Paris steps up fight against 'love-locks'

It is unclear where the ritual originated, but the padlocks bearing lovers' initials, have spread to non-European countries as well.

Paris: Love may know no bounds, but Paris intends to instill some: authorities are going to take a tougher line with swooning couples attaching "love-locks" to
city bridges as a sign of their undying devotion.

In June last year authorities removed hundreds of thousands of such padlocks from the city bridges, notably the Pont des Arts which had a section collapse under the weight of the locks. The wire mesh panels on which the love-locks were attached were replaced by perspex.

However this has not dissuaded tourists, who merely turned their attention to the city' oldest bridge, the more than 400-year-old Pont Neuf. Paris deputy mayor Bruno Juillard said "signboards" would be installed on the bridge and others in French and English, with messages such as "No locks, Paris thanks you" and "Find another way to show your love."

"We want Paris to remain the capital of romance and love, that lovers from across the world come to Paris. It is a very romantic city and particularly the River Seine, but we must also protect this heritage," said Juillard. Loved-up visitors from around the world have for years written their names or initials on padlocks to symbolise their passion, then tossed the key into the River Seine so that nothing could ever break the bond.

It is unclear where the ritual originated, but the padlocks bearing lovers' initials have spread from European capitals to as far as Marrakesh in Morocco, and China.

( Source : AFP )
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