bridge of love

I’m certainly an advocate of expressing love in it’s many forms, both privately and publicly, but when it starts to weigh heavily (in this case literally) even I, a diehard romantic become disenchanted. This is the case with Paris’ much loved bridge, also a symbol of love.

IMG_9632In 2008, tourists from around the world began attaching ‘love locks’ to the Pont de Arts. By engraving their initials & throwing the key into the Seine, their love was forever locked.

IMG_9635In February 2014, well over 700,000 locks were estimated to be attached to the bridge.

IMG_9646There was much concern about the possible damage caused by the weight of the locks. In June of 2014, that fear was justified when part of the parapet on the bridge collapsed.

IMG_9647In August 2014, the Paris Mayor’s Office began to encourage “selfiies” in place of love locks, with their campaign “Love Without Locks”. “Our bridges can no longer withstand your gestures of love. Set them free by declaring your love with #lovewithoutlocks.” Even a No Love Locks campaign was started by two concerned women who call Paris home.

IMG_9674Over 50% of the panels on the Pont des Arts had to be boarded over with plywood.

IMG_9677On September 18, 2014, much to tourists dismay, the City Hall of Paris replaced three panels with glass as they searched for a suitable replacement which could hold no locks.

IMG_9661Starting on June 2015, the locks were removed, with Health and Safety officials stating “the romantic gestures cause long term Heritage degradation and danger to visitors”.

IMG_9689As of 2015, over a million locks weighing around 45 tons were attached to the bridge.

IMG_9699These days, Pont des Arts has become less about locks and more about art. Artists Jace, El Seed, Brusk & Pantonio have been commission to decorate the bridge with their work.

IMG_9713As I walked the length of the bridge and around it, I admired the graffiti artwork and the stories being told, knowing that this will in time be replaced by padlock-proof glass panels.

IMG_9702 Love continues to reign in padlock form as tourists attach their locks to the sturdier sides.

IMG_9716 I couldn’t help but think that true love should be set free, rather than locked. Yes, I know it’s only symbolic. But there are many less damaging ways to express our sentiments.

IMG_9726What are your thoughts about love and locks and this new look of Pont des Arts?

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4 Comments

  1. Sylvia August 14, 2015

    Not only everything you’ve mentioned, but also, the keys were thrown into the Seine causing rusting issues. In my opinion this is a stupid vandalizing tradition that never made much sense to me. Unfortunately, tourists will find some other bridge to ruin with their silly “love locks” soon if they haven’t already.
    A side note, one of the two American ladies that started the No Love Locks campaign, Lisa Taylor Huff aka The Bold Soul, sadly passed away just over a month ago. I think she got to see her dream realized, she was very passionate about this cause.

    Reply
    • Kasia August 15, 2015

      Hi Sylvia,

      I’ve never been a big fan of the love locks, they are making their way around Paris! I understand what they symbolism, but at what expense? I didn’t realize the keys too were a concern.

      I’m very sad to hear about Lisa passing away, I’m sure her spirit will remain in Paris.

      Reply
  2. Kandra August 14, 2015

    Initially, several years ago, when I heard of this lock,key bridge thing, I thought it sounded fun and romantic. Then, I actually saw it and immediately thought that these locks had to be causing some kind of problem. Also, it is s little silly, as it has become a tourist trap (vendors on the bridge selling locks) and an eye soar.

    I agree with the above comment, referencing the keys in the water, in that I am sure this has to be an environmental concern. And, yes, it is unfortunate that people will find another landmark to mark-up.

    Reply
    • Kasia August 15, 2015

      I fear that the love lock ritual will continue, regardless of the damage they cause. Whenever I pass by the Pont des Arts there are vendors selling locks to eager tourists, other fences are filled with locks now too. I’ve also seen this happening in Cinque Terre, Italy. Love needs no locks! 😉

      Reply

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