Monday, July 2, 2012

Love Locks

Paris is for lovers, so the saying goes. I think that's selling it short -- Paris is for anyone who loves history, beauty, architecture, vibrant cities and good foods.

But, if you happen to see Paris with someone you love, one is all the more lucky.

On the day we were headed to Musee d'Orsay (subject of a future post), our host Jerry went out early and came in with an unusual gift. It was a padlock.

He explained that there was a tradition in Paris called "love locks." Couples inscribed their names or initials on padlocks and attached them to one of the city's bridges, then tossed the key in the Seine.

While there is more than one Parisian bridge associated with "love locks" (including the Pont des Arts), he recommended Passage Soferino, a bridge connecting the Tuileries on the right bank with the Musee d'Orsay on the left.

The bridge itself is interesting. Rather than connecting to the street, it is clearly a footbridge. One climbs wooden steps to the bridge (and I have to say, going over the steps with the water under me was a bit unnerving!)

The "sides" of the bridge are made of metal wire mesh and it is here the locks are hung.

Rick put our initials on our padlock and I used some of the pretty ribbons and gold cord Jerry gave me to make it a bit more obvious, so we cold find it again!

A bit of post-Paris research revealed that the love locks are periodically removed at night by city officials, due to their weight. And, according to Parisian officials, "they raise problems for the preservation of our architectural heritage."

They locks started appearing in European cities in the early 2000s and range from bike locks to heavy metal. They can be found on several bridges.

We connected our lock to the fence and then tossed the key in the Seine, symbolizing a love to last forever.

Our "key" rests in the Seine, facing the Eiffel Tower. 
It is one of many, just as there are many loves in the world. But it is ours.

Later in our trip, on our final evening walk in Paris, we revisited the bridge -- our lock was still there.

So are we.


You can buy your lock at a hardware store, but enterprising vendors are waiting on the bridge to offer you the opportunity to purchase one there.
In addition to Soferino, I am told there are locks on the Pont de l'Archevêché, a bridge which crosses from Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Left Bank of the Seine.

REMEMBER! This and other posts from this European vacation, which date back to early May, are entered into my "800th Post" drawing. We'll also include upcoming posts on the Netherlands and London. Each comment is your "entry."


Welcome to visitors from the blog party, "Paris In July" hosted by Bookbath and Thyme for Tea. You can find links to all the Paris in July posters by clicking HERE or on the Paris in July image on the right sidebar. 


Jeanie said...

I had never heard of this and I think it is lovely.....and of course now you have to plan a return trip to Paris to check on your lock.

Retired English Teacher said...

I didn't know about this when we were in Paris. This is very cool. I agree with Jeanie, now you have to return to check on your lock.

Maggie said...

Jeanie, I blogged about this very same thing last year after spending 24 hours in Paris with friends.
Sadly the Senior Partner was not with me on that trip so we didn't get the chance to lock our love in place, but one day I'm sure we will!

Annie said...

How completely and utter romantic. The bottom of the seine must be truly magnetic!

Ellie Warren said...

I saw this in Florence too, seems to be quite a common thing on the continent. They make great photos :)

Toriz said...

How romantic and sweet!

~*~Patty S said...

Love this Jeanie!!!
Locks of Love has new meaning :)

I have seen a friend's post in Prague with a similar I am wondering if those are also removed in the dark of night...hmmm

Barb said...

How interesting, Jeanie - I've never heard of love locks! I like thinking of your lock guarding your love! Happy 4th!

Jan said...

Jeanie! What a great thing for your friend to tell you about. I just watched a movie (sorry, the brain lapse thing is not letting me remember the name of the movie)that showed this. I had never heard of it either! So cool you got to leave a bit of your hearts in Paris!

Introverted Art said...

WOW, You took some amazing photos. I can't believe my hubby and I missed the lock experience!

Joanne Huffman said...

II heard about thee locks of love from a friend who went to Prague last April and then, again, from a friend who went to Russia. It's a cool idea.

Brenda said...

very interesting. I am definitely taking my lock when I go!

Thanks for sharing this quirky little tidbit about Paris.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a joy it would be to explore Paris with someone you love -- and to leave your love lock as a lasting reminder of the experience! Your post is so inspiring! My only trip to Paris was a business trip in 1969. I must go back sometime soon with the man I love so we can retrace your steps -- and leave our little lock with all the others.

Barb said...

Jeanie, Can't find your E-mail so am going to post the link here - I just read another blog about the love locks. Thought you might like it:

Arti said...

Another landmark I should visit next time. What a wonderful thing to do, locking up love and throw the key into the river. Love that! I'd like to try that footbridge under the Seine. Thanks again, Jeanie, for another interesting post.

Marilyn said...

I hadn't heard this, but so sweet. I will have to remember this if I go again. If my daughter and her boyfriend go, I will give them a lock for the bridge.

Paulita said...

I think this is a charming tradition, but I do worry that it's kind of like graffiti. And what about all those keys in the Seine? It's nice to think of so many people in love though. I'm participating in Paris in July too and can't wait to read more about your travels. Here's My Post on You Can't See Paris From Here

Bella Rum said...

I believe I've heard of the "Love Lock" tradition. How sweet.

The Artful Diva said...

I missed the love locks - good excuse to go back to Paris!

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Although I have been to Paris many, many times my husband made his first trip with me in late March this year. Having seen the locks for years, advance planning included a bright red lock for us. We appeared at sunset to secure our lock on Pont des Arts, threw the key (red) into the Seine and noted the spot. I will be back later this year to see if it is still there.

You will also find locks on Pont de l'Archevêché and I am certain there are others. Love this post!


Anonymous said...

what I learn from my kids. Reading your descriptions are almost as good as being there. And I wouldn't have had Jerry to tell me about the custom. Happy 4th to both of you. Just a few weeks till we get to hug! Love you both.

joyce said...

What a neat idea! I wonder where I could start that here.

Jennifer Richardson said...

i love that:)
thanks for sharing the sweetness,

Tracy said...

This is sooo, sooo sweet... I love the new Love Locks custom. And how fitting your lock & key are in Paris. :o) Here's to LOVE! ((HUGS))

shoreacres said...

I've not heard of this, but it's a wonderful custom. I wonder - could a single be allowed to put a lock there too, as a symbol of love for Paris herself? I have a feeling I've a better chance of getting to Paris than finding someone to share it with!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

That is awesome! I saw the locks on a couple of bridges and think it's such a sweet and symbolic thing to do. I hope to visit Paris someday with a boyfriend or husband and do that same exact thing!

Anglers Rest said...

I have never heard of this, but how wonderful. If we get to Paris we will definitely put a padlock on the bridge!

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