The idea of affixing padlocks (love locks) on bridges – and elsewhere – reached Paris some five or six years ago. Especially the Pont des Arts (see previous posts here) has been the privileged place to confirm your love by attaching a signed padlock and then throw the key in the Seine River. As we can see there is now hardly any space for additional padlocks. (Compare with the photo I took in 2008 with not a single love lock.) This summer, it was estimated that there may be a million of padlocks weighing some 60 tons on the bridge and part of the panels and the parapets have been damaged…
Some people, especially locals, clearly felt that things have been going too far. Already in the beginning of this year two American ladies living in Paris launched a site “No Love Locks”.
Paris authorities have been rather tolerant on this subject compared with many other cities where, in some cases, fines have even been introduced, but since a couple of weeks ago steps have been taken. After some “cleaning” already in 2010, more drastic measures are on their way. Many of the panels have been protected by plywood to prevent the further adding of love locks. Some panels have been replaced by glass as an experiment.
In the meantime, awaiting a final solution, the bridge has lost part of its charm. The people selling padlocks on or close to the bridge may have to find other jobs.... but there are still many other places in Paris where love locks can be attached (until further?).