The Pont de l'Archeveche bridge in Paris
The Pont de l'Archeveche translates to the Archbishops bridge, and connect the Ile de la Cite island, yet it has become more well known as the Lovers Bridge over the River Seine where people attach padlocks to its railings.
A bit of background and history
A concession was granted back in 1827 to construct three new bridges over the River Seine, and yes, one of these was to be named after the palace of the Archbishop, hence the name Pont de l'Archeveche.
Construction of this new bridge in Paris was to go from the left bank of the River Seine over to the Ile de la Cite island close to where the fabulous Notre Dame Cathedral still stands today, and where the palace once stood before being demolished towards the end of the 1800s.
Work was started in the April of 1828 overseen by the engineer and designer Plouard, and comprising of three stone arches it was completed in record time, by the November of the same year.
However, due to its narrow design, some restoration work had to be carried out in 1857, especially because of the river traffic often hitting the low arches of the bridge, yet as the years went on, it was deemed far too narrow and dangerous to continue being the same as the original designs due to an increase in road traffic, and a complete renovation plan was discussed.
Unfortunately, even though this small bridge over the River Seine was going to be widened from its 11 metres up to 20 metres through plans drawn up in the early 1900s, this plan did not materialise, and there was a very tragic accident that occurred in the September of 1911 when a bus swerved and went over the Pont de l'Archeveche, resulting in several deaths.
But, the bridge is not all tragedy and sad stories, as it has become known as the Lovers Bridge in Paris, where people add padlocks, or love locks to its railings in a guesture of love towards each other.
However, you will also find that there is also a pedestrian bridge over the River Seine that has become known as the Bridge of Love, so try not to get confused between the two!
The Pont de l'Archeveche today
The parapet, or railings, have of course been replaced over the years, with stronger and safer ones than what were originally constructed out of cast iron, yet the Pont de l'Archeveche is still only 11 metres in total width, with a path on each side of 2 metres, so this makes it the narrowist road bridge over the River Seine in Paris.
This bridge also still bears the same name of Pont de l'Archeveche from when it was first inaugurated in 1828, and has a total length of just over 67 metres with three stone arches, two at 15 metres and one at 17 metres.
A craze that has started to happen in many cities around the world has begun in Paris, and this is the romantic gesture of attaching a padlock to specific places so that couples can declare their love for each other.
This first started on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, which became referred to as the Bridge of Love, however, the love locks as they are known, were removed in 2010, and people then started to attach the padlocks to the railings of the Pont de l'Archeveche instead.
And yes, you have guessed, this is why the Pont de l'Archeveche became known as the Lovers Bridge, but within only a couple of years, both of these bridges have become so full of padlocks by those on holiday in Paris that wish to declare their love to each other, we were wondering how many more could be added or whether the bridges would eventually take the strain of the additional weight!
But even if you forget to take a pre-done padlock with you, there are plenty for sale nearby, and even marker pens supplied, so that you can write your names or initials on the love lock, and declare your love for one another while on a romantic break in the city.
Visiting the Pont de l'Archeveche
The Pont de l'Archeveche, or Lovers Bridge over the River Seine is situated from the left bank going over to the Ile de la Cite island close to the Notre Dame Cathedral and other tourist attractions such as the Square Jean XXIII and the Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation.
It goes from the Quai aux Fleurs to the Quai de Montebello in the 4th Arrondissement of the city, and the nearest Metro station is the Maubert – Mutualite stop or you could utilise the station on the island itself called Cite.
Yet the Batobus water shuttle bus service along with some of the tour companies such as l'Open Tour Buses will also get you close to the Pont de l'Archeveche, Lovers Bridge in Paris.