I am fascinated by locks. Even before our trip to Paris last year I was enamored with the Pont des Arts bridge where lovers have attached locks to proclaim their undying love for one another. The tradition of putting a lock on the bridge and throwing the key into the water below started around 2008 and has become somewhat of a nuisance.
I read articles about that famous bridge. It is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the River Seine. Between 1802 and 1804 a nine-arch metallic bridge was built for pedestrians at this same site. It was the first metal bridge in Paris. Years of wear and tear, aerial bombings during World Wars I and II and an encounter with a barge threatened the integrity of the bridge so a new one was constructed during 1981-84 that had seven arches instead of the original nine.
As the popularity of placing love locks on the bridge increased to the point that it was threatening the integrity of the bridge once again due to the weight of the locks the city has tried to come up with alternative solutions. The New York Times reported on June 1st , 2015 that the city was taking the famed bridge iron work down as the locks that have been piled on for the last 5 years were becoming a hazard in many ways. They tried to be considerate of those who had placed the locks there as a symbol of their love but when it all came down to it it just needed to be done. The locks affixed to the bridge weighed just around 45 tons when dismantled and left behind over 700,000 keys on the bottom of the river. Creative ideas are being considered on how to preserve those locks but for now they are history that can not be seen.
I asked Micah and Wendy if they had placed a lock there where they traveled there prior to their wedding . They didn’t, by the way. I guess that was just not their thing.
Chris and I even put our own lock on the Lock Gate at the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens when I discovered they had a special area to place love locks. You can read that post here. But that was a somewhat different thing as it was designed specifically to hold locks. Unlike the bridge in Paris it was built for that purpose.
The locks are pretty and colorful and interesting to look at but they are bringing a lot of anger to Parisians who want tourists to leave the locks at home. A preservation group called No Love Locks has launched a campaign to keep the bridge free of locks . New anti love lock mechanisms have been installed on the bridge to help keep the locks off.
When Chris and I visited in August 2017 this is what we saw. Lots of locks. And not only on this bridge. We saw locks on trash cans. fences, statues and in other places all over the city. But the Pont des Arts had the greatest concentration of locks by far.
People like this couple continue to offer locks for sale to tourists who wander by the area.
The locks are interesting but the people of Paris want to be able to maintain their beautiful city and allow residents and visitors alike to view the beauty of the bridges and sculptures as they are . Not adorned with locks. I can totally understand this and respected their wishes. We did not place a lock anywhere while we visited Paris but they certainly were fun to look at.