It was a case of the love of thousands being just too strong for part of the structure of the Pont des Arts yesterday
For anyone visiting Paris for a romantic weekend, one of the highlights is to cross the footbridge known as the Pont des Arts that links the Musée du Louvre with the Institut de France. The iron grill sections between the structure of the sides of the bridge is a favourite place for lovers to attach their padlocks and then throw the key into the Seine.
The weight of lovers’ locks is estimated to be about 94 tonnes and on Sunday afternoon, a section of the grill collapsed under this weight, precipitating the evacuation of the bridge, according to police.
“This happened around 17:50. A section of grill measuring 2.4 metres collapsed onto the footbridge without causing any harm.” So read a statement issued by the Police Prefecture in Paris. “The footbridge was immediately evacuated and closed.”
An architect from the Prefecture of Police and officials from the Mayor’s Office of Paris arrived on the scene shortly afterwards to inspect the situation.
“A protective barrier” was to be put in place during the course of the evening and the bridge was due to be reopened today, according to a police source.
The Pont des Arts is situated right in the heart of Paris and offers people one of the most unique and pretty views in the City of Light. It was built over 200 years ago during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. As a result of the accumulated effects of war-time bombardments and multiple collisions from boats, a 60-metre section of the bridge did completely collapse after a barge hit it in 1979. The entire structure was rebuilt exactly as it was in 1984.
The Pont des Arts is a location for artists too, with exhibitions taking place on the bridge at regular intervals. The locks situation has always been causing headaches for the city administration, however, with the practice of attaching locks and throwing away the key causing anxiety from an aesthetic, structural and pollution point of view. C’est l’amour!