Love locks: leave ’em or love ’em?

Love locks, Paris

Love locks, Paris

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.

love locks Hunan China Johanna Read

Love locks, Hunan, China

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).

Complementing or competing with the views of China?

Complementing or competing with the views of China?

But in Paris a couple months ago, I was back to my unimpressed opinion.Love lock selfies Johanna Read

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.

Notre Dame Pont des Arts  Johanna Read

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?!

Paris love lock Johanna Read

2 responses to “Love locks: leave ’em or love ’em?

  1. Ha – same thing is in Prague – and it is has even made a start in Ottawa. I am not sure what I make of it.


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