Paris, June 1: To the dismay of tourists flying in to attach a love lock at the Pont des Arts in Paris, the tradition will soon breath its last.
To let the bridge and the national heritage survive, government authorities have decided to cut the 7,00,000 locks that add to the weight of the bridge to a dangerous limit.
The tradition origins from an adult movie in 2006 in Rome, but spread across France. A tradition that symbolised locking love for eternity soon became a burden on the state administration when parts of Paris's historic Pont des Arts bridge wore off due to the weight of the lock.
It has been estimated that the weight of the locks have a combined weight of 20 elephants.
According to the Paris City Council,"The phenomenon spread to other bridges, creating two major concerns for the city. Degradation of property heritage and a risk to the safety of visitors, Parisians and tourists."
While this was just one situation, the tradition also gave rise to Graffiti, pick-pocketing and vendors selling cheap locks, which prompted locals to avoid the once-picturesque promenade built in the 1800s under Nepoleon.
Innumerable attempts of discouraging the practice-starting from placing wooden panels above the locks to notice boards-have proved futile. Now, signs in French and English can be seen instructing the pedestrians to use the nearby bridge as Pont des Arts would be closed for a week so that the locks could be dismantled and a protective glass is installed.
A campaign- No Love Locks- founded by Lisa Anselmo, is also helping the government to disperse knowledge about the importance of the site to the public and how the locks are creating a bane for the tourism in Paris.
However, ironically, tourism is still banking on the romantic tradition to draw visitors from across the world. While some support the move, there are others flooding their FB walls lamenting that they missed the opportunity.