Category Archives: Positive Progress

The REAL Pont des Arts, revealed once more

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!

The REAL Pont des Arts, revealed by specially designed glass panels!
The REAL Pont des Arts, revealed by specially designed 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.

The difference between the ugliness of the locks and the graffiti-covered boards, and the lovely, clear glass panels - it's astounding!
The difference between the ugliness of the locks and the graffiti-covered boards, and the lovely, clear glass panels – it’s astounding!

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.

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Paris City Hall Takes a Stand: NO MORE LOVE LOCKS

Yesterday, on the Pont de l’Archevêché in the 5th arrondissement, Paris City Hall held a press conference to officially announce their anti-“love lock” campaign. Vanessa Panetto, head of communications for the city spoke to some 20-odd journalists about the plan for addressing the “love locks” problem plaguing Paris.

Panetto began her statement with the issues of weight and safety, citing the potential dangers of collapse, a very real threat that has clearly pressed them into action, finally. According to Panetto, the #lovewithoutlocks selfie campaign, which launched this past Monday, is just the first step in what appears to be a speak-softly-but-carry-a-big-stick plan. “We’re testing a more conciliatory approach first,” Panetto told the press, “but if it does not work, a ban could be the solution.”

This was the first time City Hall publicly threatened a ban on “love locks,” though when asked by journalists present, Panetto would not commit to a date when a ban might be imposed. Meanwhile, after three months of heavy tourist traffic, the Pont des Arts has nearly 20 panels in some state of collapse, many covered by plywood boards or construction barriers.

stickerIn addition to the selfie campaign, the city of Paris has placed 23 large stickers on the Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archevêché urging love-lockers in French, English and Spanish: Our Bridges Can No Longer Withstand Your Gestures of Love. NO MORE LOVE LOCKS!

It remains to be seen if tourists will heed the new campaign, especially since they have not been dissuaded by the obvious signs of damage the locks have caused. But it is encouraging to see City Hall finally taking a stand. In the end, though, they may have to take out that big stick—in the form of an outright ban on “love locks”—before Paris loses some of its most cherished landmarks.

The Pont des Arts after 3 months of heavy tourist traffic.
The Pont des Arts after 3 months of heavy tourist traffic. Tourists hang locks, unfazed.

Paris to Lovers: Love Without Locks

On Monday, August 11th, Paris City Hall launched a campaign targeted at padlock-crazy lovers. The message: “Our Bridges Can No Longer Withstand Your Gestures of Love.” The idea: take a selfie instead, and share it with #LoveWithoutLocks. Your image will appear on a special website alongside other enlightened lovers who choose not to vandalize the city’s most cherished heritage sites.

What's left of the Pont des Arts. A lamp missing, brought down by the weight of locks.
What’s left of the Pont des Arts. A lamp missing, brought down by the weight of locks. After the heavy tourist season, Paris’s bridges are deeply in danger.

This is an important first step in the fight against the padlocks now endangering two of the most important bridges in Paris, and spreading to 11 others along the Seine. It’s an effort to educate people and change their point of view.

In Paris, some critics of the campaign call it “soft” and “ineffective.” And indeed, three months into the heavy tourist season here—the Pont des Arts now with over 15 collapsing panels—one wonders how this selfie initiative will even make a dent in the problem. Still, we hope #LoveWithoutLocks is the beginning of an aggressive campaign against “love locks” and that Mayor Hidalgo will now take a stronger stance on protecting the UNESCO World Heritage site along the Seine. In the meantime, we will continue to push for a ban on “love locks,” as it seems the only way to end this practice once and for all.

Help us, along with Paris City Hall, to promote this lock-free expression of love. Share the hashtag LoveWithoutLocks and the official website, lovewithoutlocks.paris.fr.

Sign our petition to ban “love locks.”

FLASH: La Mairie de Paris discute avec NLL

Nous sommes heureux de vous annoncer que la première réunion entre No Love Locks et la Mairie de Paris a eu lieu le vendredi 27 juin. Cette réunion téléphonique d’une heure a permis d’échanger sur nos points de vues, nos analyses et nos actions à propos de l’élimination des cadenas à Paris. Cette réunion était à l’initiative de l’équipe de Bruno Julliard à la Mairie de Paris, que nous remercions. M. Julliard est le premier adjoint et il a été chargé par la Maire de Paris, Anne Hidalgo, de trouver des alternatives aux cadenas.

C’est une étape importante pour notre mouvement et notre campagne. Nous avons été entendus et la Mairie a montré un intérêt certain pour le travail réalisé depuis cinq mois. La Mairie avait auparavant reçu notre dossier de 44 pages et s’est montrée impressionnée par la communauté active qui soutient la campagne, notamment à travers les médias sociaux.

No Love Locks a ainsi eu l’occasion de présenter directement les propositions d’actions que nous considérons comme nécessaires pour éradiquer l’épidémie de cadenas sur les ponts et les monuments de Paris. Les voici :

  1. Affichage plurilingue autour et sur les ponts et monuments affectésCet affichage expliquera que ces sites sont protégés (patrimoine mondial UNESCO) et que personne ne doit y accrocher de cadenas. Une des raisons pour lesquelles les cadenas ont proliféré est que jusqu’à maintenant personne n’a officiellement dit que les cadenas n’étaient pas les bienvenus à Paris. Si la Ville dit stop, alors un grand nombre de gens arrêteront. C’est la priorité numéro 1 – un affichage informatif, pédagogique et dissuasif.
  2. Interdiction et enlèvement des cadenas des ponts et des monuments affectésNous croyons que l’interdiction explicite des cadenas est une part essentielle du message envoyé au public, sur ce qui est acceptable et respectueux, et que le vandalisme ne peut être toléré. L’affichage dissuasif devrait permettre de réduire le nombre de nouveaux cadenas mais ne suffira pas sans une interdiction explicite de la part de la Ville de Paris. Et oui : nous voulons toujours que 100% des cadenas soient enlevés.
  3. Mesures préventives pour empêcher l’accrochage de cadenas (incluant l’usage de matériaux différents).Les deux ponts prioritaires sont naturellement le Pont des Arts et le Pont de l’Archevêché, ceux qui sont les plus défigurés par les cadenas et où les dangers sont les plus importants pour les ponts et le public – comme l’a révélé le dernier écroulement en date d’un panneau avec 700 kg de cadenas. Mais les cadenas attachés au Pont Alexandre III sont très choquants, puisqu’ils sont attachés à des sculptures historiques, même s’ils sont peu nombreux. Des mesures urgentes doivent être prises. Il est paradoxal de constater que les grilles fines auxquelles sont accrochés les cadenas ont été ajoutées aux Ponts pour protéger les enfants de chutes dans la Seine notamment, et que ces mêmes grilles sont devenues aujourd’hui un danger pour le public et les Ponts, à cause des cadenas.
  4. Interdiction de la vente de cadenas dans un certain périmètre autour des ponts et des monuments affectésCes mesures doivent s’appliquer non seulement aux vendeurs à la sauvette, mais aussi aux boutiques et aux bouquinistes.
  5. Appel ouvert à projets alternatifs aux cadenasNo Love Locks soutient cette initiative annoncée par la Mairie de Paris. Nous pensons qu’elle doit être lancée le plus vite possible et ouverte à des projets culturels, solidaires et environnementaux : Puisque notre objectif est de ne plus avoir de cadenas, il faut dissocier dans ces appels le traitement des cadenas existants (stockés dans les entrepôts de la Mairie et sur le Ponts) et des solutions alternatives sans cadenas.
  6. Partenariats et soutien populaireNous avons tissé des partenariats avec des associations impliquées dans la protection du patrimoine (comme l’Association pour la défense du site de Notre Dame et ses environs) et cherchons à les multiplier. Les 9300 signataires de notre pétition, les 3000 « J’aime » sur Facebook et nos 500 abonnés sur Twitter montrent que le soutien du public à notre initiative est important – sans compter les très nombreuses lettres reçues directement par la Mairie à ce sujet.

Après avoir eu l’opportunité de présenter notre vision et notre stratégie à la Mairie, et après avoir reçu un bon écho à nos propositions, nous croyons que la Mairie est réellement consciente et engagée dans la résolution de ce problème, au plan de la sécurité du public et du patrimoine, comme nous le sommes, ici à No Love Locks. La haute saison touristique bat son plein à Paris et nous pensons que des actions visibles de la part de la Mairie vont maintenant être mises en œuvre rapidement, bien que nous n’ayons pas été avertis de mesures spécifiques.

Nous espérons que cette première rencontre ainsi que l’accueil positif suite à nos efforts (et aux vôtres surtout) conduira à une future collaboration et à une communication régulière avec la Mairie pour libérer Paris des cadenas. Depuis le lancement de notre campagne il y a cinq mois, c’est le développement le plus significatif et nous sommes heureux de le partager avec vous.

Nous vous encourageons, vous, nos supporters, à continuer à répandre le message que les cadenas ne sont pas des symboles de l’amour et qu’ils ne sont qu’une forme de vandalisme et de pollution quand ils sont attachés à des ponts ou à des monuments. Paris était déjà la Ville de l’Amour avant les cadenas, et continuera à l’être encore plus après leur disparition. Que pouvez-vous faire pour nous aider ? La réponse est simple : Continuez à signer et à faire signer la pétition, en y laissant des commentaires pour la Mairie. C’est un moyen de montrer la nécessité d’un effort soutenu de la Mairie, étape par étape, afin de restaurer la beauté et l’utilité des Ponts de Paris.

Comme voyageurs ou touristes, nous n’avons pas le droit de faire ce que nous voulons chez les autres, et nous ne sommes pas légitimes pour laisser notre empreinte uniquement parce que nous avons payé pour notre voyage ou par amour. Les touristes doivent repenser leurs comportements, au risque de détruire les endroits qu’ils cherchent à découvrir – à travers la pollution, le vandalisme ou l’inconscience. Si vous aimez un endroit suffisamment pour le visiter, alors aimez-le suffisamment pour le laisser dans l’état où vous l’avez trouvé en repartant. Vous pouvez donc aussi soutenir No Love Locks en partageant le message du tourisme responsable et respectueux : Ne pas nuire. Ne prendre que des photographies. Ne laisser que des empreintes de pieds.

Nous vous tiendrons évidemment informés de tout développement important dans cette bataille à Paris. Y compris lorsque vous pourrez soumettre vos idées au moment de l’appel ouvert à projets. Beaucoup parmi vous nous ont déjà suggéré des idées, et vous pourrez également les proposer à la Mairie de Paris.

Merci encore pour votre soutien sans faille. Ce soutien et la communauté que nous avons bâti ensemble est un moyen puissant pour faire aboutir nos idées et pour franchir des étapes comme lors de cette rencontre de vendredi. C’est vous qui faites la différence !

FLASH: Paris City Hall speaks with NLL

We are very pleased to report that on Friday, June 27th, the first-ever meeting between the Mairie de Paris and No Love Locks was held by telephone, for the purposes of each party becoming more familiar with the efforts and point of view of the other, and to search for the potential to collaborate in finding solutions to the love locks epidemic in our city. The meeting, which was initiated by a representative from the office of Bruno Julliard (First Deputy Mayor) , lasted for a full hour and was a very exciting step for our movement!

We were truly gratified by the warm reception we received, and by the genuine interest shown in our campaign and in the work we have done these past five months. They were in receipt of our 44-page presentation on the locks problem in Paris, which we sent to Mayor Hidalgo and Mr. Julliard several weeks ago, and were impressed by the scope of the work we have done in creating this active community of supporters and in harnessing the power of social media to draw public, city and media awareness to this issue.

During the meeting, No Love Locks had the opportunity to present the following proposals for specific actions that we believe can and must be taken in order to achieve the goal of saving the bridges and monuments of Paris from the love locks epidemic.

  1. Post multi-lingual signs at all affected bridges and monuments to notify the public that these are historic structures and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Paris, that they must be respected, and that locks (and graffiti) will not be tolerated. Part of the reason the locks are so out of control is that, until now, no one has ever told the public this trend is unwelcome here in Paris. If the City says “STOP”, then many people will actually stop. This must be a first priority – signs that informative, educational, and dissuasive.
  2. Ban and remove existing locks from all affected bridges and monuments. We believe an explicit ban is an essential part of communicating to the public what is and is not “acceptable and respectful behavior” here in Paris, and that vandalizing our bridges will simply not be tolerated. Although posting signs will succeed to a degree in reducing the number of new locks, some will not alter their intentions to attach locks unless they know the city specifically bans them. And yes, we still want a 100% removal of all locks from all bridges and from monuments, public parks, etc.
  3. Seek preventative measures (including the use of different materials for safety railings) to stop people from attaching new locks to the bridges. The top priorities here are the Pont des Arts and the Pont de l’Archevêché, the two bridges that are the most horribly disfigured by locks and where both the bridges and the public are in the most immediate and real danger – as evidenced by the recent collapse of one of the bridge panels which weighed in at 700 kg or over 1,500 lbs. In addition, the Pont Alexandre III has very few locks, but the fact that they are attached to the historic sculptures is truly shocking; here, also, measures must be taken immediately. It is paradoxical that mesh grilles were attached to some of the bridges in order to protect children from falling into the Seine, and that now these same grilles have actually become a danger to the public and the bridges themselves, because of the locks.
  4. Ban and fine the sale of locks within a certain radius of any bridges or monuments. This would target bouquinistes, souvenir shops and those selling locks illegally on the bridges.
  5. Open call for alternatives to locks: We fully support this initiative, already announced by Bruno Julliard, but we feel it should be launched as soon as September instead of the end of this year. Then, if our objective is to have Paris completely free of locks, it is necessary to separate the call for suggestions of what to do with the existing locks (both those on the bridges today which have yet to be removed, and those already removed which remain in city storage) from the call for creative alternatives to the locks.
  6. Partnerships and public support: We have formed/are actively forming partnerships with associations (such as the Association of the Notre Dame Site and Environs) whose mission is to protect the architectural heritage of Paris and of France. And as evidenced by the over 9,300 signatures on our petitionthe nearly 3,000 Facebook “likes” and nearly 500 Twitter followers (as well as the many, many letters the Mairie has already received directly on this issue), it is clear that public support, both within and outside of Paris, for these efforts is high.

After having the opportunity to share our vision and proposed strategy with the Mairie, and having received very positive feedback from them, we are now greatly encouraged and confident that the Mairie is as concerned for the security and safety of the public, and for the preservation of the city’s architectural heritage, as we are here at No Love Locks. As Paris is now fully into the summer tourist season and there is some urgency with regard to ensuring public safety on and near these locks-afflicted bridges, we believe that some visible action by the City can soon be anticipated, although we have not as yet been advised of anything specific.

We are hopeful that this first meeting and positive acknowledgment of our efforts (and yours!) will lead to future communications and collaborations with the Mairie in support of our continued efforts to see Paris freed of “love” locks. This is the most important development to date in our 5-month-long campaign, and we could not be more pleased about being able to share it with you!

We encourage you, our supporters, to continue to spread the message that padlocks are not appropriate symbols of love, and that when attached to public structures they are nothing more than a form of vandalism and pollution. Paris was the City of Love BEFORE the locks, and it will be even more so AFTER the locks are gone. What can you do now to help? It’s simple: Keep signing and sharing the petition and leave your comments to the Mairie there, as a means of showing your continued support to show the Mairie of Paris that they must continue to move forward and make progress, step by step, toward restoring the historic bridges of Paris to their original beauty and purpose.

As travellers, we are not entitled to do as we like on someone else’s doorstep, and we are not entitled to leave something of ourselves behind or to “leave our mark” on a place, simply by virtue of our love or the money we spend to travel there. It’s time for tourists to reframe their thinking on this point, because we are destroying – through vandalism, pollution and sheer thoughtlessness – the very places we seek to experience! If you love a place enough to travel there, then love it enough to leave it the way you found it! You can also support No Love Locks by sharing the message of what it means to be a responsible, respectful visitor in someone else’s city or country: Do no harm. Take only photographs. Leave only footprints.

We will keep you informed of any important developments here in Paris, including letting you know where you can submit your suggestions to the Mairie when they are ready to launch their Open Call for Ideas. (So many of you have written to us to tell us your ideas, and soon you will be able to tell the Mairie directly!) Thank you once again for your overwhelming support of our efforts. That support, and this community that we have built together, is a big part of what allowed us to be invited to Friday’s meeting. You have made a difference!