Love can feel wonderful. But we also know too well the pain of love. What begins as deep and meaningful, can sometimes turn ugly and destructive. Just ask the Pont des Arts.
In 2008, inscribed locks started to appear on the wire meshing of the Pont des Arts in Paris, also known as the Passerelle des Arts, which spans the Seine between the Institut de France and the Louvre. This elegant pedestrian bridge—originally commissioned by Napoleon I in 1802—has become a symbol for lovers who have taken to fastening Love Locks to her sides.
At first, there were just a few locks—sweet, touching tokens that some could argue added to the beauty of the bridge. Even I was moved to snap some photos of the phenomenon back then (seen here), and in 2011, considered putting my own lock on the bridge to honor my mother who died of breast cancer that year.
I didn’t hang that lock in the end, and I’m glad. Today, the bridge barely resembles her former, glorious self. What was once poetry has become destruction. Love is turning ugly for the Pont des Arts. It’s starting to break her down, swallow her whole. She is being dominated, desecrated. In fact, it’s not love anymore, it’s pain. —Lisa Anselmo
SIGN OUR PETITION AND STOP THE DAMAGE TO OUR BRIDGES.
As an act of love for the city we love, we’ve created No Love Locks Day. If you love Paris like we do, and love her beautiful bridges, we’re asking that instead of hanging a lock on the Pont des Arts this February 14th, you share a kiss—and share this message. Love should be free. Don’t put a lock on it. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers.
Before the Love Locks began appearing on the Pont des Arts, sometime in 2008, this was the gorgeous view Parisians and visitors alike could enjoy. A pedestrian bridge, part of which dates back to Napoleon I, is constructed of a steel frame and wooden planks, designed so people could stroll and take in the expansive views in all directions, or sit on benches and enjoy being in the very heart of Paris. It was a calm and tranquil place to relax for couples, singles, family and friends.
Today, this is no longer the case. The Love Locks have not only destroyed the views, they are destroying the bridge itself. Their presence has promoted other acts of vandalism, like graffiti, and the discarded keys are polluting the river beneath. The locks trend has now spread from the Pont des Arts to four other bridges in Paris. Unchecked, this trend could degrade all of Paris’s historic bridges. What’s love got to do with that?
No Love Locks™ is a community effort to educate the public and shift opinion about the trend of attaching locks to public spaces as a romantic gesture. We’re not down on love, in fact, we love love—we just hate the locks.
Join us on Facebook, and help us spread the word: a rusting lock isn’t romantic. Neither is a collapsing bridge. Ask yourself: if you love a place, and cherish the moment, is that lock really the best way to show it, now that you know what you know?