Postcard from... Paris


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The Independent Online

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

From today, they will be posting stickers on all the bridges weighed down by the “love locks” 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. 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 migrated to other bridges and the love locks now adorn the Pont de l’Archevêché at the foot of Notre Dame and the Alexandre III bridge by the Grand Palais.

The love locks reputedly started in Pécs, Hungary in the 19th century, and spread worldwide, appearing on the Pont des Arts in 2008.

The problem has 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.