Paris Love Locks : Photo Essay

Paris Love Locks, To thine own self be true The Paris love-locks… I know, I know. We have all discussed, photographed and blogged the death out of these little objects… They have a turbulent existence it would seem… All these declarations of passion, desire and commitment have become cumbersome to the city of Paris, but no one wants to discard them.

In a recent article in the Marianne magazine (a leftist French publication) there was an article about these locks and the weight they pull (and place) in the very heart of the city of lights, the city of love.


Magazine pages

The article tells us that in May 2010 a whole slew of the locks (about 1500) disappeared in one night. Everyone blamed the city of Paris, but it was an artist of the École des Beaux Arts who took them to create an œuvre. And yet another artist also took about 130 kilos of locks to melt them down into his art project.

If you stroll along the Pont des Arts you can see the incredible amount of locks that gather, like rapid growing grapes, dangling off lamp posts even, for lack of space on the bridge barrier.

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

In Rome, it is now subject to a fine if you put a lock on public spaces like the ponte Vecchio. But the authorities in Paris do not want to punish this act. In this incredibly tourist dependant city, nicknamed the city of love, fining these gestures could provoke a lot of resentment amongst that cash cows tourists.

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

But, there is a problem. The locks weigh heavily on the bridge. It wasn’t built to hold up all these tons of locks. About 700000 of them, weighing around 55 !tons! says the Marianne article. There is currently one grill barrier that has been removed as it was so badly damaged by the locks. It has been replaced by a board that has since been covered in graffiti tags which I can only assume (and hope) are more declarations of amour. Apparently the grill was not discarded though, the authorities couldn’t bring themselves to throw away all those declarations of love, and it has been stored somewhere. I imagine it sitting in some dark sad damp warehouse, lonely little locks keeping each other comfort with words of love.

So what to do?!? The city can’t keep removing parts of the bridge. And the bridge can’t keep taking on more and more weight.

What do you think should be done?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

Paris Love Locks, Pont des Arts

  9 comments for “Paris Love Locks : Photo Essay

  1. 8 avril 2014 at 07:08

    They should build a dedicates structure for the love locks and free the bridge before it collapses! But knowing France, this would take years of political discussions, strikes, demonstrations…. 😉

  2. 8 avril 2014 at 16:29

    Clip the locks. Let people do ribbons instead.

  3. 9 avril 2014 at 07:52

    I like the « idea » of the locks, but I wouldn’t want my declaration of love to cause a bridge to collapse! I agree the ribbons would be one idea, though ribbon cannot stand up to weather the way metal does. Why not find an artist who wants the free exposure, have them clip off say 3/4 of the locks and create some sort of ode to love sculpture with them, then cover the bridge sides in something to which locks cannot be attached? Far cheaper than risking the lawsuits and loss of life should an over-burdened bridge collapse!

    • 9 avril 2014 at 09:49

      Lolalately that’s a great idea but the space cleared off by the artist’s project would be filled back again in a matter of weeks! So many people want to leave their own love lock…. but these are all great ideas. I like the ribbon idea too!

  4. 10 avril 2014 at 03:38

    I love the idea of the lock as well. In fact, I am guilty of « locking » on one of the bridges. But I definitely would not have wanted to hurt the bridge. Lesson learned!

    • 10 avril 2014 at 23:09

      Oh Monica, I’m guilty too of putting a lock there about 4 years ago with my (now) husband. I can only hope it got taken by one of those artists that created a piece with them!!!!

  5. Ms Anon
    21 avril 2014 at 20:15

    Do not like the locks. If people think they are so romantic, why not buy & engrave a lock in Paris (or whatever city they are visiting) and then bring it home to hang on their own fence or designated area and throw the key in their own backyard? What’s with people behaving like dogs and having to lift their leg to mark their territory? Would these same people donate the price of a lock to help preserve the monuments of the city being visited? Now that would be romantic!

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