PARIS may have found a solution to their love lock problem — glass panels.
This week, the city replaced 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, and to post it onto Twitter and Instagram.
“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 — a recent 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.
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”, said the practice was an act of vandalism, while tourists believe it to be a harmless pledge of their love.