Friday, April 29, 2011

Locks Of Love (Paris)

No, I didn't cut my hair...yet...but I'm open to suggestion!

While walking across a bridge near Notre Dame in Paris, I couldn't help but notice that there were thousands upon thousands of locks attached to the railings. I didn't know why they were there but I snapped a bunch of pictures to remind me to look into it once I got back to Barcelona.

It turns out that it's a tradition believed to have originated in China where couples etch their initials/names onto a lock, attach it to some local landmark (such as a bridge), and then throw away the key (into the water). I didn't see any locks while at the Great Wall but apparently there are a lot of them in the Badaling area where I was and that this was one of the original locks of love locations. The couples who attach locks at the wall hope that their love will last as long as the Great Wall has. Awwww.... :-)

I saw locks on at least three bridges that crossed the Seine near Notre Dame and the Louvre. The ones in these photos are on the Pont de l'Archeveche:

The trend is mostly in Europe (here's some in Cologne, Germany)and Asia right now but there are some places in the United States such as on the Brooklyn Bridge. There's even a town in Nevada that hopes to use locks of love to promote tourism! I'm not sure that I'd head out to the northern part of nowhere Nevada to attach a lock but I love the sentiment and its representation.

(Chicken and egg question: Which came first? The charity by the same name or the name given to attaching these locks? Hmm...)



    Take a peep into:
    El fenómeno Moccia, como se conoce al éxito de ventas de sus obras, ha provocado en muchos lugares del mundo, en especial en Roma, la moda de colocar candados con el nombre de la pareja y que simbolizan el amor.2 Esto ha provocado multitud de daños en varios puentes emblemáticos de Europa: así, las autoridades parisinas han declarado esta práctica como una "violación contra la protección del patrimonio" y, en Italia, el peso de tantos candados hizo que cediesen los pilares del puente Milvio.3

  2. what an interesting concept. when i first saw your images i thought of japanese ema - the wooden plaques that shinto worshippers write prayers and wishes. but on closer inspection these are actually padlocks... and throwing away the key into the river - how ceremonial! can you imagine how many lovers engrave their undying love for each other, engrave the padlock, lock it on the bridge, hold a candlelit ritual and throw the key in the river. next week, breakup, then return to the bridge with bolt cutters. :-)

  3. Anon: I looked at adding something about the Moccia book when I wrote this. I opted against adding it so thank you for taking the time to send the link. For the non-Spanish speakers, Moccia is an Italian writer who wrote a book that includes the Locks Of Love phenomena.

    reesan: On the more crowded areas, it definitely has that ema look. I wonder if this somehow originated with those? As for bolt cutters, apparently the city of Paris goes around and removes them every so often. I guess nothing lasts forever! :-)


All comments are reviewed prior to being posted.