‘Locks of love’ cause heartbreak in Paris as bridge cracks under weight

AFP-JIJI

Sometimes too much love can be a bad thing, as Paris discovered on Sunday when thousands of so-called locks of love attached to a footbridge caused part of the railing to collapse, forcing an evacuation.

Thousands of lovers from across the world visit the Pont des Arts every year and seal their love by attaching a padlock carrying their names to its railing and throwing the key in the Seine River beneath.

But police were forced to usher visitors off the footbridge in central Paris early Sunday evening after 2.4 meters of railing collapsed under the groaning weight of the collected tokens of affection.

“The bridge was immediately evacuated and closed,” local police said.

An architect and local officials rushed to the site, barricading the bridge. Police said it would re-open by Monday.

The Pont des Arts crosses the Seine just in front of the Louvre museum and is known the world over for its locks of love.

The phenomenon has become something of a headache for officials in the City of Light, who would prefer something that poses fewer security and esthetic problems for the capital.

Two young Americans living in Paris have gathered thousands of signatures for a petition they launched in March calling for the locks to be removed, saying they are eyesores and cause damage to the bridges.

The locks appeared on the Pont des Arts in 2008, having already become a craze in Germany, Russia, China and particularly Italy.

Today, the full 150-meter length of the footbridge is covered in the padlocks, and the practice has spread to other bridges around the capital.

Forty locks were also recently removed from the Eiffel Tower.