Paris started out as an island. And whenever there's an island, sooner or later there's a bridge.
Paris has 37 in all, if you count just those spanning the River Seine. There are others crossing the city’s canals. And a few for roads that crisscross over each other. Two of the river bridges were built for pedestrians only. One, the last bridge built over the Seine, was inaugurated in 2006 and dedicated to French writer Simone de Beauvoir.
The other is the Pont des Arts.
|Institut de France|
For almost two centuries, the lace-like Pont des Arts offered a haven of peace, open only to pedestrians and bicycles. A place to stand and watch the river flow by to the sea.
Of course there have been the normal mishaps - normal for a bridge, at least. There were two aerial bombardments in World Wars I and II. And many, many collisions with boats, most notably in 1979 when a barge took out a whomping 60 meters of it (about 200 ft).
|Le Pont Neuf|
Then someone made a movie.
I've never heard of anyone being injured by one of the keys falling on them from above, but cargo barges as well as many, many tour boats - the famous bateaux-mouches - cruise back and forth beneath it every day.
No, the real problem is that padlocks are heavy. And when the bridge's entire railing is chock-a-block full of them from one bank of the Seine to the other, and on both sides... well, that wasn't in the original specifications of this lightweight pedestrian bridge. Nor those of its renovators either.
The City of Paris asked people not to do this any more. They said the metal bridge could only bear so much weight. Now they're asking lovers to tie ribbons instead, as a pledge of their undying love. But when did lovers ever listen to anybody?
So the bridge is closed once again while city workers saw off all the eternal locks. Lovers, please go elsewhere!
It'll be interesting to know how much all those love locks end up weighing.
And whether, as a result, there’ll be a rash of divorces around the globe.
The other photo shows the replaced section installed on Monday, already well on its way to being equally padlocked a short five days later.
The rapid appearance of the Love Locks isn't surprising, given there were six young men selling padlocks on the bridge itself on this sunny day.