I had heard about Paris’ famous “Lock Bridge” and was anxious to see it. I soon discovered, however, that there is not just one! A number of bridges have been transformed into “lock bridges” in recent years…and not just in Paris. Couples have taken to writing or engraving their names or initials on padlocks (love locks) and attaching them to the bridge railings, then throwing the keys into the Seine River as a pledge of their undying love to one another. We saw several vendors selling locks on and around the bridges, making it convenient to join this cult craze. As romantic as this all may seem, the locks are causing big problems—even leading to the collapse of at least one bridge railing on the original “lock bridge,” the Pont des Arts. Because of that, the city of Paris has implemented safety measures—replacing the railings in some places with glass panels—and has kicked off a publicity campaign on Twitter called #lovewithoutlinks. The idea is for couples to photograph themselves on the bridge and post pics on Twitter with the campaign hashtag rather than going the love locks route. It remains to be seen whether or not an online photo will prove a satisfactory substitute for a lock and key…and how quickly the bridge railings are replaced entirely with glass panels.
An interesting side note… During our tour of the Eiffel Tower, our bags were checked for illegal contraband…including padlocks! It seems that couples were smuggling in padlocks and fastening them onto the famous monument—an eyesore and safety concern all rolled up in one!