As Valentine's Day approaches, locksmiths in Paris may see an increase in business as lovers of all ages seek out the perfect Love Lock. What better day than February 14 for lovers to attach their locks, a symbol of their eternal love, to the bridges of Paris? The preferred bridges are the Pont des Arts, which crosses the Seine near the Louvre, and the Pont de l'Archevêché behind Notre Dame. An endearing romantic custom or an eyesore, as I see it, love locks now cover bridges all over the world.
We first saw them a few years ago in Florence on the Ponte Vecchio, a romantic bridge that needs no embellishment. There, the railing around the bust of Benvenuto Cellini - who, as luck or love would have it, died on February 14, 1571 in Florence - practically sagged under the weight of the locks. Florence has since banned the practice, but love, accustomed to obstacles, continues to win out and the locks seem as numerous as ever.
The history of love locks is somewhat obscure. Everything from a Pagan custom to an Italian novel have been put forth as the origin of the practice. Whatever the truth, cities all over the world are debating about leaving or removing the locks. Paris, the City of Love, but also the city of order and beauty, is in a particularly difficult position.
sculpture garden on the Quai St. Bernard with its unparalleled view of Notre Dame.
When hopeful lovers placed their love locks among thousands of others on a Paris bridge, they would know that at some point, the city would remove them, recycle some and put a randomly-chosen few into the statue. I think it would meet with general acceptance because even the most ardent lover knows that you need to be lucky to survive in love.
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