Paris is well-known for being dubbed the City of Love, and one of the ways it showed that was through the footbridge Pont des Arts. We’ve seen the pictures, or maybe even visited the bridge of love in person, but the “padlocks of love” have been removed from the city’s landmark today.
The decision of removing the locks isn’t a sign of the city recanting its love for love, but a response to a 50-ton weight threatening the bridge’s core structure. For years on end, lovers from all around the world have reinforced the tradition of attaching metal locks to the sides of the bridge in a gesture of sealing their love.
But after a 200-kilo grate broke down under the immense weight last year, the city’s authorities have decided it was better to remove the locks, a decision which cost the city hall thousands of euros in man hours.
According to a spokesperson for the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, tourists should understand that even though the city might be a symbol of love, the bridge of Pont des Arts is both a symbol and a monument, which should be preserved, not damaged.
Last month, the city’s tourism office released a report estimating that nine million foreign tourists set foot in Paris last year, maintaining its position at the top of world’s most-visited cities.
The mayor’s office announced that the Pont des Arts footbridge, which is located between the Louvre museum and the Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood will remain closed for a week.
Instead of the heavy locks, an art installation will be displayed for several weeks, but only temporarily, as the plan is to install glass walls in order to stop people from attaching new locks.
Even though the love-lock trend, which has been going on for more than ten years, has unclear origins, it has become a global phenomenon and a sign of expressing one’s unending love.
You can see the symbolic locks all around the world, starting from the Great Wall of China to the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, and from Stockholm’s bridges to the Millennium Bridge in London.
Even though the trend has its romantic vibe, there is nothing romantic about a crumbling bridge that threatens pedestrians and boats cruising under it on the Seine River.
The city will set surveillance on other sites as well, as locks seem to appear on Pont Neuf by the statue of Henry IV and at a site by the Alma bridge, close to the place where Princess Diana died.
Image Source: The Guardian