Europe

Paris 'love locks' removed from bridges

  • 1 June 2015
  • From the section Europe
Media captionClose to one million locks weighing 45 tonnes are due to be cut off over the next few days, as Lucy Williamson reports.

Paris city officials have started to remove padlocks symbolically fastened to one of the French capital's main bridges by loved-up couples.

Tying a "love lock" on to the Pont des Arts before throwing the key into the River Seine beneath has become a tourist tradition in recent years.

But part of the bridge's railings collapsed under the weight last year.

Close to one million locks - weighing 45 tonnes - are due to be cut off over the next few days.

Workmen began removing grilles from the side of the Pont des Arts early on Monday morning.

The Pont de l'Archeveche, near the Notre Dame cathedral, is also having locks removed from its side.

Pont des Arts padlocks

1m

Padlocks weighing...

45

tonnes

  • 1st Iron bridge built in France

  • 1804 Opens as a toll footbridge

  • 1979 Closes after partial collapse

  • 1984 New steel bridge opens

AFP
Image copyright Reuters

Metal grilles on the side of the Pont des Arts, which dates from 1804, will be replaced by panels painted by street artists over the summer, before transparent panels are put in place later this year.

"It's the end of the padlocks," said Bruno Julliard, Paris deputy mayor.

"They spoil the aesthetics of the bridge, are structurally bad for it and can cause accidents."

Image copyright AP
Image caption See-through panels will replace the grilles on the Pont des Arts
Image copyright AP
Image caption Part of the Pont des Arts collapsed last year

Cathy Hominage, an American tourist, told the Reuters news agency: "We came with the idea of putting a lock but we found out it's closed and illegal now.

"We are just going to put it here at the very end of the bridge so no one can see."

A campaign by the city last year to get people to take selfies instead of attaching locks was not successful.

Venice has also struggled to deter tourists from attaching locks to the Rialto bridge, and in New York, amateur locksmiths launched a campaign to remove locks from the Brooklyn Bridge.

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