A group of concerned and angered Parisians took it upon themselves to use the symbolic holiday of Valentine’s Day to petition the removal of the famous love locks from all the bridges in Paris for the third year in a row, according to Mashable.
The practice of locking padlocks to Parisian bridges in the name of love gained popularity in 2008, when couples from all over the world came to attach padlocks signed with their names or initials on the bridges of Paris as a sign of their everlasting love and devotion to each other, according to International Business Times. The common practice is to throw the key to the lock after attaching it, signifying an endless love.
The exasperated Parisians against the locks call themselves the “No Love Locks” organization and started a social media campaign using the hashtag #NoLoveLocksDay to raise awareness and help the cause gain momentum over Valentine’s Day weekend. The activists asked supporters to post messages throughout the holiday weekend, using the hashtag to promote awareness.
The most famous love lock bridge in Paris was the Pont des Arts bridge. The locks on the bridge were removed in June 2015. The locks were causing structural damage to the bridge prompting the removal of the locks. The removal of the locks caused an international conversation, with some people being anti-removal and some people, like the #NoLoveLocksDay campaign, in full support.
Paris is known as one of the most romantic cities in the world. It is then ironic to me for such a cold act to be carried out on the most romantic day of the year, in the most romantic city in the world. While I support the Parisians’ desire to preserve their city’s beauty and history, it does hurt the little sentimentalist in me somewhere.
I am all for the preservation of historical sites and protecting our cities, but must it clash with the day that is specially reserved to celebrate love? It is a tragedy in itself. It’s almost like love is being taken down piece by piece on the day it should be observed. I see how this campaign might work, especially well near Valentine’s Day, but isn’t it as likely to backfire?
A possible common ground for both the supporters of this campaign as well as the devotees of romance could be the relocation of these locks to a more stable place, perhaps a hall of love or a love museum. Not only would that ensure the safety of these bridges, but it would also prevent any disrespect to the practice that, though not originally from Paris, has come to be one of the reasons tourists flock to the bridges with awe in their eyes and cameras in their hands.
At the end of the day, love is love, be it for another person or your own city, and I am sure the lovers who feel dishonored and distressed right now will come around. Until then, spread the love (not the locks).