Arabic "graffiti" by Franco-Tunisian street artist eL Seed now adorns Paris's Pont des Arts, until recently home to the much-maligned "love locks" – padlocks left on the bridge but removed by the authorities due to safety concerns.

Pink letters a metre high containing a quote from French novelist Honore de Balzac span the bridge over the River Seine, a stone's throw from the Louvre Museum in the heart of the capital.

Waves of visitors had in recent years crammed padlocks onto the metal frames of the bridge, threatening its stability and compromising safety as some of the heavy panels became detached.

So city authorities invited gallerist Mehdi Ben Cheikh to create a temporary exhibition of street art before clear plastic panels are definitively installed before the end of the year.

Cheikh said that eL Seed's work represented the contemporary Arab world.

"I thought it was brave, and brave to put an Arabic sentence up in Paris. It's not only a language of terrorists, it's the language of a whole people across the world. A people who are very open with an extremely spiritual dimension, in their religion too," he said.

The work of eL Seed is featured along with three other artists on the Pont des Arts at the heart of the French artistic establishment .

Padlocks began appearing on bridges in Paris and other European cities more than five years ago left by people seeking to symbolise their enduring love - often inscribed with couples' names. Lovers typically throw the keys into the river.