Paris Set To Remove Hundreds Of Thousands Of Padlocks From The Pont Des Arts Bridge

Publish Date
Saturday, 30 May 2015, 1:53PM

Couples celebrating a trip to Paris to celebrate their love will no longer be able to leave a padlock on a bridge over The Seine, after the council announced plans to remove all of the mementos.

Locals have long-criticised the tradition of tourists locking padlocks to the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris.

From Monday city council workmen, armed with bolt cutters, will unceremoniously cut open these symbols of love.

Couples from around the world sign the locks before clipping them around the metal railing on the bridge and throw the key into the Seine.

The Pont des Arts bridge leads to the Eiffel Tower and is a tourism hotspot.

But last summer, one of the metal grilles fell into the river after the metal failed under the additional weight of the locks.

Health and Safety officials said there was no longer any room for romance in Paris claiming the romantic gestures cause 'long-term heritage degradation and a risk for visitors' security'.

Instead of metal grilles, the panels will be replaced by 'padlock-proof' plexiglass in an effort to thwart loving couples.

The council's initiative was in response to a 'No Love Locks' campaign on Facebook by Parisians and ex-pats tired of the practice which they claimed was an 'eyesore'.

Paris Deputy Mayor Bruno Julliard told Le Parisien: ‘Paris is the capital of love, we are all very proud of that, but there are more beautiful ways of showing that love than by putting padlocks on a bridge.’

He said the locks are a costly hazard because they are damaging the city’s bridges and jeopardising visitors’ safety due to the added weight.

In June last, part of Pont des Arts’ railing collapsed under the weight of the locks, forcing police to close the iconic structure while repairs were made.

It is estimated there are over 700,000 padlocks attached to the bridge, with each grill weighing 500kg.

The metal bridge was originally completed in 1804 but it had to be rebuilt in the 1980s due to damage caused by aerial bombings during the First and Second World Wars.