Over the summer, I went to Paris and fell in love with the city. I was taking pictures the whole time. One of my favorites is the one below.
I’m sure many are familiar with the famous bridge in Paris with the “love locks” attached to it (Pont des Arts bridge). Couples will go and attach padlocks to symbolize their love for one another. The bridge is riddled with locks, each one representing a different, unique relationship. Paris is the city of love, and yet they plan to take down this enormous symbol of love that has been a site for couples to visit for such a long time.
The tradition of putting a love lock on a bridge goes back 100 years. Now, Paris has plans to demolish the ritual for a few reasons, one being that the bridge is actually getting too heavy with all the added locks. Another reason is how the people of Paris feel about the bridge. Once Paris native says he finds the locks “‘ridiculous and ugly’” and “‘a bad excuse for tourism.’” Paris plans to take down some of the siding of the bridge and replace it with glass to make sure people cannot secure new locks.
One maintenance worker on the bridge feels the bridge will “lose some of its charm when the locks are gone.” I would entirely agree with him on this. Without the locks, it’s just another bridge. I find this so sad that the City of Love is giving up on such a beloved tradition. This is bridge has, in a way, turned into a public piece of art, with more and more people adding to it, attaching their locks to other locks.
While I understand that many think it’s cheesy, if you really think about it, the whole concept is very powerful. Couples have come to that very spot from all over the world to solidify their bond. Knowing that their love is “forever” locked on that bridge is something really special. The bridge is a place so beautiful and unique to Paris, and it baffles me that they would want to defile it. Does Paris have the right to just wipe out this tradition that has such deep rooted history?
It got me thinking about how the situation would be handled if we had a similar situation in the U.S. What if the government said, “no more taking selfies in the reflection of the Bean in Chicago”? There would be an uproar.
It almost seems unpatriotic for the City of Love to be erasing part of a landmark that has represented that very idea for so many years. I think people in support of taking the locks down don’t realize what they are really destroying. It’s more than just some tourist attraction.
Is this really something the city needs to take control of and try to maintain? Can’t Paris have some sympathy for the tourists who want to participate this great display of affection? The same maintenance worker mentioned prior posed the question that I’m sure many of us are wondering: “‘Why do they have to take the romance away?’”