The city has started to replace sections of mesh fencing on the city’s iconic footbridge, Pont des Arts, with two shatter-resistant and anti-glare glass panes, reported No Love Locks, a group that has been campaigning for an end to the practice of affixing “love locks” onto the bridge.
The glass panes are treated with a special coating that prevents graffiti-tagging. A third panel will also be installed.
If the pilot proves successful, love birds will no longer be able to pledge their undying love for each other via lock and key, as all 110 sections of the bridge’s metal fencing would be replaced. This summer, in an attempt to discourage this distinctly tourist behaviour, the mayor’s office launched a campaign asking couples to take selfies of themselves on the bridge instead.“Our bridges can no longer withstand your gestures of love. Set them free by declaring your love with #lovewithoutlocks,” read the city’s message. The practice of couples sealing their love by attaching padlocks carrying their names to the fence railing and throwing the keys in the Seine – a phenomenon that spread around the world in the last decade – came to a head in Paris this year when a section of metal fencing about 2.4m long collapsed under the weight of hundreds of padlocks, forcing authorities to close off the historic bridge for repairs.
On the Pont des Arts, 15 grills have had to be removed for safety reasons. Each of these panels were carrying nearly 500kg, more than four times the maximum weight, said city hall. It’s been estimated that the bridge groans under the collective weight of about 45 tonnes of padlocks.
Critics, like the pair of American expats who launched the online petition No Love Locks, say the practice is an act of vandalism, while tourists believe it to be a harmless pledge of their love. – AFP Relaxnews