A Million Love-Locks to Be Put to Good Use
Paris is not just the "City of Love" but also the original city of love locks. The lovey-dovey tradition of locking small padlocks onto the sides of bridges and throwing away the key into the rivers apparently originated here. The Pont des Arts bridge over Seine in particular was the epicenter of the locking trend.
Couples would write their names on locks and affix them to the bridge near the Louvre as a symbol of their everlasting romance, and often throw the key into the Seine below. The act was particularly popular with honeymooners, but not so much with the locals.
This symbol of eternal love became so trendy that it soon began being replicated across the world. But about a year and a half ago, the city decided to remove them citing safety reasons. It had come to a point where the bridge was weighed down to the point of endangering its structure.
In 2015, Paris decided to end the longtime tradition of "love locks." Soon, the railings were removed and replaced with sheets of tough plexiglass, allowing the bridge to regain its natural charm. A stronger, safer bridge for all.
Altogether, city workers removed an estimated one million locks—totaling 65 tons, including about 20 tons from the nearby Pont de l'Archevêché. Since then, the locks have been stashed in a storage facility seemingly destined for the scrap heap.
But now officials have come up with a creative idea about what to do with the thousands of signed locks. The city is set to sell batches of the locks with the proceeds going to refugee groups. It was announced that the public could buy five or ten locks, or even clusters of them, at affordable prices.
The sales are expected to start early next year and expected to bring in up to €100,000 (approximately $108,000 US). Anything that remained unsold would be melted down and then sold off. All of the proceeds are to be given to those who work in support and in solidarity of the refugees in Paris.
Paris being Paris, they have come up with a great solution to a popular problem and a way for all the love to live on. So if you're one of those who left their own lock on the bridge and had it removed, this could be your opportunity to buy it back. Although exact details remain unclear as yet.