Heavy metal graffiti invades Paris

From most romantic city to Paris bridge is falling down

It all started out with good intentions.

The “love locks” are padlocks that couples affix to bridges and public fixtures in a declaration of their love. In Paris, the Passerelle des Arts is a hot spot for lovebirds. However, the vast number of padlocks is causing damage to the grates.

Since the early 2000s this ritual has quickly spread to cities all around the world, including London, New York, Seoul and Paris. The “love lock” tradition began in Pécs (Hungary) and is generally agreed to have started in the 19th century. — Mairie de Paris

But now both the City of Paris and residents view this trend not only as unsightly, but also as posing a serious safety threat due to the collective weight of the padlocks.

Pécs, Hungary

Where it all started

It’s not widely known (yet), but Pécs is also a city of romance. For decades couples in love have been coming to the city to literally ‘lock-in’ their feelings for each other. Small locks are placed on the fences along Janus Pannonius Street each symbolizing a couples lasting love for each other. Nobody really knows how it all started, but the lock-lined fences sure make a very unique sight. visitbudapest.travel

No Love Locks™ petition

“Ban ‘love locks’ in Paris now! Save our historic sites!”

In January this year, two American “accidental activists” founded No Love Locks. In addition to launching a website to raise awareness, No Love Locks™ started a petition “asking the Mayor of Paris, the Mayors of the 20 arrondissements, and the City Council of Paris to enact and enforce a ban on locks being attached to bridges or any public monument, fence or structure.”

At this writing, 4,300 supporters have signed the petition.

Père Lachaise in the mix

I learned on No Love Locks’ website that other bridges throughout Paris are also falling victim to this practice, namely the Pont de l’Archevêché and the Pont Neuf. Even the Eiffel Tower!

Jim love locked

Absent from the list however is Père Lachaise where this practice is also taking hold.

Jim Morrison Grave Pere Lachaise Cemetery Paris Love Locks April 2014
2014 © Paris Mojo


Glass panels to replace balusters

Feature photo “A bridge full of locks” (Marios Amontaristos/CC BY 3.0)

One thought on “Heavy metal graffiti invades Paris

  1. It’s really a shame that monuments must suffer the consequences of traditions that sometimes more or less can be justified (and in the case of the locks, my opinion is that it’s the absolute less justified of all).
    Another example, which is far of compassion in many aspects but which has caused also serious consequences is the case of The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

    After climbing the cathedral stairs and entering its doors, the first sight that greets pilgrims is the spectacular Portico de la Gloria, an entryway of carved stone that is considered one of the masterpieces of medieval art.

    Pilgrims are instructed to place their hand on the pillar where St. James stands, finding the deep grooves formed by the hands of the millions of travelers who have come here before them. As they touch the pillar, they are to say the prayer of petition that has brought them on pilgrimage. Then they walk to the other side of the column where a small statue stands, a figure that is believed to be the self-portrait of the stonemason Mateo. To receive some of the master’s wisdom, they must knock their forehead three times gently on his head.

    This last part (the stonemason Mateo was already with a fence in 2008 to protect him from the damage caused by the constant touching.

    I think there’s a fine line that divides what can feel right or what we believe it’s right to do and what it’s best to do in order to keep our monuments, our historical and religious places for future generations to come.


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