Cakes + Pie

Whilst walking from Notre Dame to the Musee de Cluny we had to cross over the Pont de l’Archevêché to the Left Bank of the Seine.  As I was crossing the bridge I noticed that, oddly, the sides of the bridge were covered in padlocks.

Wiki tells me that they are love padlocks.  The display of padlocks is a custom whereby sweethearts fix them to gates, fences, bridges and other structures to symbolise their everlasting love.  Love Locks can be seen in many locations around the world even though in some cases they are a matter of controversy.  One of the controversies is that the padlocks damage architectural integrity and heritage and this is the case in Paris.

The New York Times reports:

Once discreet, doing their deed at night, visitors soon acted in broad daylight, in pairs, photographing each other in front of their locks, and videotaping the throwing of the keys into the Seine. The Paris town hall expressed concern: what about the architectural integrity of the Parisian landscape? One night about two years ago, someone cut through the wires and removed all the locks on one of the bridges. But in just a few months, locks of all sizes and colors reappeared, more conspicuous than ever.

Not everyone agrees that the locked padlocks are a symbol of undying love because true love means that you wish the other person to be free of bonds:

Living in one of the world’s most visited cities, with 27 million visitors a year, and supposedly the world’s capital of romance, Parisians should have guessed from the beginning that this strange ritual had to do with the fantasy of everlasting love. Yet, instead of sharing the naïve joy of the world’s Romeos and Juliets, some Parisians have felt increasingly irritated. Walking on those bridges has become almost insufferable for them. The pain doesn’t come only from the fact that some bridges, like Pont de l’Archevêché and Pont des Arts, now feel as if they could collapse under the weight of tourists’ undying love but also from the idea that a lock could represent love. Such an idea is abhorrent to many French people.

“The fools! They haven’t understood a thing about love, have they?” was the conclusion recently of a 23-year-old waiter at Panis, a cafe on the Left Bank with a view over Notre-Dame. At the heart of love à la française lies the idea of freedom. To love truly is to want the other free, and this includes the freedom to walk away. Love is not about possession or property. Love is no prison where two people are each other’s slaves. Love is not a commodity, either. Love is not capitalist, it is revolutionary. If anything, true love shows you the way to selflessness.

I have to admit I am in agreement with the Parisian view of love, the only ‘true love’ is unconditional love, it gives the loved ones wings.

Love Padlocks

PS: The comments section in the newspaper article makes interesting reading.

20 Comments CherryPie on Nov 26th 2012

20 Responses to “Padlocks of Love”

  1. Bernard says:

    I saw something similar to this on Portillo’s Continental Railway Journeys program last week. A bridge in Hungary I think?
    But……years ago, people used to tie rags and ribbons on trees and things.
    I guess this is just a modern version or fad. Don’t like it myself, but…….live and let live.

  2. Suzie says:

    These padlocks are now appearing on Sydney Harbour Bridge. It must be a worldwide phenomenon.

  3. jamsodonnell says:

    It looks strange but what do I know!

  4. Ayush says:

    Nice composition and loved the accompanying post. Its the same on the bridge over the Rhine when you walk away from the Cologne cathedral.

  5. Suzie. says:

    One of my oldest friends is an Anglican minister. She is one of the most self-effacing people on the face of the earth and she is an intellectual powerhouse. Probably, no, almost certainly, one of the best human beings I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I love her dearly, and she has always been there for me, and any other waif and stray who needed her. As far as I’m concerned she could be the next Archbishop of Canterbury and the C of E. would be all the more blessed by her leadership.

    And no, she probably wouldn’t endorse me writing this, and, most likely, neither will you on your blog, which just exudes peace and good will. But hey, you are not responsible for the loud mouths who drop by and cause a ruckus. Peace.

    • CherryPie says:

      My wedding was officiated by a lady minister in the local Methodist Church. It is a long story as to why it was there and not the Church of England. She was wonderful and Mr C often mentions that she was perfect for that roll whereas one of her male counterparts that officiated over a service one for his family members was less than adequate.

      Some people have what it takes to perform well in these rolls and some don’t. The local CoE minister was so sweet and supportive of my Mum when my father passed away. I think of him as an Angel :-)

      You know your thoughts are always welcome here. And I think you also know that I won’t allow comments about other people.

      I think you have also seen that I don’t mind a bit of controversy and difference of opinions from time to time ;-)

  6. Suzie says:

    Thanks Cherie. I know and respect your approach to this blog it’s contents. if I slip a comment through occasionally, at least I can be sure that it will not be manipulated. If I may say, you played a blinder there. I think you know what I mean. I’ve never seen speechless before!

  7. Steve Hayes says:

    I’ve never seen anything like that before — I wonder how long before it reaches here.