While on our post-school, pre-Nova Scotia trip to Paris my son and I walked over to Notre Dam Cathedral. Our route took us across the Pont de L’Archêveché which is one of the love lock afflicted bridges.
Love locks attached to bridges and other public spaces are much like an invasive species. Have a look… don’t they collectively look like some strange barnacle or clinging mussel?
This is happening in a number of cities but Paris in particular, has been invaded. Sweethearts write their names on padlocks and attach them to public places – mainly bridges – and throw the key into the water. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s when padlocks began appearing on public structures. Most don’t realize what they think is traditional isn’t at all but is a relatively new phenomenon and a destructive one at that.
The tradition started roughly a hundred years ago with a sad Serbian tale of two ill-fated lovers, Nada and Relja. Relja jilted Nada who never got over her heartbreak and died alone. The young women from her town wanted to protect their own love and started to affix locks to all the places where Nada and Relja met while in love.
The locks on the Pont de L’Archêveché obscure the original ironwork and architecture of the bridges and the weight of the metal locks is threatening the integrity of the structure. Parisian officials have started to remove sections of the ironwork to protect the structure of the bridges. Unfortunately it seems they will be replacing the original gorgeous iron with transparent panels to which no locks can be affixed.
There is an item from the BBC about the lock removal undertaking here.