Les Parisiens parlent / Parisians are talking

Les Parisiens parlent pour leur patrimoine

Les Parisiens n’ont pas seulement signé notre pétition par milliers – ils ont aussi écrit des commentaires, sur la pétition et sur notre page Facebook, pour parler de leurs sentiments pour leur ville, ses ponts et ses monuments historiques, et pour dire pourquoi ils ont décidé de soutenir les efforts de No Love Locks. Parce que nous voulons que les Parisiens soient entendus par la Mairie et le Conseil de Paris, nous publions ici, maintenant et régulièrement après, quelques-uns des commentaires reçus. 

Ce sont leurs mots, leurs sentiments, pour la ville qu’ils aiment. Pensez-y AVANT d’accrocher ces cadenas à nos ponts.

Parisians speak up for their heritage

Parisians are not only signing our petition by the thousands — they have also written their comments, on the petition and on our Facebook page, to speak of their feelings for their city, its historic bridges and monuments, and why they decide to support the efforts of No Love Locks. Because we want Parisians to be heard by the Town Hall and City Council of Paris, we are publishing here, now and regularly in future, some of these comments. 

These are their words, their feelings, for the city they love. Think of them BEFORE you hang that lock on our bridges.

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“Membre du conseil de quartier des Iles, cela fait longtemps que nous demandons à la mairie d’intervenir sur cette pollution visuelle. Passant régulièrement sur le Pont l’archevêché, je connais bien la tête des vendeurs de cadenas ambulants que j’ai vu vendre un cadenas avec 1 clé, proposer un feutre effaçable pour marquer le nom et récupérer le cadenas quand le touriste a le dos tourné, effacer l’inscription et le revendre… Une solution doit être trouvée par la mairie, interdiction de l’installation sauvage avec amende, amendes pour les vendeurs à la sauvette, plusieurs lieux dédiés dans des espaces symboliques avec des structures adaptées…” — Jean-Dominique L.

“Member of the council in the district of the Ile de la Cité and Ile Saint Louis, for a long time we have asked the Mairie to intervene on this visual pollution. Passing regularly on the Pont de l’Archevêché, I recognize well the faces of the illegal locks-sellers whom I see selling a lock with 1 key, offer [to the buyer] an erasable marker to write the name, and then take back that same lock when the tourist’s back is turned, erasing the inscription and reselling it! A solution must be found by the Mairie, a ban on the savage installation [of locks] with a fine, fines for the illegal locks-sellers, and some places specifically dedicated and adapted to this symbolic ritual…”  – Jean-Dominique L.

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“Cette mode est devenue une dégradation de notre patrimoine.” – Michèle B.

“This trend has become a degradation of our heritage.” – Michèle B.

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“Atmosphere of prison.” – Thierry B.

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“Ces cadenas fragilisent la structure et la tenue de nos ponts et défigurent la beauté des barrières, empêchant ainsi, la lumière de passer d’un côté, et l’eau de la Seine d’être vu de l’autre. Je souhaite, par cette interdiction, sauver le patrimoine architectural de nos magnifiques ponts parisiens, et de tous nos sites historiques. Isabelle L., une citoyenne engagée et amoureuse de Paris. J’y habite depuis 45 ans… Parisiennement vôtre. IL”

“These padlocks weaken the structure and appearance of our bridges and disfigure the beauty of the barriers, and also prevent the light from passing from one side and the waters of the Seine to be seen from the other. I hope, through this ban, to save the architectural heritage of our magnificent Parisian bridges and of all our historic sites. Isabel L., an active citizen and lover of Paris. I’ve been living here for 45 years. Parisianally yours, IL”

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“A l’intention de Madame le Maire de Paris,

Je suis parisienne, née à PARIS… Je signe cette pétition. Au début, c’est vrai, ces “cadenas d’amour”, c’était sympathique, mais comme toutes les très mauvaises idées, cela prend des proportions déplorables, maintenant, c’est disgracieux, laid, même lourd au visuel et je suppose au concret aussi… (Et que dire de toutes ces clés en laiton ou autres métaux dans la Seine ? Bravo pour la préservation des biotopes et de la sauvegarde du fleuve. Il serait bon de connaître l’impact de tous ces métaux sur la faune et la flore…). Même mes amis de Province en visite à Paris, sont catastrophés et en sont tellement désolés : plus de perspective, des verrous partout, c’est moche, terriblement moche. Pour Madame le Maire de PARIS, en plus nouvellement élue, il est vraiment temps de prendre les dispositions pour ne plus laisser de la sorte détruire le patrimoine de Paris aussi stupidement. Pour M. DELANOE, c’est étonnant qu’il n’ait pas vu la dérive d’un tel débordement, sur l’esthétique qui est primordial à Paris. Ce mouvement “cadenas d’amour” enlaidit les ponts de Paris. Que faut-il avoir dans les yeux pour ne pas le remarquer ? Faut-il faire n’importe quoi au nom de n’importe quelle idée ? Comptons sur la totalité de ces “cadenas” débilement accrochés, les soi-disant grands amours qui ont finis et finiront en rupture ou plus tard même en divorce… Mais en attendant n’auront pas manqué, c’est sûr, de marquer de leur pollution, l’espace et l’eau vive, et d’enlaidir la capitale… Sauvons les ponts de Paris de ces débordements idiots sans scrupule qui s’abattent sur l’architecture et les œuvres d’Art. Arrêtons le massacre, à ce rythme, il n’y aura plus de jolie ville du tout, plus de romantisme, plus de beauté, et à la longue elle ne sera plus sillonnée par les amoureux… les vrais, les amoureux de Paris. Merci de votre compréhension.” – Cécile C.

“To the attention of Madame, the Mayor of Paris:

I am Parisian, born in Paris… I am signing this petition. At first, it’s true, the ‘love locks’ were cute, but like all bad ideas, it has taken on deplorable proportions now: it is disgraceful, ugly, even visually heavy and I suppose literally as well… (And what of all those metal keys in the Seine? Well done for the preservation of the habitat and safeguarding the river; it would be nice to know the impact of all that metal on the flora and fauna.) Even my friends from Province, when visiting Paris, are stunned and saddened by it: nothing but views of locks everywhere, it’s ugly, terribly ugly. For Madame [HIDALGO], the new-elected Mayor of Paris, it is really time to take measures in order to not allow this problem to destroy the heritage of Paris so stupidly. For Mr. DELANOE [former mayor for the past 12 years], it is astonishing that he did not notice the impact of such a profusion on the aesthetic which is primordial to Paris. This “love locks” movement is making the bridges of Paris ugly. How is possible NOT to notice this with your own eyes? Do we allow people to do whatever they want in the name of no matter what idea? Yes, let’s depend on the concept of these moronically attached padlocks, these so-called “great loves” that have ended or will end in a break-up or even in divorce… but while waiting for that, the city will have been marked by their pollution of both space and living waters, and the uglification of the capital. Save the bridges of Paris from this  over-abundance of idiotic behaviors with no scruples who are raining down on our architecture and works of art. Stop the massacre: at this rate, there will be nothing left of our beautiful city at all, no more romance, no more beauty, and eventually she will no longer be populated by lovers… the TRUE lovers, the lovers of Paris. Thank you for your understanding.” – Cécile C.

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The City of Locks?

One of our supporters lamented on our Facebook page that she was afraid Paris would become known as the City of Locks. As the influx of “love lockers” increases daily, you have to wonder if her fears could be justified.

The City of Light Locks

It would be plenty ironic if that were to come to pass, since France’s national holiday celebrates the storming of the Bastille—a prison. Liberté, or liberty, is the first word in the country’s motto—Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité—and it is emblazoned on many public buildings around Paris. Liberty is really important to the French, who lived under kings and dictators for far too many centuries.

“Love is not a cage!” raged Parisian Fabien T., when asked about “love locks.” “It’s not a prison! This symbol is terrible for love!”

“Love should be free,” agreed Yann L. “It’s wrong to try to lock someone to you. That’s possession. Love cannot grow that way.”

Agnès C. Poirier talked about the French philosophy of love in her op-ed about “love locks” in the New York Times (“An Affront to Love, French-Style,” 18 August 2012). “To love truly is to want the other free…Love is not about possession or property. Love is no prison where two people are each other’s slaves.” She writes of French philosopher Alain Badiou’s book, In Praise of Love, in which he tells us risk is a part of love. “There is no safe, everlasting love,” Poirier writes. “The idea that you can lock two people’s love once and for all, and toss the key, is a puerile fantasy.”

While Paris is known as the City of Love throughout the world, its other moniker, the City of Light—a place of enlightenment—is even more highly prized by the locals. Intellect, education and philosophy reign supreme, and love as a concept is deeply intellectualized, dissected, discussed at length over drinks at the café. Ask most Parisians how they feel about “love locks” and you’ll hear words like “barbaric” and “oppressive,” but even more frequently, “unenlightened.” As a symbol of love, a lock is an epic fail for Parisians: it neither illustrates the free expression of passion, nor matches up to the lofty ideal of l’amour. In other words: it’s just plain wrong.

And now, this affront to the Parisian way of thinking is installed on nearly every bridge on their home turf, flying in the face of everything they hold dear: not just the historic bridges they cherish, but the very idea of what love means.

There’s a reason diplomats spend a good deal of time researching local customs and beliefs before they visit a foreign country. One misstep could start a war. Now there are over 700,000 missteps invading Paris’s bridges, and one could argue that’s a huge declaration of war on a city where each lock is a tiny missal aimed at the heart of their culture, their heritage and their beliefs.
—Lisa Anselmo

Read more about what Parisians are saying about the locks taking over their city.