A romance-laden tradition in Paris is coming to an end today, breaking hearts worldwide.
Since 2008, soulmates have flocked to the City of Light to literally lock down their love for each other on the Pont des Arts footbridge. There, lovebirds would attach a padlock (“love lock”) — a symbol of their devotion — to the railing and throw away the key in the River Seine below.
But that display of love has a limit. Due to safety concerns, city officials are in the process of removing roughly 1 million locks, that’s 45 metric tons, about 100,000 pounds.
— Paris (@Paris) June 1, 2015
Last June, a section of the bridge collapsed under the weight of the love locks. At the time, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo discreetly suggested that additional locks could prove a dangerous problem, and appointed deputy mayor Bruno Julliard to find a solution.
Artistes, découvrez la nouvelle vue rendue possible sur le Pont des Arts. pic.twitter.com/0GtD0roKTs
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) June 1, 2015
Translation: “Artists, discover the new view made possible on the Pont des Arts.
Opinions on the love lock removal are mixed. Many are mourning the end of the tradition and have found alternative places — like the Eiffel Tower — to lock in their love. Others consider it an act of necessary cleanup.
— Nicolas Alpach (@NicolasAlpach) May 29, 2015
— Kelly Holden (@kellym_holden) June 1, 2015
— Marie Giffard (@mariegiffard) June 1, 2015
Love locks aren’t specific to Paris alone, and neither is their removal. Last year in Moscow, locks were removed from bridges overlooking the Vodootvodny Canal. In New York, thousands of locks have been snipped away from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Though Paris is the latest city to bid the tradition “adieu,” love will likely find another way to survive.