"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."  --William Shakespeare

Entries in bridges (1)


Locking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Occasionally we'll notice a Paris phenomenon, like rubbing a statue for good luck, or for fertility, that has blossomed into a full-blown urban legend.

Just a few blocks from us, behind Notre Dame at Pont de L'Archevêché (The Archbishop's Bridge, one of the thirty-seven Paris bridges that span the Seine), another urban legend blooms, to the annoyance of city officials. Lovers who wish to lock in their commitment to undying love (that happens a lot in Paris) snap their initialed and ribbon-festooned bike or travel lock shut onto the bridge's wire mesh fence, and throw the key into the Seine.

, love forever, or at least until city employees arrive with lock snips, as they did last year at the footbridge near the Louvre called Pont des Arts, a few bridges west of Notre Dame. The Paris lock phenomenon started there early in this millenium, and Pont des Arts' reputation as a locus for lovers was apparently enhanced (for some Americans, anyway) in the final episode of the TV series Sex and the City, in February 2004. (Your Paris Play editors somehow missed all episodes of Sex and the City.)

(Incidentally, the love lock phenomenon is not confined to Paris; according to Wikipedia it is worldwide, with reports from cities like Rome, Florence, Cologne, Seoul, Vancouver, Montevideo, Moscow, and from the countries of Serbia--love lock Ground Zero--and Taiwan.)

What annoys city officials is that the lock fetish can get out of hand; witness the angle above, which shows only about half the length (say 34 meters) of the Archbishop's west side. A Paris city hall spokesperson told the British newspaper, The Independent, that the locks "raise problems for the preservation of our architectural heritage."

While it looks to us Aphrodite worshippers like a harmless and even charming tradition, Parisians take their architectural heritage seriously.

So what if the lovers were left alone, and simply ran out of lock room?

Funny you should ask. Here's the east side of Pont de L'Archevêché, where, as in a Hollywood horror movie, the sequel is taking shape, ever so slowly, lock by lock, by lock, by lock, by....