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Heartbreak! Paris says au revoir to love locks

Last updated on: June 02, 2015 14:13 IST
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The symbols of everlasting love in Paris were not so permanent after all.   

A recently-married couple from Poland, Dominika and Bartek Mieczkowski, sit near an iron grill covered with "love locks" on the Pont de Arts over the River Seine in Paris, France, May 31. From June 1, the bridge is closed for a week and the padlocks which hang on the bridge are being removed by city municipal employees. Photograph: John Schults/Reuters

Paris, the capital of romance, has started the heartbreaking process of removing thousands of love locks chained to the dreamy Pont des Arts Bridge by adoring couples. 

Tying a padlock on the footbridge with their names on it before throwing the key into the River Seine beneath has become a tradition over the last five years. Nothing can break your bond then, or at least that is what the lovebirds think.

A workman places an iron grill panel covered with love locks from the bridge. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

But city authorities definitely don’t feel the love in the air, especially after a section of the bridge’s fencing collapsed last June weighed down by the locks.    

No one was hurt, thankfully. But it did spur a tweet from Bruno Julliard, Paris’ head of cultural affairs, who said it "confirms that our desire to find an alternative to these locks is a real necessity."

Workmen remove iron grills, which covered the locks on the Pont des Arts. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

Officials have discussed getting rid of the locks for months and protecting the bridge, first built in the early 1800s.

And a year later the love locks are being taken down.

City municipal employees lower iron grills covered with love locks into a truck after they were removed from the Pont des Arts. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

The bridge’s lock-laden grills will be temporarily replaced with panels painted by street artists, The New York Times reports.

The historic iron grillwork will later be protected by custom-made plexiglass that will allow pedestrians to once again enjoy the view of Seine River, which had obscured by the locks, according to the report. 

A sign that indicates that the locks are to be removed. Photograph: John Schults/Reuters

Authorities in Paris have launched a drive to get tourists to find other ways of expressing their passion. Besides the Pont des Arts, several Paris bridges are getting bombarded with padlocks, often marring classic views of the Seine River, Reuters reports.

The city hall campaign to save the bridges of Paris from the weight of hundreds of thousands of brass love locks has not checked the ardour of droves of tourists, who continue to view the City of Light as the City of Love.

A close-up picture shows love locks which are attached to an iron grill on the Pont de Arts over the River Seine in Paris. Photograph: John Schults/Reuters

Julliard told NYT that the removal of the locks, however unsentimental, was necessary for security and aesthetic reasons

Better safe than sorry, we guess.

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