Debate over Pont des Arts

The Pont des Arts has a beautiful view from any side you look at.
The Pont des Arts has a beautiful view from any side you look at.

Once known as just a typical bridge offering wonderful views in Paris, the Pont des Arts now holds a debate on whether or not it should host locks that plague the bridge. Couples “lock their love” with padlocks onto the fences and gates of this walkway, eternalizing their love for one another and throwing their key into the river below. But the locals who have to look at this bridge for days on end are unsatisfied with the bridges new found appearance; and “some gripe that the locks are no better than graffiti, defacing the city’s landmarks”. The value of this bridge seems less important compared to the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, where the tourist population is monitored and kept under control.

Here, locks are being sold near the bridge in order for tourists to place them on the gates.
Here, locks are being sold near the bridge in order for tourists to place them on the gates.

The Parisian government seems to be held in a large predicament. While the locks create an eyesoar, they also stimulate commerce in the local area. Locks are sold near the bridge and tourists travel to Paris from around the world to see the bridge and lock their love. The locks are difficult to remove, especially when tourists have begun to place locks on statues and monuments all over the city, stated in the Wall Street Journal. An official from the 6th arrondissement, Joel Retailleau, believes “it’s touchy to attack the phenomenon- because it draws tourists” while a spokesman for the mayor states “We don’t encourage it, but we don’t outlaw it, either”.

The amount of capacity the locks take up is weighing the bridge down more day by day.
The amount of capacity the locks take up is weighing the bridge down more day by day.

Unfortunately, Parisians are finding it tough to see the reason for the new found popularity of the bridge. One local, Esther Pawloff, a 48- year old executive assistant in the city, brings up an interesting point- “The lock is a negative symbol of enclosure and imprisonment, the exact opposite of what love should be”. Not only is it an eye-soar, but the more locks that are added to the bridge, the closer it becomes to collapsing. Workers are responsible for removing these locks every few months, but the locks popularity overrules the ability to keep the bridge at a stable and safe weight

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As the gates are clipped, they are replaced by unsafe wooden panels.
As the gates are clipped, they are replaced by unsafe wooden panels.

The tourists need to be informed about the dangers of their visit on the Pont des Arts. With this knowledge, maybe they would be more open to the newest idea of virtual locks online- the much cheaper method, and less dangerous. Parisians are fed up and want the perpetrators punished; but with other rising issues in the city this shouldn’t be of main focus.

So what will the end result be? Will the government come to a joint decision on a solution to this insubstantial problem? And will tourists begin to stop relying on a bridge in order to save their love from doom? Only time will tell the result in the city of love.

 

 

Works Cited:

Passariello, Christina. “Couples Adorn Bridges With Weighty Tokens of the Heart.” Wall Street Journal (2013): n. pag. Wsj.com. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.

Rodriguez, Cecilia. “Love In Paris Threatens Tourists…Literally.” Forbes 21 Oct. 2013: n. pag. Forbes.com. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

Pictures from: (order of appearance)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/Pont_des_Arts,_Paris.jpg

http://raafatrola.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Pont-des-Arts-Love-Lock-Bridge-Paris-7.jpg

http://spottedbynormanncopenhagen.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Pont-des-Arts-4.jpg

http://mappingparis.digitalfrench.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/p41.jpg

http://mappingparis.digitalfrench.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/p5.jpg

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