How Paris is trying to wean lovers off bridge locks

'We didn’t want to get into a repressive situation so we’re suggesting a social wall' says City spokesman

Paris

In the midst of the tourist season, which has seen lovers flocking to historic Paris bridges to affix a padlock declaring undying love before throwing the key into the Seine, city authorities have taken a brave decision.

From Monday, they will be posting stickers on all the bridges weighed down by the “love locks” in hopes of encouraging couples to share a romantic “selfie” on social media instead, with the hashtag #lovewithoutlocks.

In June, a five-foot long section of the Pont des Arts weighed down by 500 kilos of love locks collapsed and the metal mesh had to be replaced, prompting the temporary closure of the footbridge located by the Louvre museum. Another stretch of railings on the bridge – where the thousands of padlocks now weigh a total 54 tons – was replaced earlier this month.

Lovebirds have now migrated to other bridges – all of which have listed monument status – and the love locks now adorn the Pont de l'Archevêché at the foot of Notre Dame, the Pont Neuf from where bateaux-mouches set off, and the Alexandre III bridge by the Grand Palais.

Video: In June part of the bridge collapsed because of extra weight

“We didn’t want to get into a repressive situation and penalise tourists, so we’re suggesting a social wall,” a city hall spokesman told Le Parisien newspaper.

Until now, despite an online petition by two Americans calling for the removal of the padlocks and a ban on their future use, tourists have turned a deaf ear to their “No Love Locks” entreaties.

The two campaigners, who reject the use of bolt cutters to remove the padlocks, discussed ways of discouraging the love locks and possible alternatives at the end of June with city officials. The pair are proposing flyers in different languages to inform visitors that the bridges are protected by UNESCO heritage status, and a ban on the sale of padlocks by street sellers.

The love locks began appearing on the Pont des Arts in 2008, after reputedly starting in Pécs, Hungary in the 19th century then spreading around the world more recently. But they are particularly numerous in the city of love.

 The problem has now become so serious that city officials regularly check the bridges’ railings for safety, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has asked her deputy, Bruno Julliard, to come up with a plan.

It remains to be seen how successful the initiative will be, although there is one factor that might prove a deterrent this week: rain.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing