They sure do love love, and lovers and over-the-top displays of affection in Paris.
However, it seems the eternal & undying love of tens of thousands of romantic couples – including Susan and me! – became overwhelming and was about to destroy a famous bridge built during the reign of Napoleon I.
Our story of the Locks of Love Bridge begins in 2010. We stayed in Paris before and after a bike trip to Provence. We walked across the pedestrian Pont des Arts (it crosses the Seine near the Louvre) and noticed that people have started putting locks on the grillwork of the bridge. This is what it looked like in 2010…
They’re locks of love. And it was a world-wide trend picking up steam – and lots of locks in several European cities.
What the heck … Susan and I are just as romantic and in love as all these other couples. Even if we’re not French. So, we got a lock and did what you’re supposed to do: Scratched our initials onto it, attached it to the bridge, kissed and tossed the key into the Seine. This way, our love will last forever. Right?
We positioned our lock on the east side of the Pont des Arts, right in the middle, with a great view across the water to the tip of the little island that juts out into the Seine. “This way, we’ll be able to find our lock of love the next time we’re here,” I said (naively, it turns out).
Cut to 2013, and we’re back in Paris before and after a bike trip to the Loire.
We head over to the Pont des Arts and …
It was impossible to find to find out lock. Nevertheless, knowing it was there, buried beneath all this love, filled us with a warm, fuzzy feeling. I think it was love! Then again, maybe all the wine we had with dinner was responsible for the warm, fuzzy feeling. Nah, I’m sticking with the locks of love explanation.
Skip ahead to my next trip and … all the locks were gone. Every single one of of them. What the hell?
I did a little Googling back at the hotel and, it turns out there were about 45 tons worth of locks and it was beginning to damage the bridge. So, yes: Love can hurt. Or at least 45 tons of love can hurt.
According to a New York Times article:
“City workers, using a crane and wheeled dollies, began to dismantle the wire mesh panels on which hundreds of thousands of lovers expressed their affections in what they thought would be an ironclad statement: a metal lock, usually etched with the couple’s initials, attached to the bridge, and the key tossed into the Seine below.
“Bruno Julliard, the deputy mayor in charge of culture, who supervised the removal of the locks, tried to be sensitive to the feelings of those who had placed them there, saying that Paris was still “the capital of love, the capital of romance.”
The grillwork was replaced with lock-proof plexiglass. Here’s a video of the love destruction.
We were sad … and then we saw, in pretty much the exact same spot where our lock of love once lived … the word “love” written in vibrant and romantic red ink/paint.
Hah! Nobody, not even Bruno, can stop all the love. And lovers.
Here’s one last photo of the Lock of Love Bridge in all its love-is-eternal glory…