The City of Lights, considered one of the most romantic cities in the world, is putting the kibosh on romance. Quel damage! Actually, city officials are discouraging tourists from adding a “love lock” to the railing of the pedestrian bridge, Pont des Art, that connects the Louvre to the Saint Germain district.
The 700,000+ locks attached to the bridge every year are causing damage. A section of the bridge collapsed in June under the weight. No one was hurt but the incident has inspired preventive measures—plastic panels have been added to the railing—and a campaign NO LOVE LOCKS. Started by two American women living in Paris, their initiative aims to ban the practice because they believe it’s a gross tourist spectacle as well as it’s ruining their beloved city. I know American women love Paris, but these transplants are sure taking their devotion the extra mile.
Legend says the tradition came from a Serbian love story of unrequited love and heartbreak over 100 years ago. Villagers, inspired by the story, started engraving or writing their names on locks and affixing them to bridges to preserve and symbolize their love. Since year 2000 couples have come from all over the world to fulfill this romantic dream.
A friend told me on her last trip to Paris with her family, her husband surprised her with a lock specially engraved with their initials to affix to the bridge. “It was the most romantic thing he ever did, ” she said, her voice catching with emotion. Meanwhile, their teenage sons stood by watching their public display of affection—practically gagging.
Rather than locks, officials are encouraging lovers to post selfies of themselves, taken on the bridge or other hot spots around the city, via social media. Selfies?! Really? How can they be any substitute for such a romantic gesture as locking your love to a bridge? Paris can certainly come up with something better than that.
What do you think Paris should do instead to help symbolize your “locked love?” Leave me a comment!