The Pont des Arts is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the River Seine and links the Institute du France and the Palais du Louvre.
The original bridge was built in the early 1800’s under the reign of Napoleon 1. It was the first metal bridge of its kind in Paris. In 1976 the bridge was found to have multiple deficiencies due to bombardments that took place during World War 1 and World War 2 as well as many collisions by boats. The bridge was closed to pedestrians in 1977 and suffered a partial collapse when a barge rammed into it.
The present bridge was constructed between 1981 and 1984. Today the bridge is also a gathering for artists, painters and photographers with frequent art exhibitions taking place. It’s also famous for the love locks that cover the length of the bridge. Couples place a lock with their names engraved on them on the bridge and then throw the key into the Seine as a romantic gesture. The problem in recent years is that weight of the locks have started to damage the bridge and in fact in June of this year part of the bridge parapet collapsed under all that weight.