Paris to put a permanent stop to 'love locks' on city bridge
Published Friday, May 29, 2015 8:41AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 29, 2015 8:49PM EDT
The city of Paris has decided, once and for all, to get rid of the hundreds of thousands of love locks that adorn the historic Pont des Arts.
For a week beginning Monday, June 1, the city will begin dismantling the mesh fencing weighed down by thousands of love locks, putting an end to the practice that endangered the structural integrity of the city’s iconic pedestrian bridge and, for its staunchest critics, is tantamount to vandalism.
After politely asking tourists to refrain from affixing a lock to the bridge in a public service campaign last summer, and instead encouraging couples to proclaim their love with selfies, the city has taken a definitive stand on the ritual at the risk of disappointing lovelorn visitors.
Though details are scarce, the city says that it will be replacing the fencing with an artistic installation designed by international artists, which will remain until the fall when permanent glass panels will be mounted the length of the bridge.
Contrary to popular belief, love locks are not an age-old tradition or rite of passage in Paris, but one that is thought to have started a few years ago following the publication of a popular Italian romance novel “I Want You” in 2006, in which a young couple affixed a padlock to the Ponte Milvio bridge in Rome as a sign of their eternal love.
Adopted by young lovers in Europe, the practice has since spread around the world, on bridges in the US, Canada, and China.
In 2012, city officials in Rome put a swift end to the practice by dispatching workers armed with bolt-cutters to clear the Ponte Milvio bridge of the emblems of love.
For Paris-bound visitors, that means that the pedestrian bridge will be closed off between June 1-7.