Locking Up Love or Not
By now you might even be sick of hearing about the Love Locks, since the story has gone viral worldwide. Every major newspaper is carrying the story, along with all the major TV and radio networks. It was reported as the third most emailed topic as of yesterday and Lisa Anselmo’s phone is ringing off the hook with requests for interviews.
You may remember Lisa as the ‘star’ of one of our House Hunter’s International episodes — “Finding Happiness in Paris.” That’s where we met for the first time and became fast friends. It was during the filming of the episode that Lisa became intrigued by the locks building up on the Pont des Arts and wrote for the first time about it in her blog, My Part Time Paris Life: “Dear Tourists, Please Unlock Your Love” was the blog post that started it all.
That one ‘fatal’ post received over 3000 views and launched the beginning of the campaign to end the vandalism that had taken the bridges of Paris by storm. Lisa had no idea what she had started, just by taking a stand in her blog. The cause virtually took involuntary possession of her and her friend, Lisa Taylor Huff. Soon after they created a Web site called “No Love Locks” and began a campaign to alert city officials of the problem, who were reluctant to disturb the tourist attraction. Thanks to these two Americans who were willing to take on the cause, the city finally took notice and have finally done something to save their precious monuments.
The French press isn’t always so kind to the fact that it was Americans who were ahead of their own brethren to bring the blight of the Love Locks to the public’s and the city’s eyes, but “c’est la vie.” The American press didn’t pick up on it till this recent development that the locks are actually coming down and the grills will be replaced with custom-made plexiglass.
Lots of things start in Paris, but this wasn’t actually one of them. The idea of the Love Lock was first introduced in 2006 in a young adult novel written by Federico Moccia titled “Ho Voglia di Te” about a young couple who attach a lock to Rome’s Milvian Bridge as a sign of eternal love. It made the author happy to have such recognition as this one little idea started the whole craze, but even then, the Italians weren’t thrilled, either, that the padlocks were damaging their bridges.
Illegal vendors of locks are having a field day making a fast buck selling their locks to tourists who want to make their lover’s mark on the city. One time not long ago while crossing the Pont des Arts, I witnessed a Russian couple adding their lock. In a knee-jerk reaction I yelled at them, “Don’t you dare do that! You’re destroying our bridge!” Then, I realized what I had done and called Lisa to say, “You would have been proud of me!”
If you read Monday’s Parler Paris Nouvellettre®, then you know that the locks are already present in Troyes and I dare say the ‘disease’ is as worldwide as the press coverage.
Yesterday one of our readers wrote to ask if there was a way to retrieve a particular lock that was engraved with a wedding ring attached to the lock that had been locked onto the Pont des Arts, now cut off by the city officials. The gentleman (MC) describes his forlorn tale in a Facebook post about the lock symbolizing his love for his wife who recently passed away. Meanwhile, the bridges and monuments are being defaced and vandalized, all in the name of love.
That’s the point. That’s the Lisas point. There are better ways of expressing one’s love than by destroying our historic properties. Le Monde roughly calculated that there are 700,000 locks in Paris alone weighing 300 kilos per square meter. What will happen to the locks themselves is to be determined. Rome has talked of putting them in a museum, so perhaps M.C. will actually be able to recuperate his lock, if not his lost love.
Follow No Love Locks.
You can also sign the petition to ban the locks.
And, join the Facebook Page.
And for crying out loud, please find a better way of expressing your love than by locking it up on a city treasure.
A la prochaine,
The Adrian Leeds Group
(with Lisa Anselmo)
P.S. Making last minute plans for a visit to Paris? Did you know you can rent a Parler Paris Apartments apartment for only 3 nights? If you’re booking less than 30 days in advance, we will wave the high season 4 night minimum stay! There is still availability at some of our most popular apartments. Book your Parisian apartment today!