A mother was visiting Paris with her two young children and she asked us for some suggestions as to what they could do. We gave her what we thought was a good mix of culture, fun and sports but when we had finished she asked “where is the bridge where you attach a lock?” Reluctantly we pointed her in the direction of the Pont des Arts. We say “reluctantly,” as love locks are endangering Paris bridges, and we really didn’t want to contribute to a catastrophe in the making.
Now, Paris is one of the world’s leading tourist attractions, and tourism is an important source of revenue. We’re all in favor of trying to modify the DNA in the service sector to make it more customer-centric. And we welcome all the apps and passes and brochures designed to enhance the visitor’s experience. But enabling tourists (we cannot imagine a Paris resident participating in this activity) to create dangerous eyesores is, we think, a bridge too far….
A recent “reader rant” in The Local http://www.thelocal.fr/20140310/paris-love-locks-have-to-go enumerated some of the many reasons why love locks need to go: the tons, yes tons, of rusting padlocks risk causing pieces of the bridge to collapse onto passing barges below; the pollution of the river Seine by the thousands of keys thrown in as part of this silly ritual; the graffiti and vandalism that have ensued.
Strolling across the Pont des Arts, and other central Paris bridges, should be a lovely, tranquil experience. Instead it is marred by the vendors hawking their wares, creating a cheap commercial atmosphere. And worst of all, this junk hanging on the bridges defiles the very beautiful and romantic views that the tourist presumably has come to Paris to enjoy.
Apparently the problem has outgrown the ability of the city of Paris to keep the love locks to manageable proportions. In the interests of all concerned – visitors seeking to admire the beauties of Paris, and the residents who have to live with these eyesores and pay for repairs – the love locks that are endangering Paris bridges should be permanently removed and banned.
Do you agree that the love locks should be removed and banned?