- Published on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 23:00
LOVE LOCKS' LABORS LOST
“Love locks” have come to Paris. In case you’re unaware of this phenomenon, it has become a fad for lovers to solemnize their passion by inscribing their names on a padlock, snapping it onto the railing of a bridge and throwing the key in the water. To the dismay of the city authorities, who consider it a form of vandalism, this has become a thing to do on the Pont des Arts and the Passerelle Léopold-Senghor, footbridges across the Seine. The city cleared the Pont des Arts of padlocks in May, but I walked across it recently and saw dozens of new ones. The thing I don’t quite get, though, is their distribution. Seems to me if you’re going to go to the trouble of buying the lock and getting your names engraved on it and doing the little key-chucking ceremony, you’d want to be towards the middle of the bridge. But many of the locks are at the two ends, some quite near the steps that lead down to the sidewalk. Think about it: a lock in the center of the bridge says, “Darling, as we clasp this padlock to this bridge, linking the two banks of the City of Light, so shall our two hearts forever be linked, clasped in undying love. Kiss me...” whereas a lock at the mouth of the bridge says, “There! I love you, dammit! Now lose the dress.” David Jaggard
Reader Helene (Elaine) Breakstone writes: Au contraire, to my love and me, the locks are formidable. We placed ours during our annual Valentine's Day trip to rain-swept Paris this year. As we closed the lock, a rainbow suddenly appeared above us. And as he threw the key into the Seine, a barge passed by – bearing my name: Hélène. A double miracle!
Reader Celeste Manley writes: "My husband and I were in Paris in April, noticed the locks and wondered whether this was a kind of performance art, new fad, just what? We asked the very hip concierge at our hotel who always seems to be tuned in to the latest trends and he knew nothing. Question answered. Merci."