Love is supposed to be eternal, but the citizens of Paris do not take any chances. It was these precautions that caused the Pont des Arts footbridge over the Seine in central Paris to be closed for several hours as city officials struggled to rebuild one of its guard rails.
The bridge’s metal grill that was laden with padlocks collapsed. However, in a twisted fate of irony, the padlocks laden grill did not collapse into the river, but instead plopped onto the walkway. The padlocks are left by amorous couples hoping to seal their love.
The practice of attaching padlocks to guard-rails on bridges in Paris and other European cities is fairly new. Barely five years ago, people in and around Europe started to firmly believe that they could solidify their love for each other by literally padlocking it. People seeking to symbolize their enduring love often inscribe their names on the padlocks. If that’s not a surety, lovers also throw away the keys into the river, implying there’s no getting out of the love-lock.
Fortunately no one was injured by the “love lock” collapse incident, confirmed a city official. He further added that the bridge has been reopened and the two grills across a 2.4 meter stretch of the bridge that had collapsed, have been replaced temporarily by wooden panels, reported News First.
Apparently love-sick people haven’t spared even these wooden panels. As soon after they were put up, couples could be seen scribbling on them, reported Epoch Times. The railings of several Paris bridges, including the central Pont des Arts, which has a commanding view of the Ile de la Cite from the west, have all but disappeared behind piles of padlocks. Moreover, with no keys to unlock these padlocks, the layers just keep piling on.
Paris authorities have been inundated with calls to strictly cease this practice not only on aesthetic, but on safety grounds as well. The rails were never designed to take the weight of the padlocks and the relatively weak bolts could soon give away. Such accidents could cause someone to fall.
But as with any policy, Paris authorities are quite reluctant to take a strong stand since they fear restricting tourists from attaching padlocks might severely hurt the city’s tourist industry. Needless to say Paris is known as the city of love, but locks causing collapse does stretch the notion to its limits.
[Image Credit | Jacques Demarthon, Kristy Sparow/ Getty Images]