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Say I love you with a selfie, begs Paris

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 01:43

Fixing a padlock to Paris' Pont des Arts Bridge has long been a tradition for amorous couples. But after a section of the footbridge collapsed earlier this year under their weight, the authorities want to avoid incidents and costly repairs, and re urging visitors to take a photo instead. Hayley Platt reports

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In the City of Love - a lovers' tradition has become a nuisance. Couples have attached padlocks to the railings of Paris bridges for several years. The so-called "love locks" meant to symbolise their everlasting love. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CYPRIOT TOURIST MARYLINE ACHILLEOS SAYING: "I think it's a concept of sealing your love, and throwing the keys away then if he wants to break up he needs to dive in the water and get it." But this abundance of affection comes at a cost. In June a metal grill on the Pont des Arts footbridge collapsed onto the walkway - under the weight of all the locks. Now the city authorities want to put an end to the practice. Vanessa Panetto from Paris city hall says they're worried the weighty locks may cause accidents. (SOUNDBITE) (French) HEAD OF PARIS TOWN HALL ACTIVITIES UNIT VANESSA PANETTO SAYING: "It could cause a barrier to collapse, and harm a pleasure boat or a tourist boat passing underneath the bridge, or a pedestrian walking on the pavement. So it's dangerous, and moreover it destroys Paris' heritage and destroys the bridge." The cost of repairing damaged bridges is also a concern. So Paris is encouraging couples to take photographs of themselves instead and post them online. But Anna and Claudio from Italy aren't convinced a so-called "selfie" is as romantic. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ITALIAN TOURIST CLAUDIO RASOIRA SAYING: "It's common also in Verona in Italy, near the house of Romeo and Juliet, and it's common also in Florence, in Rome, so why not?" Paris attracts millions of tourists annually - it says almost 30 million visited in 2013. Aware of its romantic reputation, authorities have previously removed locks, but so far resisted an all out ban. But with one bridge groaning under an estimated 27,000 kilograms of locks - it may be time to give way to another phenomenon - the selfie.

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Say I love you with a selfie, begs Paris

Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 01:43