City officials in Paris have started to remove the padlocks symbolically fastened to one of the city’s main bridges by lovers from around the world.
Adding a “love lock” to the extensive collection on the Pont des Arts has been a tourist tradition in recent years, sometimes even throwing the keys into the Seine River below. Unfortunately, the locks are getting heavy, and part of the bridge’s railings actually collapsed under the weight just last year.
Officials plan to cut off close to one million locks – weighing 45 tons – over the next few days. Workers began their work on the side of the Pont des Arts early Monday morning.
“Paris had to do something to save their heritage sites. The entire UNESCO World Heritage district is endangered by love locks,” says Lisa Anselmo, co-founder of No Love Locks, an advocacy group that has been urging the city to ban the practice outright.
There have also been efforts to remove locks from Paris bridge Pont de l’Archeveche near the Notre Dame cathedral, as well as the Rialto Bridge in Venice and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.
“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.”
The city launched a campaign last year to encourage selfies instead of attaching locks to Paris’ bridges, but the effort was unsuccessful.