Au Revoir to Love Locks in PARIS
Hearts broke as officials removed millions of “love locks,” those iconic declarations of undying affection, from Paris’ Pont des Artes bridge this week.
But the locks aren’t as iconic as they seem — they didn’t begin showing up on the Paris bridge until the late 2000s after the trend was imported from Rome. In fact, their entire origin story is a lie.
Not just any lie, a lie between lovers. The love lock that started it all was hung on Rome’s Ponte Milvio by two fictional characters in the 2006 book (and later movie) “I Want You,” according to a 2007 New York Times article.
In the story, by Italian writer Federico Moccia, the hero makes up an ancient legend about lovers who wrap a lock and chain around one of the bridge’s lamp posts and throw the key into the Tiber.
The Paris city council announced last week that the 45 tons of locks hanging off the bridge were responsible for “long-term heritage degradation and a risk for visitors’ security” and that the grilles holding them would be removed. They’ll be replaced with decidedly unromantic plexiglass.
Bad news for millions of lovers, perhaps, but good news for the Pont des Artes bridge. Which, at age 201, has nearly two centuries on the love locks anyway.