Saturday, 20 September 2014
The Padlocked Bridges of Paris
Paris is for lovers and indeed for anyone else who has a romantic streak or simply loves old cities and their culture. This picture shows a bridge spanning the river Seine which is groaning under the weight of padlocks left here by lovers over the years. Paris officials are in the process of putting up plastic panels on the Pont des Arts bridge near the Louvre in an effort to stop this practice. In June a section of the footbridge collapsed and in fact serious damage is being done to all the old bridges of Paris (and no doubt in other cities, too). According to City Hall over 700,000 padlocks were attached to bridges in Paris this summer alone. The City fathers are appealing to lovers to simply take a selfie on the bridge but many tourists reject this idea.
Maybe I'm insensitive but I cannot see the charm or indeed the significance of putting a padlock on a bridge in Paris or indeed any other city. What happens if you split up? Do you just shrug your shoulders and obliterate from memory the day you and your lover were so sure of an enduring passion that you just had to lock it up - symbolically - on a bridge in Paris? Do you even remember that you did it say five years down the road? And if the break up was particularly acrimonious do you grab a hacksaw and cut through the ties that bind the lock to the bridge? I am sure the City Fathers would approve of that idea!
I love Paris, I must admit. If I ever win a few billions in the lottery I would buy an apartment in one of those lovely old buildings not too far from the river. I'd spend part of every year there, sipping coffee at a street cafe or wandering along the river bank or around the back streets and soaking up that special Parisian atmosphere.
I am indebted to Messynesschic's blog to keep my love of Paris alive and kicking. Take a look at this MessynessChic's hideaway hangout in Paris, for example, and you'll understand my fascination.
I hope tourists and lovers of all nationalities will realize that a padlock on a bridge in Paris is not going to guarantee enduring love. It might guarantee the closing of ancient bridges which are crumbling away under the load.