A Bridge Too Far

photo-60I hadn’t been paying attention to the bridges in the center of the city; I was too busy building a life in the 11th arrondissement. Then in November, I saw what had become of the Pont de l’Archevêché, a tiny bridge that connects Notre Dame with Quai de Montebello. In what seemed like mere months, it had been inundated by an infestation of locks, a dense metallic clump of “love,” that crept over the side of the bridge like a fungus. And the size of some locks was shocking—huge, some up to four inches across (10cm). Heavy bike locks had been attached to the bridge, seemingly to create an additional surface for hanging more locks since all the available meshing was used up. Graffiti had sprouted on the stone wall where locks were unable to be attached. People had taken to scratching messages in the paint on the railing. This wasn’t love. It felt like madness, like an invading army had seized the bridge. I’d known the Pont des Arts was falling prey to this mania, but now this bridge? I became like a crazy person. This was a bridge too far.

I dashed off a post on my blog, My (Part-time) Paris Life, which went viral, lighting a fire under my friend Lisa—and the rest is history. No Love Locks was born.

Uh, it's Pont de l'Archevêche last I checked folks.
Um, what now? It’s Pont de l’Archevêche last I checked, folks. (Google)

We’ve since discovered that Pont de l’Archevêché is known as “Lovelock Bridge”—say what?—and is touted as such by tour guides and Google maps alike. That’s hair-pulling stuff. Were Lisa and I the only ones who thought this was a bad idea?

Seems not. Our followers are increasing faster than we would have imagined, and we’ve already been tweeted and re-tweeted, blogged and re-blogged just a few weeks into our project. Now, the press is taking notice. Our petition (ici en français), launched on 9 March, has garnered more than 1,000 signatures in just over five days. In our latest effort, we’ve sent an open letter to the candidates for the March municipal elections in Paris, asking them for their position on the issue. We await their responses.

It’s official: We’re a movement. For those not convinced, or on the fence, stay with us; what you will see in coming posts may surprise you—and change your mind. We’re not kooks or love-haters; we’re reasonable human beings who want to protect historic structures—and the beauty of our cities—from what’s sadly become rampant vandalism. Join us, will you? Sign our petition today.
—Lisa Anselmo

Here, a few photos of what turned Les Deux Lisas into accidental activists:

Whoa, folks. Give it a rest, huh?
Whoa, folks. Give it a rest, huh?
Oh, come on now. That's a tad too far.
Oh, come on now. A bicycle lock? Really?
Well, it was a pretty view…once. Locks creeping over the side like fungus.

104 thoughts on “A Bridge Too Far”

  1. While I understand what you are doing I think it’s none of your concern. There’s many more important things to work on in Paris. I’ve been there as has my 19 year old son. He placed a lock there for his longtime girlfriend and plans on proposing to her there. He would be devastated to find his lock gone due to such silliness as this. I’m a vegan, animal rights activist and environmentalist and think there’s many more important battles to choose.

    1. I don’t think you really get to decide this, frankly. It’s vandalism, and it’s causing damage to every bridge they’ve sprouted on here. This twee sentimental garbage, camouflaging what amounts to nothing more than pissing on a fire hydrant like a dog is an utter eyesore, and again, si damaging the bridges themselves.
      Concern for one thing doesn’t cancel out concern for other things; it’s not a zero sum game.
      Perhaps there are more important things than veganism and animal rights, too.

      1. Agreed. It’s visual and physical vandalism. I can’t believe how ugly this is. When there were just a few locks on the Pontes des Artes, I could let it go. But now the locks cover every square inch of the railings, up to four locks deep. It’s beyond ugly. And the article is correct, some people who are upset that they can’t find a free space for their lock have taken to etching their love note into the stone bridges. Unbelievable. When you visit a foreign country, you should show respect to the culture, its monuments and its people – just like you’d expect tourists to behave when visiting your home town. Some people just don’t know how to act when abroad …

      2. You’re singing our tune! Whatever happened to “take only photographs, leave only footprints” when visiting a foreign country? Help us by sharing our petition. Spread the word!

    2. How would your son feel if this gesture resulted in the death or injury of a person passing under this bridge when it inevitably gives way from the excess weight?

      1. Barbara
        Don’t you dare put that on my son. If Parisians found this so important they would have legislation in place already. There’s less than 2k signatures in place for this. I work in engineering. If someone is checking the bridges annually and finding them unsafe that’s again on Parisian officials. Do not single out one person. I was civil and this group didn’t answer any of my questions.

    3. What questions of yours went unanswered? I’ve read your comment again and I’m genuinely puzzled. My question was just that, a question. I didn’t “put anything” on your son or cast aspersions on him or you.

      These locks are seen, it seems, as a romantic gesture. That’s understandable and no one is against romance in Paris, the city is synonymous with it. But think how any of these young couples would feel if what was meant as a romantic ritual resulted in injury to those placing the locks or people passing under them? I’m sure that all of the couples choosing these symbols of their love have the best of intentions, but it seems that the unintended consequences have included creating both an eyesore and a safety hazard.

    4. You might want to consult a structural engineer, before you call it so much silliness. That is a lot of weight. And just because she is not a vegan and does not subscribe to the causes that you do, does not make her any less worthy of respect. (As a matter of fact, the way you present being a vegan, as if we should all realise your total moral superiority simply because of that, is actually a bit ludicrous.)

      1. I’m done arguing / I was simply stating my opinion which was I believe the point of this. I believe engineers are engaged and if the locks are causing this many problems I’m sure Paris would’ve already removed them due to safety concerns. I work in an engineering company by the way. I see less than 2K people have expressed support leaving thousands more that are okay with it. It’s really none of my concern either however as I mentioned the women were asking for opinions. I’ve since been attacked verbally and asked how my son would feel if his one lock made the bridge collapse. A little bit much to put on a 19 year old in my opinion. Stooping to such low levels is not my way of civil discussion. I wish you all well.

    5. It’s anyone’s concern. That comment was very patrician of you. People pick their own battles – and this is an achievable one within a reasonable time frame, with a big impact. These locks have turned two attractive bridges into the ugliest things in Paris. If people need locks to express their love, they’re doing something wrong. Defacing landmarks to show that you love someone is completely wrong.

    6. 300 kilos per square meter. One of these days a railing will fall on some people’s head cruising on the Seine. People could be seriously injured. If this happened to a member of my family and had you in front of me, you being vegan or not, I would make you chew your lock.

  2. The lock, symbolic perhaps of the romance trap. These things are a f****** eyesore, seriously, get real people, figure out a way to express your love that does not involve a meaningless b***s*** ritual.

  3. OMG, the view is so much disturbed with all those locks. Certainly it is putting in a lot of weight on the structure as well. This has to end.

  4. Thank you for this campaign to save Paris from these hideous eyesores and safety hazards. I’ve visited Paris twice but these ugly dangerous objects hadn’t sprouted yet. To the people vandalizing these bridges I’d like to ask, how do you think this makes you special? Your grotesque hunks of metal defacing one of the most beautiful sights in Paris are just one of thousands of bits of vandalism.

    I was happy to see Oscar Wilde’s monument cleaned and protected from further degradation. Please, remove these monstrosities from the bridges of Paris so that people can see these lovely architectural features as they were meant to be seen.

  5. These locks are truly awful. I lived in Paris until 2006 and often went to the Pont des Arts or the Pont de Solférino, sitting there for a drink with friends. When I came back last year, I was appalled at the sight of these bridges cluttered with locks. Lovelocks are childish, silly and an eyesore. The sooner the Mairie removes them the better. Keep going ladies.

  6. While reading more on this subject I realized that there are actually vendors located near these bridges selling cheap locks and marking pens to tourists! So some Parisians are complicit in the destruction of these beautiful bridges? Sacre blue!

    1. I wouldn’t say Parisians are complicit. Many of our friends and neighbors are vehemently against the locks because of the damage they cause. It’s a tricky problem and there is a sense that city officials have been slow to act out of fear of appearing unwelcoming to visitors. But our petition, which is growing quickly over a short span of weeks, will hopefully tell them the people support any action they may take to make these spaces safe and beautiful again.

      1. You will notice that I said “some” Parisians are complicit, obviously my remark was clearly not intended to paint with too broad of a brush. I was merely stating that getting a ban enacted could prove difficult if there are individuals making money off of this practice. Do you know if these lock vendors are licensed? Do they operate with official standing or are they more of an under the radar occurrence?

        I live in a city with a river that divides us from a neighboring state and I was greatly surprised to see these locks appear on one of the bridges across the Ohio River. Is this now a worldwide phenomenon? How did this practice begin? Was there a particular novel or romantic movie that spawned this practice?

  7. I am an environmentalist and an animal rights activist, but not a vegan. Is it still ok for me to vandalize Parisian structures and monuments?

  8. A few locks in the beginning was “cute”, but it has now become a plague. I was shocked to see the state of the Pont des Arts last time I passed by it.
    It has gone from a romantic thing to “Everyone else has done it so therefore I must also do it”.

    Keep up the good work!!

  9. You have my blessing to remove these locks! If I drop an empty can somewhere I am poluting the environment, but it is ok to leave massive locks on the bridges and throw the key into the river. Whoever needed proof that people in love often do stupid things has to look no further! This is by the way not limited to Paris, all over Europe old and beautiful bridges are subject to this cancerous growth.

    1. Yes we are aware of this trend spreading all over Europe. They are even appearing on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. But those are cut off as soon as they appear because there is a real danger they could fall on passing cars. While we ourselves won’t be removing any locks (we leave that to the authorities and encourage others to do the same), we hope our petition efforts will have the same effect. Thanks for your support. Share our petition!

  10. OMG! I live in Graz, Austria and we have on the “Erzherzog Johann Brücke (Main Bridge in Graz)” at about 3000 of this love locks, but comparing to Paris thats nothing! It just looks f****** ugly! If you would remove all this locks you could make a bit of money with a scrap metal dealer.
    Imo there are better ways to express love for each other.
    I can fully support your initiative!

  11. On a recent lunchtime walk into town here in Melbourne I noticed the ‘love lock’ craze has taken off here too. Fortunately it does not pose the structural risk you talk about as it is currently on a new bridge but it is still just as ugly and tacky. People have been proclaiming their love for one another for millennia without littering cities with padlocks; I am by no means against public declarations of love I am however against littering and defacing public property. I support you in your campaign to free Paris from this eyesore and hope councils throughout the world take strict action on removing ‘love locks’ to nip this craze in the bud.

  12. this is the most silly petition ever: are you french? No, seems you’re american. Please take care of you r business and leave France to us, the french,.

    1. If you bothered to read the literature which is freely available on our site, you would have seen that this is entirely our business. We are both Parisian in that we live here and pay taxes. In addition, one of us (Lisa TH) IS both French and American. As a française and as taxpayers, we are simply exercising our rights to protest something we disagree with in the city where we both live. And where one of us has the right to vote. Thank you for your comment.

    2. Un con ça ose tout. C’est d’ailleurs à ça qu’on le reconnait. Toi t’es un sacré specimen.

  13. My daughter and her boyfriend visited and placed a lock 3 years ago. They won’t stop loving each other if the lock is removed! Take them down and protect the bridges for those of us who want to view the beauty of a historic city ( first trip to Paris next week !)
    Sharon A

    1. Thank you so much Sharon. This made me feel so good to read this. You really understand the bigger picture and the greater good we are trying to do here. And if they remove the locks, they can certainly be preserved in some way, so everyone wins. We’d like to use your quote on our site if that’s cool. —Lisa A.

    2. Sharon, how thrilling that you’re visiting Paris for the first time! You will have such a wonderful time, April in Paris is so beautiful. You have the right idea about these locks, your daughter and her boyfriend obviously have a relationship that’s more valuable than an inexpensive padlock, I hope your mindset concerning these locks spreads far and wide.

  14. I wanted to offer my full support to your cause.

    Can’t believe there are people defending this abomination. Actually this shouldn’t even be a matter of debate, public safety and clean environment are way more important than anyone’s fantasy.

    Not to mention common courtesy, tourism 101, do not intervene with the landscape!

    1. Thank you for your support. It seems the desire to leave a mark on the world supersedes all. Sadly, until there is a ban, people are at liberty to continue to do this. Share our petition with as many people as you can. Help us change the tide before we are all swallowed up by this trend.

  15. Your ‘right’ to place a piece of trash on a public bridge does not supersede my right to enjoy that bridge without a bunch of rusty locks. Want to proclaim your love to the world? Buy a billboard.

  16. Save the pandas! Oh, well, it didn’t work. Save the whales! Damn! It didn’t work either! So, what’s next? Yeah, right! Save the bridges!

    1. Does that mean no one should fight to save anything that is being damaged or degraded, whether it be pandas, whales, the environment, or historic bridges and monuments in a city that has centuries of history? Should we just ignore problems in the world whether they be big ones or smaller ones, because we think someone else will take care of it or because we think there is no point? Good thing not everyone feels as YOU seem to do, or the world would be in even worse shape.


  18. I just wonder how come so many people came to associate the lock, which would seem a symbol of jailing people, putting them behind bars and turning the key, and the idea of love. It seems a kind of strange perversion to me, for which those putting these so-called “lovelocks” are certainly not responsible, but rather some lack of sense of safety, I guess.
    If Paris is indeed associated with romance, it also has to do with the idea, which is so strong in the spirit and the history of the city, that love is not a bond, but a promise for shared liberty. Being or falling in love here means opening to wider horizons, or should mean it, not reducing your shared future to such a pitiful object…
    Thank you for your great initiative, and it is really heartwarming to see it coming from French-American couple – which is in itself comforting the point I was trying to make about the link between love and liberty…

    1. We agree with you about the symbolism of a lock not really fitting with our idea (or the French idea) of love being freely given and received. Many French supporters have told us they feel the same way. This was not a French idea… it came with with tourism in 2008. Although we (the two Lisas) are not a “couple”… I’m the French-American married to a French man (who has been a huge part of this project as well, though more behind the scenes, along with several French friends who have helped us along the way). Lisa A and I are long-time friends and we make a great team for this project because we have a shared love of Paris and really care about the quality of life and the patrimoine (heritage) in our adopted city. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, you made my day! — Lisa TH

  19. More power to you! This habit is shallow and narcissistic. Whatever happened to being discreet? If you’re in love, that’s great, and I’m really happy for you; it’s increased the sum of human happiness in a miserable world. But really, keep it to yourselves, please! There are other and better ways to show you love each other than inflicting it on everyone else, and offending a great many people in the process. Kind of defeats the object, don’t you think?

    The solution, I think, is simple. The civil authorities in affected cities should issue their street cleaning teams with bolt cutters and instruct them to use them, preferably each night. If they think this is too confrontational, then once a week will probably do. At least we could then stand a chance of enjoying beautiful civic landscapes without intrusion.

    They clean graffiti from public spaces, don’t they? Why should this childish vanity be treated any differently?

  20. I support your effort. I’ve spent substantial amounts of time in Paris over the decades as I have family there. I’ve travelled quite a bit and been to some pretty amazing places, but there’s no place like Paris. The Pont Des Arts has always been a special place and I virtually always visit it at least once when I’m in Paris. I’ve always loved the inviting simplicity of the bridge – simple metal railings and a wooden deck with a few benches in the middle. Like a little park that spans the river. With a really amazing 360 degree view. Due to various life circumstances, I’ve not been to Paris since about 2006, back when the Pont Des Arts and the other bridges over the Seine had yet to be burdened by this silly love locks practice.

    It’s important to remember that this is NOT a “tradition” in any real sense of the word. This is a trend that is only a a relative few years old.

    There is nothing “French” or “Parisian” about love locks. Apparently the love locks thing may have started somewhere in Italy several years ago. I’ve heard that the genesis of the idea came from some trite teenage novel. It’s not Parisians or the French who are doing this by and large, it’s foreign tourists.

    I’ve been a foreign tourist in fifteen countries on four continents. Much as it would never occur to me to write or carve anything – a profession of love or what have you – on a ninth century Buddhist temple in Central Java or a historic structure in Yellowstone National Park, I just can’t think of why I should attach a hunk of metal to a Napoleonic Era bridge in Paris. Or scribble my name on a statue. Or spray paint a message on a wall. The first rule of being a guest – and tourists are guests – be respectful of the place and the people you are visiting.

    And with that I will bring my rant to a close…

    1. Overcat, I’ve looked and looked for the genesis of this noxious ritual and have been unable to trace it. Would you happen to know the title of the young adult Italian novel?

  21. I have been in love with Paris my entire life (25 years). I finally got my first chance to visit this enchanting city a little over a year ago. I’ll admit I originally found the idea of locking your love with your significant other to the city I love so much very romantic. I also liked the eclectic, avant garde, display. However, being a hopeless romantic, I filed it away as a romantic gesture I could enjoy with my boyfriend when we visited Paris together some day. I never really thought about how these locks could be destructive to the city I love so much.

    I fully understand and support this petition. It’s is so important to preserve a city’s history, as well as keep in mind safety concerns. You may say it’s you “right” but you have to remember you are a guest of the city. I would rather make memories in Paris other ways than participate in an act seen as vandalism, or to come back and find out my lock had to cut off because it was took part in the destruction of a bridge( heartbreaking) Pictures with my love in Paris are just as enjoyable.

    Come on people, stop doing it and move on with your lives.

  22. Many thanks for this initiative that I fully support! As an inhabitant of the fifth arrondissement I am very sad to see that the marvelous sight from the quai de Montebello (one of Paris’ most beautiful) has been devastated by disrespectful tourists. And I am all the more sad since it is definitely not a French / Parisian tradition, it has been created from scratch and spread by tourism guides in less than five years.
    Maybe one little padlock somewhere on the bridge was lovely some years ago, now it has turned into a locust plague, padlocks are so numerous that new comers attach their one to old ones, being unable to reach the bridge itself (your love would depend on someone else’s love, funny). Where is love in that industry? Wasn’t the view romantic enough?

    If my local taxes were aimed at paying somebody to watch over the bridge all day long, I would definitely support it!

  23. Dear Paris-lovers,
    I believe a digital “message board” at both ends of these bridges could display personal messages for, let say, €2 a piece, in a rolling format (“Jessica & Bob, November 6, 2013”; “Ryan and April, March 2, 2014”, etc.) – that would give people the satisfaction of publicly announcing their affection yet save the metal and the bridge while contributing to bridge maintenance.
    Alaskans say leave the place nicer than you found it – doesn’t seem to be honored with this practice. I personally think the locks are plain trash… but each to his own, maybe people insisting on them do the same in their living room…

  24. I am not a fan of the city of Paris in general, but I have no problem with this. I think it helps to create what very little character Paris has- and it could create a job or two and revenue for the city! Hire someone to oversee the sales of pre-approved locks (size, weight). Tourists/lovers buy the locks and there could be a patrol person strolling the bridge to make sure no one is breaking the rules – which we know will happen from time to time, but that applies to just about everything.

    If it is causing damage to the bridge, then let the authorities cut off the locks and patrol the area.

    Just seems your efforts could be focused on much better and more important things than locks on a bridge.

    1. If you lived in Paris, and saw what it was doing to the city and the quality of life for the locals, you might think differently. This is about the people as much as the bridges. But you’re right about finding solutions and we are trying to do just that. Thanks for your comment!

      1. Dear Love locks…are u French citizens with full voting rights??
        If yes…less than 2000 supporters ,….is quite insignificant. if No….then let citizens manage their city!

      2. One of us (Lisa Taylor Huff) is a French-American and I just voted for the first time in the recent mayoral elections. Lisa Anselmo owns a home in Paris and is a taxpayer, therefore she also has a legal right to protest something in the city, especially something that requires tax money to maintain and support. And our petition has logged 4,423 signatures as of this moment – we’ve picked up 1400 in the past 3 days alone. And we are only getting started. People in Paris and even visitors WANT this to happen.

  25. I’m not French, or American, or Vegan. I’m actually Brazilian and saw this campaing on a local website. Caught my attention, so I went to look further and understand more what was going on.

    Reading some of the comments and discussions (can’t understand how people insist on doing this on the internet), I began to realize that those who want to leave those locks there, actually think that those who don’t, don’t have love in their lives, are miserably alone and in a very envious and dark place.


    Just because I don’t believe in marriage, doesn’t mean I’m a heartless b*tch and can’t find someone that doesn’t too so we live together happily (as a matter of fact, that’s what happened to me, OMG :O )

    So, for those who think there are more important things to do, why don’t you start doing those other things, instead of comming here just to say how important is to save your lock that you won’t find again in this sea of, what it seems to me, JUNK, built by minds that still have 12 years old.

    Last, but not least, you girls have my total support. Going to sign this petition and hope that this beautiful city that I visited 5 years ago stay free from those cheesy locks.

    1. “Sea of junk”, that made me laugh, too true. It’s like looking for that “special” greeting card you gave to your lover that’s now in a landfill.

  26. Good grief! So the book that described this ritual actually described a man lying to seduce a woman? These locks are based on that?! Why not call them Lie Locks?
    “Last year, a novelist and screen writer, Federico Moccia, wrote the second installment of a story of young Romans called, in English, “I Want You.” Like many affairs, his hero’s starts with a lie: He convinces a potential girlfriend of an invented legend, in which lovers wrap a chain around the third lamppost on the bridge’s northern side, lock it and throw the key into the Tiber.
    “And then?” the girl asks.
    “We’ll never leave each other,” he says, with no shame.
    (From The New York Times)

  27. Also a Brazilian here! Been to Paris 14 years ago and luckily this shit hadn´t started yet.
    As Juvi said, I´m not a heartless envious person: got a boyfriend and really love him but seriously i think respect is the most important part of any relationship (and anything in life) so I wouldn´t lock our names to an old bridge (be it in Pris or anywhere else) because we don´t need any silly lock to prove our love. We got eachother to prove it!
    When my parents went to Paris and told me about the bridges a few years ago I didn´t really care about it. I had never thought about it before and didn´t know this was taking such hideous proportions but seriously? Would anyone like that someone started hanging locks around your windows at home? I think this shouldn´t even need a petition: it should just be considered as vandalism as it is! Writing your name with your loved one´s name on a wall could be romantic but it still vandalism and a crime so why is putting a lock on a bridge any diferent?

  28. Love locks? They are awful and they are everywhere. What do people think? If they need a ritual to express their never ending love, fine with me. Using something hideous and ugly like a lock on a bridge.. really people? REALLY? I have to see it, other people have to see it. You destroy something that belongs to everyone just for your egocentric and narcissist display of love. Put the lock on your stove, refrigerator or a lamp in your home. You can do what you want in your home.

    You won’t carve your initials in the Mona Lisa or paint a graffiti on Sacre Coeur won’t you?

  29. If you came to my town and left something behind, I’d try to return it. If I couldn’t return it, I’d donate it or throw it away. Since these locks cannot be returned or donated… throw them away. The “intention” of the couples would be met, and the people who live there would not have to deal with the eyesore.

  30. The locks are an ugly eyesore to an otherwise beautiful city. It’s nonsense

  31. What a beautiful website you have created. I read about your effort in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette today. I certainly see your reason for this effort and agree with it.

  32. I couldn’t be more in support of your project! This padlock phenomenon has been a pet peeve of mine for so long. The situation in Paris looks rediculous but it is becoming just as bad all over the world. It breaks my heart to see such pleasant views ruined by selfish acts of vandalism – in many ways this disturbs me far more than graffiti tags (not real street art of course, which has artistic merit and brightens up surroundings).

    I wish you the very best with this project. I really hope the French authorities will remove them all and free us of this blight! :)))

    1. I would also like to add that it is also terrible what we are doing to our waterways – this ritual results in the throwing away of millions of pieces of metal into rivers – aka habits where our fish live and which are connected to our drinking supplies. I think we need a major rethink with this nonsense as sadly it doesn’t look lit its a fad that will go away by itself.

      1. We absolutely agree about the need for a major rethink. This is a large part of the problem: that the people who do find this “tradition” to be romantic and all about declaring their love are NOT really thinking about the impact on the places where they want to attach their locks. Like many people in love, they are wrapped up in their romantic moment, in a foreign city, eager to create wonderful memories. We understand that there is no ill intent behind the attaching of the locks. Nonetheless, the RESULT is the problem, not the intention. And the RESULT in Paris — nearly a MILLION rusting padlocks spreading over 11 bridges and even the Eiffel Tower — is not “loving” to the city and its historic heritage, or to the residents.

        The people that visit here and attach locks seem to believe that they have the right to come here and leave a rusting lock anywhere they like, because it’s in the name of their love. That is seriously misguided thinking, not to mention irresponsible behavior. When you do something to a place or a structure that causes damage, is visually unappealing and results in a cost to the people who live there, THAT is vandalism. And YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO IT, even in the name of love.

        This is the message we are hoping to spread — that tourism and travel should be RESPONSIBLE and RESPECTFUL. When we visit someone else’s city or country, we have a responsibility to do as the adage says: “Tread softly, take only photos and leave only footprints”. That means that we should do no harm to the places we visit, because they are not OURS, we are only passing through. Souvenirs are supposed to be things you bring home with you, and in the French language “souvenir” is the verb “to remember” or the noun for “memory”. A lock that you attach to one of our historic bridges, a place that is a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a purely selfish act. We want people to begin to reflect before they do this… and then maybe they’ll come up with another kinder, gentler way to create those special memories, whether in Paris or in any city they’re visiting. Leave the locks at home, on your school locker, your garden shed, your bicycle. They don’t belong on our bridges and monuments!

  33. That crazy trend only benefits to lock makers ! And I bet those invading locks are not even produced in France nor in Europe. Achetez français !

  34. Not sure it will work but I’m signing the petition. I walked to work every day across the Pont des Arts from 2007 to 2011. I’m an architect here still. Of all the bridges over the Seine it is on this one that you’d feel closest to the water, when the railings weren’t obscured. That moody Seine whose speed, height, intensity varies by day, unpredictably, and somehow reflecting the city’s actual state of mind. It is a lightweight, wonderfully simple bridge crossing a capricious river. Our best memories are of it without the locks. I’d take a long embrace or warm kiss on its unassuming edge anyday over another cheap expression. Why would one need a photo or an overpriced lock to remember that? Enjoy things for what they are and leave them, they are not ours.

  35. Beauty/ugliness is in the eye of the beholder. What one person sees as an offensive eyesore another person may see as a beautiful gesture of love. People are certainly entitled to their opinions and their desire to persuade others to their way of thinking (politicians have been doing this for centuries) but I would like to think that, in our world today, there are more important issues that deserve this type of attention.

    1. I agree that beauty or lack thereof is subjective. However, more than 6000 people who have signed our petition (75% of them French) agree that in this situation, the love locks are out of control and now constitute a form of vandalism and visual pollution in the extreme. If you have not been to Paris both before and after the locks, if you have not seen it for yourself, it may be difficult to appreciate just how bad this looks, how it degrades the views and affects the quality of life for people who live here. You may not be aware that the entire center of Paris along the riverfront, from the Eiffel Tower to the end of the Ile Saint Louis, has already been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means it is of great historical, cultural and global significance and must be protected. The city of Paris has also already classified the worst-affected bridge, the Pont des Arts, and several others as historical and deserving of protection. Yet, the city has permitted tourism to run amok and destroy these bridges. If the public doesn’t speak up about it, then that makes us complicit.

      As far as “more important issues”, yes of course there are. But why does that mean THIS issue is not deserving of attention, if enough people feel that it is? Isn’t saving historical, beautiful public spaces worth some time and effort? We believe it is. And thousands around the world seem to agree.

  36. It is unfortunate that they became know as “Lovelocks” If they were called Patriot locks or Religious locks you would be viewed as unpatriotic, or anti religious if you objected to their presence. So in some peoples minds no love locks means your against love. They are quite simply graffiti / vandalism locks, garbage left behind by thoughtless tourist.
    Living in France I often take guest to Paris. In the last five years I have seen the cancer like spread of graffiti, these locks and fast food garbage. I had decided it was too depressing to see what was happening to this amazing city and i would not return.
    I appreciate your efforts, there is hope I might see Paris again.

  37. People abandoning a lock on ANYTHING anywhere for any reason (except a lost key for an actual lock that locks something) is simply a form of pollution. Actual pollution (that metal used to make all the locks used a lot of energy and materials) and visual pollution. It is also costly to the cities.
    I am a romantic but, this is idiotic. The bridge rails eventually become so overloaded, the city has to DESTROY IT and all the locks on it.
    There is no permanence to this desecration and pollution.
    The only thing more stupid than this is the disgusting chewing gum walls found in some cities. Those serve no purpose at all.

  38. A couple of police officers (man and woman) put a wheel clamp on your car. So cute !

  39. Although I live in America, I was born in Paris and my heart breaks at the thought of so many chunks of metal littering and destroying her bridges and other landmarks. Those are historic landmarks that represent a part of the heritage of Paris and make the city what she is.

    Now, I’m as romantic as the next person, and I completely get that people want to proclaim their eternal love in such a romantic city as Paris, but honestly, defacing historical and iconic bridges and other landmarks is not the way to go. Please, take a picture or video with your beloved on the bridge, or wherever, and let that be your memory. Or, place a romantic ad/marriage proposal in the local Parisian paper for your beloved (if the paper would do that—I don’t know), or something that is not going to damage the city’s priceless architecture and heritage. Maybe the city of Paris could host a website for lovers to share their (family-friendly) romantic memories and one or two pictures of their time in the city? Great for tourism and doesn’t damage the environment. I think others have suggested it, but perhaps a park area dedicated to lovelocks? I don’t know if these ideas are viable, but I am trying.

    Repairs to the damaged structures cost tax dollars, and tourists really need to think through whether the potential consequences of their actions would be welcomed by the local taxpayers in whatever country they are visiting. Maybe a citizen of Paris will be in your home city one day. How would you like your home to be treated? Just because you may not know anybody in Paris or anywhere else you visit, does not make their homeland fair game for vandalism, even if your intent is purely romantic, and I do understand that people had the most romantic of intentions when they placed their locks on the bridges. Clearly many Parisians do perceive it as vandalism, however, so that alone should give one pause. Please, consider the rich history of the city you are visiting, and choose to be a positive part of it.

    From a historical perspective, a lot of tragedy has been visited upon mankind in the name of Love in the form of war, individual family tragedies, etc. Let’s not let destroying the beloved landmarks of City of Love, or any other city, be another one of them.

    Keep up the great work, ladies!

    Peace for your day.

  40. Ladies it is signed as i said i would. I hope this changes things in Paris and all over. I would greatly entertain the idea of having a designated place to have the love locks put only and remain for those who want to continue in foolishness and offering a fine for vandelism for those putting a lock on anywhere that is not part of this designated place. Maybe one day yeah! J.d. cordlé

  41. Okay, my girlfriend and I are planning to put a lock on a bridge in Paris this summer; it’s very meaningful to us. You all don’t realize the importance and symbolism the locks possess for couples. While I understand it is a concern because it can damage the bridges’ structures and makes them ugly perhaps– I don’t understand why you don’t consider this issue from the point off view of a couple in love. The locks really do ‘seal your love’ and make a couple feel even closer. Paris is the city of love, after all! Now, i’m biased, but you are too. Does the good of the couples’ sealed love and joy outweigh the bad of the bridges’ being covered in locks? i think it does. Please try to see the beauty in it. Many people see the concept of Parisian “love locks” as amazing and inspiring, yet others see it as a nuisance. It may be a smaller problem than one may think… does the good outweigh the bad? The couples’ feelings should be taken into account too.

    1. We won’t throw the key into the river though. Nor will we choose a huge historic bridge that’s already heavily adorned with locks.

      1. Oh, so you’re planning to uglify one of the clean bridges? That’s so much better.Oh wait, no it isn’t. Just have a think about how selfish you’re being – you want this, and to hell with anyone else, or the environment, or anything else.
        It’s not a meaningful thing to do, it’s just cheesy and clichéd, and you look ignorant by doing it.

        And just so you know, nearly everyone I know who has done this, has split up close to straight afterwards. Looks like really bad luck to me.

    2. Allow me a moment of your time to try and convince you not to put that lock on that bridge. Here’s why. (1) That bridge, and all the bridges and monuments that already have locks on them in Paris, are all historic structures. They are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That means that these bridges ought to be respected and protected for future generations. Putting a lock on one of these bridges is the same thing as saying “We don’t care about Paris or your history, Parisians. We care MORE about our love than we care about YOU.” Which brings me to point (2) – responsible tourism. Love locks are part of a growing trend in tourism where, instead of visiting a foreign place and coming away with photographs and little trinkets as souvenirs, tourists instead feel compelled to leave something of themselves behind. The problem with this is: Why do you think you have the right to come to another city and leave something there? Who invited you to do it? There is a certain idea with the love locks that because it’s in the name of your love, that somehow entitles you to leave behind a lock that will rust, make the bridges heavy, ugly and unsafe, and cost the taxpayers money in constant repairs. This is NOT “love” (even if love is the intention) – it is vandalism. Your love does not trump the rights of the residents of this city. You are VISITORS here. You will put your lock on our bridge, have your personal moment – and then leave, perhaps never to return. But your lock will stay there and become part of a huge, huge problem for Paris.

      By coming here and putting a lock on one of our bridges, it’s the same thing as telling the French you don’t care about them, their feelings, their history or their homeland. What kind of visitor is that? I’ll tell you: a selfish one. And yet you
      sound like a very nice guy, intelligent and articulate. I hear what you’re saying about the symbolism and importance to you as a couple, but that is about YOU and what YOU want out of this. Yes, Paris is the City of Love but at the rate this trend is going, it is quickly becoming the City of Locks. It’s really awful, and it’s ruining the historic heart of the city. We ask YOU to please reconsider, to step back for a moment from your quest to do something that’s all about YOU — and think about the bigger picture. Show some love TO Paris by NOT attaching a lock. There are dozens of ways you and your girlfriend can create special memories without becoming a part of what is really an enormous problem. One of the best — and it’s free — is to go up to Montmartre at Abbesses (check the metro map, it’s on line 12) where there is the “I Love You” wall in a little park just near the metro. “I Love You” is written in perhaps 100 different languages. Take a selfie in front of it!

      Think about it. If someone came to YOUR town, YOUR neighborhood, and hung locks or scribbled graffiti or in some way desecrated a special local monument, park or bridge – wouldn’t YOU be upset? Wouldn’t YOU want the local town hall to do something? Especially if the space being marked by visitors had special historic significance? We love love (I even fell in love in Paris, having met my husband here), but never would we consider defacing or vandalizing public property in the name of love. We would never have the arrogance to think we had the right to do it. That’s why we’re fighting to save the bridges and monuments from love locks. It’s trend that is selfish at the core; heck, these days in Paris it’s not even couples attaching locks — dozens of people come to the bridges every day and buy locks from illegal vendors, and put them on the bridge, simply because they “read it about it on the Internet, that it was the cool thing to do while in Paris”. They’re like sheep – not even thinking about what they’re doing, they just follow what all the other sheep have done before them.

      This tradition isn’t even French, by the way, it’s purely a tourist gimmick that has spread all over Europe as well as countries further away (ask NYC, Norfolk, Cincinnati, Boston, Pittsburgh and even little Dalton, Georgia about their locks problem in the States). Most Parisians really think that it’s ridiculous to try and “seal” your love in the form of a padlock. Locks are to trap something, to imprison something or someone – but love should be free, liberated! That’s how the French think of it.

      Are we biased? Yes. But we live here; visitors don’t. We want people to come and enjoy Paris, the way we did when we were tourists, too. It’s a fabulous city and we’re proud to be Parisians now. And we don’t want to kill anyone’s “love buzz”. But the bridges MUST be spared, protected and restored. The locks simply have to go from the bridges.

    3. After all I’ve heard, I’ve decided it’s a bad idea. I understand the damage that may be done and it doesn’t seem so smart anymore. I talked to her, and she agrees. We’ll do something else without leaving something behind; don’t worry. Some of the meanness by one person was highly unnecessary… Calm down. But after nolovelocks’ comment, I thought about it rationally. Thanks

      1. THANK YOU so much for taking the time to think it through and reconsider. The more people who are willing to look at it from the other side, the fewer locks to be removed and relocated. We are sure you will LOVE your trip to Paris and have many romantic moments. May I also suggest an impromptu picnic along the Seine, perhaps at the point of the Ile de la Cité near the Pont Neuf? That’s what Parisians like to do: just pick up a baguette, a bottle of wine and a corkscrew (you might even be able to get the caviste (wine seller) to uncork the bottle for you when you buy it!), some ham or dry sausage, some fruit… it’s divine! 🙂

  42. I think you should have all the locks removed and then melted down or put together some how maybe in the shape of a tree or something that can be a new place for lovers to hang there locks. This way solves the problem of lovers losing there locks and you losing your scenery

  43. People placing and abandoning a lock on ANYTHING anywhere for any reason (except a lost key for an actual lock that locks something) is a form of pollution. Actual pollution (that metal used to make all the locks used a lot of energy and materials) and visual pollution, also what about the pollution caused to the river or waterway when the keys are thrown away? It is also costly to the cities to have them removed.
    I am a romantic but, this is idiotic. The bridge rails eventually become so overloaded, the city has to DESTROY IT and all the locks on it.
    There is no permanence to this desecration and pollution.

  44. I agree wholeheartedly with your campaign. We were in Matlock, Derbyshire, UK, yesterday and saw these locks on a bridge there. I had never seen or heard of them before, but on the same day as seeing them for the first time an article appeared on the BBC website; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27221707
    and I found your website through a link on there. To my mind they are very ugly, effectively 3D graffiti, and they spoil the beauty of historic structures – not to mention potentially affecting the structural integrity. A purpose built sculpture in affected towns/cities (by a local artist) where people can fix their love locks could be a more attractive alternative and the cost of this might actually be less than the eventual cost of the local authority having to remove all the locks or complete bridge panels. Come on people – would you like your own property defaced like this? Why is it ok to do it to public architecture?

    1. Thank you for the link to the BBC article. I think municipalities need to nip this vandalism in the bud. I was absolutely horrified when I saw the photographs here on this website of the beautiful, historic bridges of Paris. I visited the city twice in the early 2000’s before this hideous vandalism had taken place. The bridges were so exquisite, it makes me weep to see what they’ve become. I’ve visited the UK and I’d hate to think this ugliness is happening there as well.

      Now I’m trying to get my own city to ban these locks before our bridges are destroyed or someone is killed attempting to hang one. Cincinnati is fortunate to have the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, it is an historic bridge that spans the Ohio River between Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. It was built by the same architect who built the Brooklyn Bridge but our bridge is older. I’ve started to see these locks appear on the huge bridges spanning the Ohio River. I would like to see huge fines levied against the vandals leaving these locks.

  45. I’m travelling to Paris for the summer and this was defiantly on my ‘to do list’. I must say that I can see the point ye are making and it has certainly made me re-think doing it. I’m a hopeless romantic and I did not think it was an eye sore until I saw the bike lock, I certainly won’t be doing it now. I think that the bridge should remain this way as it is a romantic place for us cheesey folk but I agree that a ban should be put in place. I saw that in Moscow they have made ‘love lock trees’ that are actually a beautiful art form and a geusture of love, maybe this is an option? Or a place to put ribbons? Ribbons would be light, bright and beautiful in the wind. Hopefully there will be a solution that can please all parties and still inspire love in visitors 🙂 I will still visit the bridge with my camera but I won’t be placing a lock 🙂

    1. Taylor, you are wonderful. You have just put tears of joy in our eyes. Thank you. Sadly, this trend is indeed vandalizing precious historic sites and putting a burden on the local people, breaking their hearts. What you are doing is MUCH more loving. Love is selfless. And you are being selfless. Once in Paris you will find just being there is romantic enough. Love to you!

  46. I think the people who are complaining about that petition don’t live in Paris. They just put the lock and go away, they don’t pay taxes to repair the brigde, they don’t see it everyday, they don’t care about damage or future injuries. They just care about them. The petitions isn’t against symbolism of lovers, it’s against degradation of important places in parisians city. I think tourist must have more respect of Paris (and any city) to care about things that is not day-by-day of them.

    1. I think that is wholy correct. They do not worry about the damage. They think there making history , not the damage if it were not for my family coming from France and being French i to would pass it all by with no concern, but when you see it as being a piece of who you are and know your love for your country, it is time for those damn lovelocks to go merci boucoup!. I have seen them on the fence at pont nuef park, on a window gaurd of st.bruno church, and most rediculous of all a big horse shoe shaped bicyclette lock with probably 50 other locks locked around its circumfrence. Malhuer they just do no respect or know what they are doung to our cities or country for that matter. J.d. cordlé Montmartre Paris

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