June 10, 2014

Love Locks

Have you ever heard of Love Locks? In many cities around the world, most notably Paris, young (and old) lovers place a padlock around part of a bridge, a fence or a similar structure. They then lock it to seal their love, and throw the key into the river, most notably, the Seine.image I’ve always opposed this for several reasons, mainly because it is vandalism and it’s selfish. Additionally, the locks are not very attractive, as they often rust and are garish colours with engravings on them. Additionally, all of the keys thrown into the river probably have a negative effect on the water, not to mention the riverbed. image

Most of the structures to which these locks are attached are historic. Many, such as the railings on the bridges, are there for the safety of citizens. Recently, on the Pont des Arts in Paris, a section of the bridge collapsed due to the weight of the locks. Luckily one of the sight-seeing bateaux wasn’t passing under it.

Think about the weight and heft of a padlock, and then think about the weight of thousands and thousands of them. Frequently, municipalities remove the locks, usually in the dead of night, and there is often great objection to this. image

When there’s no more room on the bridge, people have placed large bike locks so more locks can be added. When people don’t have a handy lock, they’re scratching their names into the paint on the bridges or adding graffiti.  imageWhen one bridge is filled, the lovers move onto other bridges, and even light posts imageand decorative ironwork. image

Some cities, such as Moscow, are trying alternative spaces for the locks and created this tree where people can place their locks. It seems a bit more sensible to me.

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Several people in Paris have started a website called No Love Locks, and they’ve got a petition you can sign to voice your objection to the locks.

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Paris is the city of light and of love, and to me, locks do not generally symbolize love. What do you think about this idea?

19 comments:

  1. I think the love locks are a beautiful thing. It's comforting to know there's that much love in the world. As long as they're on public bridges, and not people's private fences or anything. And I would hold with not throwing the keys in the water.... just putting the locks up is cool enough. They should install some of those outdoor cigarette butt containers for people to throw the keys in.

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  2. My son and his girlfriend went to Paris, left a love lock, and three weeks later they split up! I think it is a very romantic idea, but the love lock tree is a great solution - no throwing keys in the river though!

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  3. I agree with you Meg. I think that beautiful (foot only) bridge has been completely vandalised by the locks. I walked across it lock free, when it was quite beautiful. This symbolism of love is deeply flawed; people invest in the symbolism more than the relationship and the love and respect that makes it work.

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    1. My thought is the louder you proclaim your love, the more you're trying to convince someone... or maybe I am just a cynic.

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  4. ball and chain taken literally personally I dont like the symbol of a lock. This new custom just got carried away. They should channel that energy and money into something else than a lock that only got cut anyway...

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  5. Hi Meg, How odd that all the visible wording is in English. I'm not sure that I like what that suggests about those human barnacles who perpetuate this unpleasant custom.

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    1. From much of what I've read, it's not a Parisian or French thing to do, it's a tourist thing. At least the three coins in the fountain in Rome can be used for good.

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  6. The notion that defacing public infrastructure is acceptable fails to address the fact that it impeeds the maintenence of the bridge. Granted bridges in the USA were designed for say 30 years of use and bridges twice that age are falling apart due to heavier cars and trucks and neglect and no funds to replace the crumbling bridges. How can a resonable person consider adding to the defacing of a bridge a symbol of their love.. their actions are not creating a thing of beauty or contributing to the safety of the bridge. It is selfish as it risks the life of the public as the perpretrator celebrates a personal public display of infatuation.

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    1. Agreed, and if you saw the comment from Vintage Maison, it's really infatuation, not love!

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  7. I always felt it was so strange but never thought about the issues you bring up here! I've noticed quite a few of these in the past few years in Georgetown on our canal footbridges and was just thinking yesterday how they're like graffiti!

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  8. A lock doesn't symbolize love to me, but rather, bondage. While the visual of attaching multiple locks to things might be considered an art form, I'd rather see an art installation designed to incorporate the locks rather than the destruction of beautiful historical monuments. The tree looked like a good idea........problem solved! Angela Muller

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    1. Agreed! Locks are not a symbol of love in general.

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  9. Well, no snarky comments today, Meg, because I agree with you! The tree is a good idea. The locks seem to me to be a reflection of our "me first" culture. Why not take a picture and put a lock on it at home if you are compelled by this notion? Why deface a public piece of function and/or form? Go back and take a picture there on occasion and develop a photo record of the longevity and endurance of your love.
    When I first read your post headline, I thought of Locks of Love, a much better idea. My 11 year old ginger haired granddaughter just cut her waistlength hair to above shoulder length and donated her rare red locks to Locks of Love. Hurrah, Eden!

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    1. Annie... I kept typing Locks of Love, and think that it's the most marvelous idea. One of my nieces did it and she had the most beautiful glossy brown hair. Good for Eden, too!

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  10. i agree with all the comments + i never thought about the weight + the keys in the water + UGH great post. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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