LOVE LOCKS in Paris – Happy Valentine’s Day from the City of Amour

Pont des Artes, Paris 2011 by Textured John

Today marks the first year anniversary of The Buttery Fig! It is a day to celebrate love, so I thought it apropos to share my introduction to the love padlocks that adorn many of the bridges of Paris.

Upon strolling across the Pont d’Arcole in Paris last summer, I was struck by a mosaic of padlocks decorating the length of the railings on both sides. Small locks, large, painted, etched, along with bits of coloured cloth, ribbon and yarn encircled the full length of glossy black iron grating. At this time I had never seen such a thing and was at a loss at what it all meant. The only thing similar to this I had ever seen was the endless patchwork of photos and sentiments at Ground Zero in New York. Could each of these locks represent the memory of someone beloved that had died? I didn’t know and ended up leaving Paris before I could get to the bottom of my quandary.

Photo by Phillippe Gerard

Now, months later, I have at last discovered the answer to my mystery; they are love locks. Have you seen these? Lovers place a lock on the railing and throw the key into the river sealing their love for eternity, never to be undone. Well, except by the city officials who, apparently, are far more practical and law abiding than romantic…even in the capitol of amour.

Several times the locks have “mysteriously” disappeared overnight. Somewhere on the outskirts of Paris I suspect there is a giant, and very colourful mountain of snipped padlocks. But romance, refusing to go quietly into the night, showed its resilience and the little shackles of love popped up again almost as fast as they were erased, adorning another bridge and another. As far as I can figure, the collection I saw was the third version after having been cleared off less than a month before.

My only regret is I was without padlock or camera on this particular outing and thus parted having left no evidence of my visit. Luckily others have memorialised this charming display so I am sharing some of photos I have found with you (all photos are public domain or creative commons, photographers credited and links attached where possible). Please enjoy a little collection of shots below:

Black and white paris bridge by Kimberly Watt (Flickr) This photo was taken on October 28, 2010 using a Canon EOS 30D.

View of Notre Dame

Le Pont des Arts, Paris, France by Textured John

Agnes & René

Planking for Love 😉

I wish you a Valentine’s Day filled with the love of those dear to you and thank you for sharing in my blog’s first year ♥♡

Thank you for a whole year! Photo by thezartorialist.com, taken on March 20, 2010 using a Nikon D40.

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