Oct 13, 2012
It is no longer a mere curiosity.
Love-lock bridges have cropped up in various locations worldwide, and Paris is no exception. On a number of occasions, I have even had the honour of giving direction to the “Pont des Clés”, as one tourist put it. It has been talked about in plenty of columns and blog articles, some of the recent ones include:
“Paris Love Locks: A Love that Won’t Die” (Bonjour Paris, 07/2011)
“The Padlocks of Paris” (David Lebovitz, 04/2012)
“In Paris, Love-Locks Conquer All, Even City Hall” (France24, 08/2012)
“An Affront to Love, French-Style” (NYT Sunday Review, 08/2012)
“Locked and Loaded: Love Locks Inundate the Bridges of Paris” (Paris Update, 08/2012)
Originating in Italy, this import to Paris has seen bridges such as Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archevêché become places of touristic interests. More disturbingly though are certain claims that this phenomenon is a French tradition (read: some boat tour company which shall remains unnamed here) – since when? How come I didn’t get that memo? – but I guess in this case, anything goes when it comes to promoting tourism?
I have previously voiced my scepticism over such practice, and I still do. I believe in love that shows commitment and care, not flash and blings and artificial charms. I believe in love that does not need to be spoken out loud but manifests in the little gestures and actions (that don’t include love lock declaration). I believe in love that is strong to endure the thick and thin of everyday life, not showing off to everyone and sundry as if seeking validation to the love that one bears.
Then again, each to his/her own. Why should I be bothered by how others are declaring their loves? Engraved or not, shout out loud or otherwise, everyone loves differently. No two relationships are exactly the same and in the grand scheme of life, this seems all rather trivial, no?
What got me rather annoyed though, is the fact that some couples, unsatisfied just clicking-in locks on grilled/grated bridges, have look to defacing sculptures in their quest to superficially show their love to the world. I get it, Paris is romantic, you can’t help yourself, it’s a spontaneous thing, there are some guys nearby selling locks etc etc. But putting locks through public monuments such as sculptures on Pont Alexandre III!!!? I had a shock the first time I came across them that my reaction was pretty much this -> gobsmacked.
I’m beginning to suspect not only love have made those couples blind (so much so they can’t see how ugly the locks they put have made the sculptures), it has also rendered them incapable of any ounce of common sense! (Oh wait, that has also been diagnosed before as a symptom of love…) Stop making this formerly happy génie look sad and tired. Stop making ME sad.
For the love of God/art/whatever, put an end to this form of public property defilement. This is in no way romantic and instead, it is incredibly socially irresponsible! There are 37 bridges running across Seine in Paris, a number of them could conceivably be set aside for loved-up folks to create a love-related curiosity that attracts attentions and clicks of camera. Pont des Arts, Pont de l’Archevêché, Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor. Stay within those (unspoken) boundaries.