Monday, September 12, 2011

Les cadenas d'amour

A curious custom developed in Europe sometime in the 1980s: young couples would symbolize their love by inscribing their names or initials on a padlock and attaching the lock to some public structure. The custom eventually evolved to attaching locks to bridge rails and tossing the key into the river below, sealing the relationship forever, as it were.

Can a love lock be picked? Our existential question of the day. Click to lockitup.

The custom of attaching "love locks" first appeared in Paris on the Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge in the city center frequented by young artists and lovers (not to mention tourists). The city estimated that in 2010 there were upwards of two thousand locks attached to the bridge. Officials warned that they would be removed, citing them as damage to a historic structure. Although the city denies actually removing them, most of them disappeared in May, 2010.

That hasn't stopped the practice, though. The bridge in the photo above is the Pont de l'Archevêché on the upstream end of the Ile de la Cité. As you can see, the railing (which faces the cathedral of Notre Dame) is practically obliterated by love locks.

As usual, the information I relate here comes from Wikipedia. While my photos are true and accurate representations of what I see, I claim no accuracy whatsoever in my reporting. Have a nice day.


  1. Being padlocked together for eternity strikes me as the (symbolic) antidote to romance.


  2. I wonder what happens when some of the lovers inevitably fall out with each other? Saw off the lock and chuck it in the river, too ?!

    Which just goes to show, you should always keep a spare key to anything, or at least keep a hefty felt-tip pen handy !!

  3. The locksmiths will be happy though!!

  4. I'm happy to know that Bertie enjoyed some curl-up time with you :)

    Amy Plum did a reading from DIE FOR ME in front of these locks a few months ago (for those of you who haven't already seen it, it's on her website, I believe), filmed by her cousin... that's the first that I had ever heard of it :)

  5. Our cat and granddog are gradually becoming friends. It takes a lot of time.
    Cats are so aware of what's happening- I'm glad Bertie has figured out how to get his cuddletime.

  6. There has been much fuss about these locks but I say, just let them be. Your photo shows that the number of love-locks has increased since my visit in April. I just sent some information to two sets of friends who will be visiting Paris in the next few months, suggesting they bring a lock with them.


  7. I saw a bridge in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania with the newlywed locks. It's at least a little less obsessive than the Lithuanian Hill of Crosses

  8. What no one seems to understand is that the bridge was not designed to take all that extra weight.

  9. We spent a while here in June with our granddaughter, admiring all the different kinds of locks. Tony noted that many of them were quite expensive.

  10. I think you sneaked in and put all those locks there just for a photo opp.

  11. Bonjour,

    I adore reading your blog. It is such a nice little escape during the day. I was wondering, we are looking for a cozy rental during Christmas time, do you have any that you recommend? You're written about a few in the past. One that has a nice kitchen and preferably a fireplace.

    Warm regards,

  12. This is awesome. I have ancestors who died in the 1870s. When the first died a small ironwrought fence was built around the plot. A fence with a gate. When the second died a second stone was added then the gate was locked and the key was either thrown inside the enclosure or simply thrown away. :)

  13. I thought people exchanged rings and got married to express their' never-ending love' for each other. Padlocks - what's the point ? They do manage to make the bridge look ugly though.


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