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Graffiti Replace Love Locks on Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris

  • paris, bridge, love locks, el seed, graffiti, street art,
  • paris, bridge, love locks, el seed, graffiti, street art,
June 11, 2015
Passionate about art, frequent visitor of exhibitions, Widewalls photography specialist and Editor-in-Chief.

It was a sad day for lovers around the world when it was announced that the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris was going to be liberated from 45 tons of love padlocks. In a fortunate turn of events for art lovers, the Art Bridge over the Seine River is now decorated with love graffiti, and although temporary, it is still a refreshing new look of the bridge that is getting mixed reactions, AP reports. The meter-high panels set along the bridge see pink letters composing a quote from French novelist Honore de Balzac, painted by French-Tunisian street artist eL Seed and three other local and international creatives.

paris, bridge, love locks, el seed, graffiti, street art,
Street Art painted by eL Seed in Paris. Image via
paris, bridge, love locks, el seed, graffiti, street art,
Street artist eL Seed is known for his calligraffiti technique. Photo by Shima Houshyar

An Exhibition of Romantic Street Art in Paris

Parisian gallerist Mehdi Ben Cheikh was invited by the city authorities to create a temporary exhibition of street art on Pont des Arts while over one million love locks were being removed from the bridge. The curator invited artist eL Seed, known for mixing Arabic calligraphy and graffiti, who used a quote from Balzac’s novel Le Pere Goriot saying “Paris is in truth an ocean: you can plumb it but you’ll never know its depths.” In a bold move, eL Seed painted the quote in Arabic, tackling the ongoing intolerance towards the Islamic community in France which got worse after the terrorist attack at Charlie Hebdo editorial team in January. EL Seed, born in the suburbs of Paris to Tunisian parents, is known for his decoration of the 47-metre high minaret on the Jara mosque in Gabes in southern Tunisia. Apart from eL Seed’s work, the temporary graffiti exhibition on Pont des Arts bridge in Paris also features the love-themed works of artists Brusk, Pantonio and Jace. The graffiti panels will be replaced by plexiglass later this year.

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Street art on Pont des Arts in Paris. Image via Getty
paris, bridge, love locks, el seed, graffiti, street art,
Graffiti instead of love locks on Pont des Arts in Paris. Image via

Goodbye to the Love Locks of Ponts des Arts

One of the most favorite landmarks of the French capital has been under weight for more than six years. In a quickly adopted custom, people would write or engrave their names on padlocks, attach them to the fence of the bridge and throw the key into the river Seine. The gesture was considered romantic and is said to represent a couple’s committed love. Over the years, the word spread and the number of locks increased dramatically – in February 2014, Le Monde estimated there were over 700,000 locks – and the touristic attraction became a burden for the bridge, quite literally, and a safety concern due to the heavy weight of the locks that would cause the fence to collapse. In August 2014, the visitors were asked to take selfies instead of leaving love locks. A few days ago, it was finally decided that the padlocks would not have a happy ending and were gonna be taken down for good.

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Featured images in slider: The love padlocks in Paris are being removed from Pont des Arts bridge in Paris. Image via Padlocks being removed from the Paris bridge. Image via Getty