My Paris Stories

Pont des Arts

You're not a lover, you're a vandal. The City of Paris announced that they would no longer accept the vandalism and remove the padlocks. Apparently they're not beautiful enough. Quite ugly in their eyes. They don’t fit in with the urban landscape of Paris.

Fact is that you find some hundreds of padlocks not only on Pont des Arts but also on another pedestrian bridge called Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Seghor. Tourists had started to afix these signs of love onto the bridge, after having  meticulously engraved their names on them and throwing the key into the Seine. Exactly as they do in Venice, Moscow or Tokyo. Now a lot of Parisians do it as well: have a picnic on Pont-des-Arts, open a bottle of Champagne and throw the key into the river, so that nobody never, ever will tear your guys apart.

It’s actually something that started thirty years ago. Some say in Florence, Italy, others claim it originally began in Pécs, southern Hungary, in the 1980s. Who cares? It’s just funny to see how somebone, somewhere, had an idea and now it's gone around the world. Like a coin you throw into a fountain. Why do mayors never complain about this? Probably because in times of economic crisis communities are happy to fish the money back out of public water features.

But don’t worry about your relationship. It’s France. They talk a lot. They don't always act. And as Humphrey Bogart put it so beautifully looking in the eyes of Ingrid Bergman at the end of “Casablanca”: “We’ll always have Paris”.