Love Locks in the city of love – Paris
Paris, the city of love! Romance. The inspiration of writers, poets and artists. It is a lovers paradise! As Audrey Hepburn once said “Paris is always a good idea”!
I loved the moment in Sex in the City, when Carrie cries: “I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.” Of course, she is talking about her one true love – Mr Big. What is it about Paris that brings people from around the world, searching for that one place to declare their love? The ultimate city of love is the destination for romantic proposals and grand gestures and it comes as no surprise that so many also flock to Paris and the River Seine to lock their love with love locks. Les cadenas d’amour! In French, it even sounds more romantic!
Padlock mania hit Paris years ago as it has in so many romantic sites around the world. Controversy rages over these locks. There is the philosophy that people do not know love if they feel they must be bound by a lock, not free to truly love with the freedom to leave. They say that it is that freedom to leave that makes love real. French philosopher Alain Badiou reminds us that love implies constant risk. Love is not safe. It is not everlasting. It is vulnerable. To truly love is to be free, and this freedom includes the risk that the other will walk away, and yet, I see these locks as a symbol of hope, a declaration that this is a love with dreams of forever. How, one could ask, is this any different than the wedding ring and marriage?
You regularly hear of the ugly factor when you hear of the locks. Is this the thoughts of a jilted lover, a person who has never experienced true love, or the cynic? The placement of locks has been controversial for years, Rome’s city council recently said no to the locks that had gathered on the Ponte Milvio (Love Locks Rome: do we really have to say goodbye?) The weight of the locks, the structural risks to ancient bridges and the feeling that the rusting locks were an eyesore – all reasons waged in the war against the locks.
Love locks have also become a tourist destination, attracting lovers and hopefuls from around the world. Personally, I love reading the locks as I stroll along the bridge. A little voyeuristic perhaps, but with so much love and hope wrapped up in each and every inscription, it warms my heart. I am not alone – stroll across any love lock bridge around the world and people are doing the same as me, reading the inscriptions and taking photos. People come back to celebrate anniversaries, BFFs and travel partners share the space with the lovers and dreamers.
As the love lock phenomenon grows, I see locks placed in more random places. I will continue to seek out love locks as I travel the world. There is such a feeling of warmth that comes over me as I wander along the walls of love. While I am completely in favour of the love locks – I don’t feel they are ugly or an eye sore, I do feel conflicted when I see locks on old statues. I don’t think they belong here. While walking along the Seine one evening, I noticed that people had taken it upon themselves to add their locks to the statues on the bridges. My understanding is that the city do remove these locks, but why risk damaging these works of art. They are such a part of Paris – they are a treasure themselves.
Should you find yourself in the city of romance and wish to lock your love, there are so many options to you. Buy your locks on line before you arrive in Paris – there is a wide variety of beautiful locks available and you are able to have them personalized with your names, dates or a message that is special to you. You can also buy locks on the bridge – bring a sharpie to personalize yourself. Just remember, part of the legend of the locks is that you must lock them and throw the key in the river below!
There is one other rumour behind the love locks in Paris. There are two bridges in Paris with the locks and you must be very careful which bridge you put your lock on. Pont des Arts is for your committed love, while Pont de l’Archevêché is for your lover.”
Fantasy or not, I am a romantic at heart! What can I say – flowers make me swoon, moonlight walks on the beach are dreamy and the notion of love locks makes my heart flutter!
- Keeping our love locked down in Paris
- Love Locks Prague
- Introducing Dubrovnik’s Love Locks
- Padlocks on the Alexandre III Bridge in Paris
- International Bridge of Love – where the story began