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France, Love Locks

From Paris With Love

Love Locks in the city of love – Paris

Paris, the city of love!  Romance.  The inspiration of writers, poets and artists.  It is a lovers paradise!  As Audrey Hepburn once said “Paris is always a good idea”!

Pedestrian bridge of love locks in Paris

I loved the moment in Sex in the City, when Carrie cries: “I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.”  Of course, she is talking about her one true love – Mr Big.  What is it about Paris that brings people from around the world, searching for that one place to declare their love?  The ultimate city of love is the destination for romantic proposals and grand gestures and it comes as no surprise that so many also flock to Paris and the River Seine to lock their love with love locks.  Les cadenas d’amour!  In French, it even sounds more romantic!

Padlock mania along the River Seine Paris

Padlock mania hit Paris years ago as it has in so many romantic sites around the world.  Controversy rages over these locks.  There is the philosophy that people do not know love if they feel they must be bound by a lock, not free to truly love with the freedom to leave.  They say that it is that freedom to leave that makes love real.  French philosopher Alain Badiou reminds us that love implies constant risk.  Love is not safe.  It is not everlasting.  It is vulnerable.  To truly love is to be free, and this freedom includes the risk that the other will walk away, and yet, I see these locks as a symbol of hope, a declaration that this is a love with dreams of forever.  How, one could ask, is this any different than the wedding ring and marriage?

declarations of love over the River Seine Paris

You regularly hear of the ugly factor when you hear of the locks.  Is this the thoughts of a jilted lover, a person who has never experienced true love, or the cynic?  The placement of locks has been controversial for years, Rome’s city council recently said no to the locks that had gathered on the Ponte Milvio (Love Locks Rome: do we really have to say goodbye?)  The weight of the locks, the structural risks to ancient bridges and the feeling that the rusting locks were an eyesore – all reasons waged in the war against the locks.

love lock messages over the River Seine in Paris

Love locks have also become a tourist destination, attracting lovers and hopefuls from around the world.  Personally, I love reading the locks as I stroll along the bridge.  A little voyeuristic perhaps, but with so much love and hope wrapped up in each and every inscription, it warms my heart.  I am not alone – stroll across any love lock bridge around the world and people are doing the same as me, reading the inscriptions and taking photos.  People come back to celebrate anniversaries, BFFs and travel partners share the space with the lovers and dreamers.

tourists looking at love locks in Paris

As the love lock phenomenon grows, I see locks placed in more random places.  I will continue to seek out love locks as I travel the world.  There is such a feeling of warmth that comes over me as I wander along the walls of love.  While I am completely in favour of the love locks – I don’t feel they are ugly or an eye sore, I do feel conflicted when I see locks on old statues.  I don’t think they belong here.  While walking along the Seine one evening, I noticed that people had taken it upon themselves to add their locks to the statues on the bridges.  My understanding is that the city do remove these locks, but why risk damaging these works of art.  They are such a part of Paris – they are a treasure themselves.

Should you find yourself in the city of romance and wish to lock your love, there are so many options to you.  Buy your locks on line before you arrive in Paris – there is a wide variety of beautiful locks available and you are able to have them personalized with your names, dates or a message that is special to you.  You can also buy locks on the bridge – bring a sharpie to personalize yourself.  Just remember, part of the legend of the locks is that you must lock them and throw the key in the river below!

what to do with your love lock

There is one other rumour behind the love locks in Paris.  There are two bridges in Paris with the locks and you must be very careful which bridge you put your lock on.  Pont des Arts is for your committed love, while Pont de l’Archevêché is for your lover.”

Fantasy or not, I am a romantic at heart!  What can I say – flowers make me swoon, moonlight walks on the beach are dreamy and the notion of love locks makes my heart flutter!

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About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


40 thoughts on “From Paris With Love

  1. Beautiful!

    Posted by The Rider | July 26, 2013, 10:49 am
  2. I’m not sure that I would do a love lock, but I see why plenty of people find them romantic. I honestly have no idea if my wife would come down on the side of not liking these because of the damage they might do to the bridges or on the side of it being romantic. So I’ll just find a different way to express my love next time we’re in Paris!

    Posted by Trips By Lance | July 26, 2013, 12:00 pm
    • I hear what you are saying about concerns of damaging the bridge, I have the same concerns about the locks on the statues. I don’t think that the locks in Paris looked to be too much of a risk to the bridge. Still a fan – I look forward to finding more all around the world! Vive l’amour!

      Posted by Anita Mac | July 28, 2013, 10:56 pm
  3. I have been to Paris three times and have never noticed the Love Locks. Thanks for the blog … It’s on my to do list.

    Posted by Donna | July 26, 2013, 12:10 pm
  4. You are right, love locks are becoming a ‘common communication currency’ in many cities, especially in E. Europe: Warsaw & Budapest to name but two.

    Posted by Frank Burns | July 26, 2013, 6:39 pm
  5. That’s funny about the two different bridges.

    Posted by Margaret | July 27, 2013, 10:01 am
  6. Anita, we happened upon the bridge earlier this summer by chance, then enjoyed strolling on it while perusing the locks. The ones with images and a few words about those who left it there were particularly fun.

    Posted by Tricia A. Mitchell | July 27, 2013, 2:59 pm
  7. Very interesting piece of trivia at the end of the post… I’ve seen love locks in Paris and a few other places and I like taking pictures of them. They’re not something I seek out when I travel, but it’s fun to see them when I do. 🙂

    Posted by Pola (JettingAround) (@jettingaround) | July 28, 2013, 5:10 pm
  8. The lock idea is pretty cool, I tihink. Beautiful photos, by the way, made the whole idea even more evocative! Now, what if the locks were made from chocolate…? 🙂

    Posted by Raul (@ilivetotravel) | July 28, 2013, 6:35 pm
  9. I love love, love locks, and that Sex and the City quote. Excellent post, Anita. Can’t wait to get back to Paris and lock up my love. 😉

    Posted by The World Wanderer (@TheWrldWanderer) | July 28, 2013, 7:52 pm
  10. Fascinating story Anita! Your photos tell the tale visually, as your words fill in the details. Great post!

    Posted by Steve | July 28, 2013, 9:05 pm
  11. I must admit I do love love locks (although throwing the key in the river can’t be right!) Can see them becoming a problem though as they are getting so popular we’ll run out of bridges soon!

    Posted by Kathryn | July 29, 2013, 5:32 am
  12. It’s fun to learn about interesting facets of a place that offers something special or unique like these locks and story.

    Posted by noelmorata | July 29, 2013, 3:50 pm
  13. i’m on the fence about these. i think if there was ever a place for it, it’s paris, but when we were in prague, our guide told us that it’s really ruining a lot of the historical furnishings around the city! i do love the bit about Pont des Arts vs Pont de l’Archevêché, though hahaha

    Posted by the lazy travelers | July 30, 2013, 2:18 pm
    • The french bridges was an interesting find as I was digging into the locks….thought that was fun. With you on the concerns for the historical furnishings around town. Was upset to see people putting their locks on beautiful statues – didn’t feel right to me.

      Posted by Anita Mac | August 7, 2013, 11:51 pm
  14. Again beautiful story…. this post is totally for lovers

    Posted by Ian Mcindoe | July 31, 2013, 3:31 am
  15. i have a lock there…at least it should be there anyway. maybe i should return soon to check!

    Posted by Lauren DiMarco | August 2, 2013, 9:44 am
  16. I was in Paris last summer visiting my sister and on our way to Notre Dame, we stopped by the Ponts des Arts. As I am usually very unsentimental, I decided to make an exception while in the quintessential city of love. I bought a lock from a nearby vendor and scribbled my husband’s name and mine onto the lock and found a bare area of bridge to seal our love and tossed the keys into the river. The hope is I can get my husband to Paris, and show him the lock I placed there for us….before it gets cut off!

    Posted by sassmyclass | August 9, 2013, 5:56 am
  17. We put our lock on there. Two days after we got engaged in Paris. 🙂

    Posted by Wondernuts | August 9, 2013, 5:29 pm
  18. We put our lock on the bridge. We got engaged 2 days before that in Paris. Here’s hoping its still there.

    Posted by Wondernuts | August 11, 2013, 2:20 am
  19. That is one beautiful vision and expression of love that fuels and inspires us all. I do wish for all who sealed their love with a lock and key for a love that is forever.

    Posted by Island Traveler | August 15, 2013, 5:06 am
  20. Love the love locks…have to revisit Paris to see these!

    Posted by Charu Suri (@Butterflydiary) | September 3, 2013, 11:09 am


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