Pont des Arts bridge in ParisThe Pont des Arts (Bridge of the Arts), a footbridge linking the Louvre Museum and the Institut de France, is an absolute must on any walking tour of Paris. The bridge with its cast iron arches and azobé timber decking affords a breathtaking panorama of Paris from the vantage point of the Seine.
The Pont des Arts has inspired artists and poets with Georges Brassens famously celebrating it in his song Le Vent (the wind) with words of warning to young ladies whose skirts may be blown up by a cheeky gust of wind while crossing the Pont des Arts. Then, there's Emile Zola who marvelled: "High up on its iron girders, with a lightness of black lace, animated by the constant comings and goings of pedestrians, march a cavalcade of ants on the fine line of her apron" (L’Œuvre, 1885).
The above passage testifies to the fragility of the bridge. Indeed, a part of the bridge collapsed in 1979. After much debate, it was decided to rebuild the Pont des Arts on the model of the original bridge built between 1802 and 1804 by Jacques de Lacroix Dillon. Louis Arretche began work on the Pont des Arts we know today. It was inaugurated in 1984 by Jacques Chirac, then mayor of Paris.
Since 2015, lovers have no longer been allowed to attach padlocks (a symbol of their love) to the bridge, and the city hall, for safety reasons, replaced the railings with panels.