In 2008, some tourists “locked their love” to the Pont des Arts, the Parisian bridge originally built by Napoleon to connect the Louvre to the Collège des Quatre-Nations. Since, the steel arc spanning the Seine has seen literally millions of padlocks, each etched with the initials of lovebirds from lands far and wide. Problem is, padlocks are pretty heavy. The weight of the locks is officially collapsing the bridge with love; the structure has been so extensively weakened that the Paris City Hall is actually urging an end to the romantic ritual. Of course, closing the lock and throwing the key into the river can only hold a small degree of symbolism, since (spoiler alert) the city sends someone along with heavy-duty clippers relatively often to cut the love locks away. (Aww…)
In March, two Americans living in Paris started a petition to cease the practice altogether called No Love Locks; in just two months, they’ve collected over 5,000 signatures. Some suggested solutions include a virtual padlock via a special Pont des Arts website. And all locks aside, digital love is all the rage, right?
Whether you’ve locked your love to Pont des Arts or not, tradition is hard to halt. Even if it’s only five years old.