmarks, it’s also simple to include it during an independent day of sightseeing.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Be sure to bring your camera: thanks to its proximity to numerous top attractions, the Pont des Arts offers a perfect vantage point for photographers.
- The Pont des Arts is a symbol of the city, and has played a role in numerous films, songs, and even Paris-themed novels.
- The bridge is part of the Bank of the Seine UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The nearest Métro station to the Pont des Arts is Louvre–Rivoli, on line 1. Alternatively, bus lines 21, 24, 27, 69, 72, 76, 81, and 85 serve the landmark. It can also be seen during boat tours, though it is best appreciated on foot.When to Get There
The Pont des Arts is open day and night, and it’s rare to find the bridge without convivial clusters of friends or lovestruck couples. Occasional exhibitions are held on the bridge, but—barring severe weather days—there’s rarely a bad time to visit.The Love Locks
Despite its rich history, the Pont des Arts is arguably best known for the “love locks” that couples clipped to its panels. Beginning around 2008, the tradition saw the bridge accumulate roughly 1 million locks—45 tons’ worth—before they were finally removed in 2015 to prevent further damage to the landmark. Colorful pieces by various street artists replaced the locks, and the bridge is still considered a romantic destination today.