Millions of people walked on the most romantic place in the world. In 2015, The Lovelock Bridge suffered from the weight of love and all its lovelocks were removed.
It was always the same ritual.
Millions of lovers, friends and families walked on the Pont des Arts in Paris, and displayed their messages to the world by attaching a padlock to the bridge panels.
It brought a unique and warm atmosphere on the bridge, where people were full of joy, smiling, laughing... The scenes were also beautiful in the center of Paris: the bridge quickly became the most romantic place in the world to attach a padlock.
The Story of Alexis, photographer of lovelocks (to come)
Le Pont des Arts in Paris
The Lovelock Bridge on the Seine
Le Pont des Arts
Le Pont des Arts is a 155 meters long pedestrian bridge. With a wooden floor, it links the Institut de France (left bank of Seine river, south) to the Louvre museum central square (right bank, north).
Each side of the bridge is made of grid railings: panels that contains grids like fences. Typical Parisian lamp posts separate groups of 8 panels on each side of the bridge.
Le Pont des Arts is a 155 meters long pedestian bridge in Paris, France
The Lovelock phenomenon
Started in 2018 in Western European countries, the lovelock phenomenon quickly embrace Paris city and its bridges.
Paris is widely known as The City of Love, and The City of Light: its beautiful scenery makes it a romantic and enegizing place. Pont des Arts became "The Lovelock Bridge": its high affluence, its location and its configuration made it the most famous place to attach a lovelock.
Even if the lovelock phenomenon is present everywhere in the world, the Pont des Arts is its sanctuary.
Part of a panel of The Lovelock Bridge
A Lovelock on The Lovelock Bridge
2013 - The discovery - Alexis
In 2013, Alexis, a 20-year-old student discovered the Lovelock Bridge in Paris. He fell in love with the place, fascinated by the warm atmosphere and the happiness shared by the people passing by.
As a digital native, a strange idea came to his mind: bring this bridge online.
Anyone in the world would be able to to discover the warm atmosphere
Anyone would be able to find their lovelock
It would extend the gesture of attaching a lovelock: sending a message to the world, making it last forever online
6 months to photograph 37,374 individual lovelocks
To build the experience online and save as many as lovelocks as possible, there was only one option: photographing each padlock, one by one.
But the locks were stuck in bunches of padlocks. They had to be manipulated with care to avoid damaging the community artworks. Lovelocks might be attached on the panel just a few centimeters above the floor.
To capture them all, Alexis sat with his camera on his teenager skateboard during 6 months and wore leather gloves to safely manipulate the lovelocks.
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Alexis, from « Relock Love », réalisation Cédric Dubourg / Indaprod
Alexis built a first version of WeLockLove website in 2014. Find your lock, Share your love. You could find your lovelock by navigating on the bridge. You could also get your own webpage on the website, upload up to two photos and a text to have them displayed on the online sanctuary for lovelocks.
The website was relayed by national and global press (website, newspapers and radio).
Since 2021, he's dedicated to find the best solution to build the Bridge of The Future in the metaverse and to allow anyone to become a Keeper of the Lovelock's history.
2014 - The Lovelock Bridge at risk
Millions of people walking on the bridge every year. Tens of thousands attached their padlock every year.
Often more than a thousand lovelocks were attached to one bridge panel, within a surface < 3m². The bridge was in danger: the overused panels threatened to collapse into the Seine, while boats were passing underneath.
In 2014, panels collapsed "under the weight of love" as media reported, without causing any injury.
A Lovelock bridge panel collapsed, 2014
As a photographer of the bridge, Alexis also noticed voluntary degradations, in a period when local associations were asking for the removal of padlocks. For example, some grids were ripped off and caused serious risks for passers-by.
City Hall services occasionally cut padlocks and replaced panels. This operation required the use of a custom-built tool to lever out panels weighing around 800 kilos. Paris Town Hall was looking for a solution to secure the bridge.
City Hall maintenance servies replace collapsed panels with new one, using a custom-built tool, 2014
2015 - Lovelocks removal
In 2015, Paris found the solution in building customized glass panels. All the lovelocks were removed from the bridge.
City Hall services installed the lookthrough panels, making it impossible to attach new padlocks.
Looktrough panels installed on Pont des Arts, 2015