Locked Lips or Love Locks in Paris?

Locked Lips or Love Locks in Paris?

When I first told a friend that I was writing a post on the Love Locks of Paris, she teasingly asked if they related to chastity locks: those early medieval belts by which a Crusaders was supposed to reassure himself that his girl would remain true. Not quite!

Wander along the lovely Seine in Paris; stop at any number of bridges to enjoy a crepe, and the view. Many place you’ll notice the webbed metal railings alongside the stonemasonry and clasped to them are hundreds, often thousands, of padlocks. Sometimes they’re thinly scattered, with ribbons aflutter, sometimes they’re as thick as hoarding like bees on a honeycomb.

Although locks with lovers names have a history throughout European bridges dating back perhaps a hundred years, in Paris, they only began to show up in 2000. Most often they have “his” and “her” names on either side of the lock and then are hooked, permanently they hope, to the side of a bridge in the City of Light and Love. As long as the lock, lasts, so goes the hope, so shall the love.

According to an article in The New York Times, “The Paris town hall expressed concern: what about the architectural integrity of the Parisian landscape? One night about two years ago, someone cut through the wires and removed all the locks on one of the bridges. But in just a few months, locks of all sizes and colors reappeared, more conspicuous than ever.”

@istock photo, used with permission

@istock photos

Alas, keeping love alive requires more than simply firmly clasping a lock to keep your lover true, whether it be a chastity lock or hooking a Shlage or Kwikset through the rails of a Parisian bridge. As French philosopher Marcel Proust, “We only love what we do not wholly possess.” Isn’t that the very opposite of a lockdown? Much better to lock lips, and perhaps put a ring on it, instead.

{ Locks photo credit: Photo by Nils Schirmer on Unsplash }

{Bridge photo credit: Istock Photo, used with purchase permission }

2 Comments On This Topic
  1. amyc
    on Feb 13th at 4:55 am

    I think love lasts because of forgiveness, communication, and laughter.

  2. sandrabyrd
    on Mar 11th at 1:53 pm

    Amy – you get the movie! Be sure to email me with your mailing address and I’ll get it shipped right out!