Late yesterday afternoon, we received word that something amazing had happened on the Pont des Arts.
So this morning, we raced there to see for ourselves. And here is the surprise: GLASS PANELS!
No Love Locks has today received official confirmation from the Mairie de Paris, the office of First Deputy Mayor Bruno Julliard, that these two panels will shortly be joined by a third. They are being placed on the Pont des Arts as a test of an alternate to the type of fencing that permitted more than 60 metric tons of padlocks to be attached. As part of their efforts to remove padlocks from all bridges and monuments in the city, the Mairie must also address the issue of preventing new locks from being attached. These glass panels are the first serious such effort at prevention. It is clear to see from the photos that there is no place for a lock to be attached – hooray!
According to the Mairie, this is a special type of glass, and it is not plastic or Plexiglass. It is designed to be shatter-resistant, anti-glare, and it is treated with something that will not allow graffiti tagging. The City wants to test how well this works, and if it is a success, we can expect to see other panels replaced with the same glass over a period of time. The costs to the City to replace all 110+ panels on this bridge alone will no doubt be considerable, but when compared to the damage caused to the bridge from the locks over the past 6 years, and the constant upkeep costs as well as the security risks posed by the heavy locks, this is an investment we hope the City will deem worthy.
While this is exciting to see, the fight to rescue Paris from locks-obsessed tourists is far from over. There are so many bridges and monuments in Paris where this plague of padlocks have already spread, and it will not be easy to prevent them in all cases. We still intend to push for a ban on locks, and for multi-lingual signs to be posted at all bridges and monuments informing the public that padlocks on city property, on historic structures, will be treated as vandalism and subject to fines accordingly. It is clear that the City wants the locks to be gone from Paris, just as we do. We still firmly believe a ban will help make that a long-term reality, and we still urge our supporters to continue to spread the word that love locks are NOT an appropriate symbol of love and that they are selfish acts of vandalism. The love locks epidemic is the result of a certain type of tourist, someone with an entitlement mentality. But let’s be clear – no one has the right to put a lock on Paris!
This new development is an important, visible step in the right direction. It gives us hope that the end is in sight, and that we are winning the war on irresponsible tourism. We can now begin to imagine the riverfront of Paris soon reverting to its original beauty, the public spaces returned to Parisians who have been deprived of them and to the millions of responsible visitors who genuinely love this special city.
Looking through the clear, locks-free glass panels at the river and riverbanks below, one can only think: This is the Pont des Arts as it is SUPPOSED to be. These are some of the best views of Paris at their loveliest and most unspoiled.
This is OUR Paris, friends, now being restored – one glass panel at a time.