Paris love locks removed from iconic Pont des Arts bridge – is this the end of romance?

Thousands of initialised padlocks about to be cut away from Pont des Arts footbridge

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The Independent Online

The self-proclaimed city of lovers has finally decided that there is such a thing as too much love.

The tens of thousands of “love-locks” which festoon the metal parapets of the Pont des Arts footbridge in Paris will be cut away from Monday. Padlocks daubed with lovers’ initials attached to other Seine bridges will be removed later.

After hesitating for years, the Paris town hall has decided to remove the locks and encase the bridge parapets in glass to prevent them returning.

“This phenomenon generates two problems: a lasting degradation of the heritage of Paris and also a risk to the safety of visitors, Parisians and tourists,” a spokesman for the town hall said.

A five-foot section of the parapet of the Pont des Arts, between the Tuileries gardens and the Musée d’Orsay, collapsed in June last year under the weight of the locks. Since 2008, it has become a tradition for couples to declare their undying affection by placing their initials on padlocks or bicycle locks before throwing the keys into the river.

The craze started in Italy and exists elsewhere but has proliferated above all on the bridges over the Seine. Two young Americans living in Paris started a petition in March last year calling for the locks to be removed because they were ugly and could damage the bridges.