Paris ‘love locks’ to be removed from bridges
Paris is to remove padlocks symbolically fastened to one of the French capital’s main bridges by couples. Tying a ‘love lock’ on to the Pont des Arts before throwing the key into the River Seine beneath has become a tourist tradition in recent years. For years, visitors have been attaching locks with sentimental messages to the bridge in symbolic acts of affection. Some further seal the deal by throwing keys into the Seine River below.
But part of the bridge collapsed under the weight last year. The city launched an unsuccessful initiative in August 2014 to end the practice, urging visitors to instead take selfies on the bridge. Unsightly wooden panels were placed over the locks in February to discourage the practice for Valentine’s Day.
City officials say all locks will all be removed from Monday as they pose a safety risk. Close to a million padlocks – weighing 45 tonnes – are expected to be cut off. The Pont de l’Archeveche, near the Notre Dame cathedral, will also have locks removed from its side. Metal grilles on the side of the Pont des Arts, which dates to 1804, will be replaced by paintings over the summer, before transparent panels are put in place later this year.
“We want Paris to remain the capital of love and romance,” said Bruno Julliard, Paris’ deputy mayor, adding that there would be new initiatives encouraging people to express their love in other ways. A campaign by the city last year to get people to take selfies instead of attaching locks was not successful.
On Friday, a statement by the city council said the tradition “has led to two big problems: significant damage to our heritage, and a risk to visitors’ security”. Venice has also struggled to deter tourists from attaching locks to the Rialto bridge, and in New York, amateur locksmiths launched a campaign to remove locks from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Source: BBC, CNN