Yesterday (June 1) in Paris city authorities began removing the 45,000 “love locks” that tourists have secured on the Pont des Arts bridge (Travel Week’s article).
What do you think of love locks?
The first time few times I saw them, I wasn’t impressed. They looked like another form of litter to me, and took away from the wilderness beauty or the classic architecture I was trying to focus on.
However, on a trip to Hunan province in China, I found them rather appealing.
Atop a mountain in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, the locks shone in the bright sun. I couldn’t believe how many there were, but they didn’t seem to be doing any damage (the fences seemed to have been built for just this purpose). And the locks were constrained to only one small part of the vast area available for tourists to explore. While the views were spectacular (this area was the inspiration for the planet of Pandora, where Avatar takes place), the locks seemed to add to the atmosphere. (Curious about this place? Read my article “Hunan, China” An inspiration behind Avatar“ for Dreamscapes Magazine).
But in Paris a couple months ago, I was back to my unimpressed opinion.
The locks were often gaudily coloured, and had the lovers’ names written in black Sharpie. The Pont des Arts’ railings did seem to be bending a little under the weight of the locks. And there were more people taking selfies of themselves than of Notre Dame’s buttresses looming over the Seine.
I’m curious why I thought one location was charming and the other cheesy.
Is it because I first saw Paris before anyone had thought to attach a padlock to a bridge? Is it because the locks in China were all made on-site and had a consistent style, colour and patina? Do I think that the practice is quaint on a mountain in rural China, while I’m oh-too-sophisticated for anything to be impressive in Paris?
What do you think of the locks? Have you ever secured one near a famous monument? Where? And does your love still hold?
And hey … who are you, Benedict?!