Paris endorses selfies, declares modern self-expression classy…
Love locks on bridges are a divisive issue. You either think they’re adorable markers of a relationship, or you’re really into the conservation of public places and believe them an unsightly bane.
In Paris the love-lock debate has been raging since earlier this summer, when part of the Pont des Arts collapsed under the strain of these padlocks. At present, all along the Seine, bridges swell with these so-called love locks. Metal railings bulge with brass and silver objects dotted with crudely inked initials. Public-safety fears are growing regarding other bridges, and environmentalists are worried about the effect of all the keys thrown in the river. Citizens have been calling on city mayor Anne Hidalgo to handle the situation. After months of deliberation the solution may have been found: selfies.
From today notices are being placed on the bridge explaining the authorities would rather you kept the PDAs online by taking couple selfies – couplies – and posting them on Twitter with the hashtag, of course, #lovewithoutlocks. It’s a very modern campaign from City Hall – but might not go far enough for some.
In Le Parisien, an official explained that the request isn’t cast-iron and couples may still apply locks. However, the city government hopes the ‘social wall’ is eventually embraced and the tourist habit curbed. With reports of locks on the Eiffel Tour, it is actually a rather pressing issue. The trend has taken European cities by storm in recent years despite it being native to none. In Italy, padlocks are regularly removed and banned. Even Dublin’s Ha’Penny Bridge has fallen victim to love locks and the council have to employ lock-pickers to individually remove the items because cutters could damage the structure of the historic site. The only issue facing Paris – and the reason for their soft touch so far – is the city’s status as a romantic capital. Gotta keep those tourists happy.
As they said in Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris.”
“And that selfie we took there.”*
*No one said this in Casablanca.
Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun