I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon. A few weeks ago I wrote an article for CNN Travel about the “No Love Locks” campaign in Paris, to spare the bridges and public spaces from the padlocks of “love” that have taken over the city. I thought it was an interesting topic but I wasn’t really sure it’d go anywhere.
While I agree with the cause and trying to preserve the historic monuments that help make Paris, well, Paris, I didn’t think the locks were the biggest issue.* Plus, who wants to be the person to speak out against so-called “love locks” anyway? That’s a pretty tough badge to wear.
Then one of the panels on the Pont des Arts, the pedestrian bridge by the Louvre, broke away from the fence and fell.
And then another did.
And then another.
See where this is going?
Today I was walking along the Pont des Arts with some tourists and the bridge reminded me in that scene in Jurassic Park where the raptors break free of their pen. You know it, don’t lie. The chain-link fence on the bridge was pulling away from the framework every few meters, with gnarled pieces of metal pointing in all directions, surrounded by hundreds of rusted and dirty padlocks. True love.
|"Look sweety, no one must have put a lock here yet!"|
Where the fencing had recently pulled away and replaced, new fencing was already under attack by new locks, as a pair of tourists were lovingly placing a lock on the new part.
“This is the problem, see?” I told my tourists, who understood.
“But what’s worse, they just don’t realize it,” said the mother of the group.
And she was right. It’s not just about a few Parisian bureaucrats saying it’s illegal and then trying to enforce the law. It’s about educating the masses. And not just in English. Tourists from China, Japan, Russia, and Brazil are right alongside the Brits, Aussies, and Americans who are locking their emotions to the bridge, slowly ruining it.
|I don't know how this reads as "love" anymore...|
So what can we do? Spread the word? Hold a manifestation on the Pont des Arts? Put up signs to say it’s degrading the architecture? Let it go and let the government deal with it?
It’s anybody’s guess, but I think we’re all pining for the Pont des Arts of old, where you could lean on the rail without worrying about whether or not you’ve recently had your tetanus shots…
Check out "No Love Locks" to see what's going on with the locks around Paris.
*And yes, most expats and English-speakers in Paris do realize that there are other problems in Paris as well, but this is one we can all actively take part in fixing at the moment.
(and for the title of the post, in case you missed the reference)