LOVE LOCKS, R.I.P.

Followup to my post of Aug. 30

For five years, lovers in Paris have demonstrated their eternal fealty by attaching padlocks to the Pont des Arts, an elegant old footbridge that connects the Louvre Museum to the Institut de France across the Seine, then throwing the key in the river — 700,000 of them so far.

Over time, they’ve multiplied like rats and spread to other bridges and sites. And they pose a structural threat to the bridge. Here’s what a full section of the fence looks like (it weighs a thousand pounds, and 15 sections have failed completely or had to be removed because of damage):

Locks
Photo by John Pearce

Don’t lean on it the next time you visit.

There’s been a publicity campaign against them, and in recent months the City of Paris has had to cover some of the panels with plywood to keep more from being added. The plywood, of course, has become the substitute for the locks — visiting lovers now autograph it and, Paris being Paris, the more assertive graffiti artists also visit. As a result, the bridge is much less welcoming to lovers or padlock vendors.

Here’s the view this afternoon. The crowd in the background is around the remaining locks.

Boards
Photo by John Pearce

The City of Paris announced on its web site a couple of days ago that it’s testing glass panels to replace the fencing that’s been there for years (and which provided somewhere to attach the locks). French architects do great things with glass, but this will be a challenge.

Here’s a view of the test panels, from the city’s web site:

Glass panel testing on Pont des Arts  Paris fr
Photo courtesy of the City of Paris