When Richard and I visited Paris some years ago, I wrote about the Pont des Arts bridge and the growing practice of lovers fastening locks with their names to the fencing along the bridge to physically represent their commitment to each other. I thought it was a cool and romantic practice, and one of my friends who went to Paris thereafter specifically visited the bridge with her spouse so they could add their lock to the collection.
Now it looks like Paris city officials will bring an end to the practice. Basically, the locks are overwhelming the bridge, and preservationists are squawking about both the weight of the accumulated locks and the appearance they create. (And, parenthetically, there are a lot more locks there than when Richard and I crossed the bridge in 2011. In fact, there are so many locks affixed to the fencing it’s hard to imagine there is any room to add new locks.)
The Paris powers-that-be are looking at replacing the fencing with some kind of thick glass partition that won’t provide any kind of lock attachment opportunity. I think that decision is a mistake. It’s hard to believe that a glass partition is going to be more attractive than the appearance of the lock-crusted fencing, and it certainly isn’t going to add to the historic authenticity of the bridge. And if Paris is for lovers — and the lock onslaught certainly suggests that it is — what better way to demonstrate that than to allow lovers to leave a little token of their ardor in the City of Lights, and to leave it there for them to visit in the years to come?