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On a Paris bridge, the end of a love too heavy to bear

Monday, June 01, 2015 - 01:24

Workmen remove padlocks from the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, afraid the sheer weight of the romantic tokens was putting the 19th century structure at risk. Roselle Chen reports.

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A pedestrian bridge that has become a shrine for lovers who seek to immortalize their ador by leaving an initialled padlock attached to its metallic grid railings is getting an unceremonious extraction. Paris workers pulled off hundreds of thousands of padlocks attached by tourists and Parisians to the Pont des Arts bridge, afraid the sheer weight of the romantic tokens was putting the 19th century structure at risk. A part of the bridge weighed down with padlocks collapsed onto the walkway last summer. The city government said the padlocks spoil the aesthetics of the bridge and underlined the potential risk for additional railing collapses into the Seine river below. But tourists did not feel the same way while workers were removing entire metallic panels, heavy with padlocks, from the bridge. SOUNDBITE: Catherine Hominage, tourist from Washington, D.C., saying (English): "Yes it's very sad. We came hoping to be able to put it in the middle but now we find out it's going to be illegal so we are going to put it right there." SOUNDBITE: Wang Xu, tourist from Australia, saying (English): "I heard that it's just going to be thrown out. I think they should at least put it in a museum, actually put it somewhere so people can see it." The existing railings will initially be replaced with panels covered in street art and later this year by plexiglass. This will prevent new locks from being put on the bridge. In the meantime, tourists can visit the 10 other bridges in Paris that have kept the "love lock" tradition.

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On a Paris bridge, the end of a love too heavy to bear

Monday, June 01, 2015 - 01:24