Valentine or vice?
Lovers padlocked to Paris forever? Two souls that seal their future ensemble dans la perspective d’un beau monument ou d’une belle vue? Whatever the impulse, more and more couples are attaching tokens of their bonds to our loveliest bridges – before casting keys to their padlocks into the Seine.
Their legacy? The city’s cadenas d’amour, better known among les internautes as “love locks”.
Starting around 2007, the invasion has moved on to engulf different sites. It now includes le pont des Arts, le pont de l’Archevêché (with its view of Nôtre Dame), la passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor – even la passerelle Solférino. Although there is little doubt that Flickr and online forums have helped the fad spread, there is disagreement about where it started.
Ever since the 1980s, cadenas have been piling up in the Hungarian town of Pécs. Here, in a university town and UNESCO World Heritage Site, locks hang on a fence between the town’s square and its cathedral. Proponents of Pécs as the birthplace of the whole idea claim their city’s idea has been taken up by two dozen countries.
In Italy, the ritual is sometimes attributed to a novel called Ho voglia di te (‘I Want You’), by the author Francesco Mocca. Also made into a film, this features a similar incident on Rome’s Pont Milvio. However, cadenas are also being distributed by visitors on bridges in Florence, Bolzano, Bologna and Turin. Florentine authorities are the only ones who levy a fine – 160 euros – for those caught attaching cadenas.
Love-locks could also have come from China. There, on the tourist bridges of the Huangshan mountain range, sweethearts have long locked their lives together on impressive bridges where the keys have a long way to fall.
For Valentine’s Day 2010, the Mairie of Paris created a video on the clunky charms (see below). It adheres to the came-from-Italy thesis. Within months, however, the same office was calling the rusting locks a blight on the city’s landmarks. As yet, they have not chosen to remove any – and, for Valentine’s 2011, their worst fears came true. the huge Paris department store BHV, which has an extensive and famous hardware basement, choose to “aid romance” by offering to sell and engrave locks for lovers.
Although BHV said the locks should be put on trees, everyone knew what their lavish windows were saying. It looks like cadenas d’amour are here to stay.
"J'ai envie de toi…" à Paris!
envoyé par mairiedeparis. – Regardez plus de vidéo vie pratique.