An endangered small job in Paris, love locks seller.

@topffer (35538)
France
January 14, 2018 9:53am CST
The love locks sellers appeared in 2008 in Paris on the «Pont des Arts». It is again an Indian business, this time targeting tourists. The «Pont des Arts» was initially the first iron bridge built in France by order of Napoleon. It was a footbridge crossing the Seine between the French Academy and the Museum of Arts, i.e. the Louvre. It had benches and was decorated by orange trees. Napoleon was finding it ugly and lacking of robustness, and decided that this kind of bridge architecture was just good enough for England where they were lacking of good stones for bridges, but unwelcomed in France, and it has been the only iron bridge in France during decades. Not completely wrong when it comes to robustness, the bridge had to be closed in 1970 and was rebuilt in the early 1980’s on the same design but with less piers to align it on the «Pont Neuf», making the perspective view less ugly. When the love locks started to accumulate on the «Pont des Arts» and the «Pont de l’Archevêché», a new controversy appeared, telling that these locks were making these bridges looking ugly. It is an opinion that I do not share. Seen from the bridges, the accumulation of locks was certainly ugly. But seen from the bank during the night, the locks shining under the lights of the city were making these bridges looking magical. In 2014 a grid on the «Pont des Arts» felt down under the weight of the locks. Not really dangerous for the bridge, the locks being not on the main handrail, but it inflamed the controversy. A «F*ck Love» group offered on a website and on FB to cut the love locks for a few euros, approximately the same price than they were sold. A good symbiosis could have occured between the sellers and the cutters in the best interest of both parties, but it did not, and a few fights were recorded between sellers and cutters. In June 2015 the grids were removed by the city on the «Pont des Arts» and replaced by glass panels. The same was done on the «Pont de l’Archevêché» in November 2016. There are still two footbridges where a love lock can be put in Paris, but only one in the touristic center favorable for the business of a love lock seller, the «Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor» (previously called «Passerelle Solférino»), between the Museum of Orsay and the garden of the Tuileries. There was only one seller on the bridge last Sunday, maybe the last Indian seller in Paris. They have to face now a harsh competition : all the booksellers near the Seine are selling locks, and the price of their locks, 3 or 4 Euros, is displayed (the price of a lock sold on the bridge depends of the faces of the buyers). Besides, the locksmiths around are offering a real engraving to the lovers, instead of a marker pen. It is really an endangered job. While this small job is disappearing, the city of Paris organized last May an operation that could leave a bitter taste to these sellers, a public auction of some grids or pieces of grids full of love locks removed from the bridges. The profits were given to 3 charities helping immigrants, and they were huge : the auction brought back 250 000 Euros !
17 people like this
18 responses
@LadyDuck (170796)
• Switzerland
14 Jan
The love locks appeared also in the main tourist cities in Italy and they are facing the same fate. The local population is against, they caused a part of the bridge handrail to collapse and they are now removed. I never found those locks "artistic".
3 people like this
@topffer (35538)
• France
14 Jan
An handrail should be conceived to not collapse. These love locks are a mass culture phenomenon that speaks more to people than Land Art or Christo and Jeanne-Claude packaging monuments. When you remove the speech of a land art artist, there is nothing else left than BS. I have seen several of their "performances", and I never could take one seriously, probably because I am too primitive for their art.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (170796)
• Switzerland
14 Jan
@topffer I have never understood and appreciated the so called "Land Art" by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. I remember the stupid "floating pear" on the Lake Iseo in Italy last year.
2 people like this
@topffer (35538)
• France
14 Jan
@LadyDuck Have you tried to walk on the cubes ? Christo has always rejected to pertain to the Land Art movement, what he does is a bit different and has perhaps a bit more sense, but, frankly...
2 people like this
@much2say (40041)
• United States
15 Jan
I remember hearing on the news about the weight of the locks making the fence crumble. It is a "cute" idea, whomever started it . . . but I can imagine all those locks beings too heavy for the grid. Surely it's less ugly (and less gross) than our Gumball Alley (in San Luis Obispo, way north of us) where people have stuck already-chewed-gum onto the walls. I didn't know there was a lock seller there and there was such competition (I thought people brought their own locks!). Well, since that part of the bridge is now removed, it'd be smart for someone to start a "new location" for locks of love to keep that tradition alive!
2 people like this
@topffer (35538)
• France
15 Jan
There are a lot of grids near the Seine where they can be put, but people prefer to put them on a bridge, and I would not tell that this one will be available for long. I had nothing against the locks on the "Pont des Arts", it was at birth an ugly bridge and the locks were not making it looking more ugly, just different. The bridge is classified as a historical monument although there is nothing remaining in Paris of it (a part of the original "Pont des Arts" has been unmounted and rebuilt on another river in a suburb) but it is not because a monument is classified that it cannot continue to live. At least it is my opinion about classified monuments. But I would have perhaps objected against chewed-gums.
1 person likes this
@much2say (40041)
• United States
15 Jan
@topffer I can see how it would be more romantic to put them on the bridge, I guess that's just part of the tradition and no other location would do . I suppose it's a touristy kinda thing to do. I've only seen photos of it - I never thought they were ugly - but perhaps for those who saw it all the time in passing thought of it as an eye sore. I just read an article that the padlocks were now replaced by padlock themed graffiti!
1 person likes this
@topffer (35538)
• France
15 Jan
@much2say They did it on the Pont des Arts in 2015 : when they removed the grids they put some temporary plywood panels with graffiti during a few weeks before putting glass. I saw them only on photos. I just had a look but I have not taken a photo of this bridge since they removed the locks. This one from 2016 was found on Wikipedia, it still looks like this.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130208)
• Bunbury, Australia
15 Jan
That's a lot of money they raised. The poor old Indians will have to come up with a new slant to make money from the tourists. I like the fact that the cost of the lock depended on the face of the buyer. Do you think we would have had to pay a lot for a lock?
2 people like this
@topffer (35538)
• France
15 Jan
I think they always ask more than the booksellers around, but it would be mean to talk about the price of a gesture of love. And your money helps a freezing undocumented immigrant to survive. I read that they used to earn very good daily wages, I am not sure now as this bridge is a bit off-centered. They always find something to sell to the tourists : one was selling selfie sticks to people queuing in front of the entrance of Orsay, a museum where selfie sticks are forbidden.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (130208)
• Bunbury, Australia
15 Jan
@topffer There was a bit of a stir in front of the Eiffel Tower when we were there. One guy quickly hid all his trinket trays under a bush and went running over - I guess to try to help his friends perhaps.
2 people like this
@topffer (35538)
• France
15 Jan
@JudyEv Or to hide from the police that arrests them times to times and seizes the items they sell...
2 people like this
• Philippines
15 Jan
They shouldn't put locks on their anymore, it's very impractical now. I'm glad they renovated it, who the hell gave that idea. perhaps they should make a huge wall and put the love locks over there instead.
2 people like this
@topffer (35538)
• France
15 Jan
I do not think they will last long on this one too, the city will remove them soon or later. This said, I have nothing against the locks, but it is a matter of taste. The idea of the wall is interesting, the problem is to decide couples to put their locks elsewhere than on a bridge. I do not know who had the idea. It started in Rome in 2007, came in Paris in 2008, and all over Europe later. Wikipedia says that it is a century old tradition in Serbia, but everywhere the first sellers of the 2000's were Indians.
• United States
14 Jan
@topffer It is a sad day for love! It is also sad that the love locks are being used as a divisive tool from what you are saying. There are places in America where this goes on but the newer locks have weather protection on them.
2 people like this
@topffer (35538)
• France
14 Jan
Not really a divisive tool, all "official" booksellers along the Seine are also offering love locks, the cutters were defending their view of the cultural heritage and were targeting the locks, not the sellers, it turned bad because some sellers defended the locks... However, during the auction, a few alt-right people entered in the auction room to tell that the money should go to Parisians, not to undocumented immigrants. Paris is a cosmopolitan city where the far right obtains very low scores : Marine Le Pen did not got 5% of the votes in any district of Paris during the first turn of our presidential election, and not 13% in any district during the second turn. Some locks have a weather protection, but most of them are very cheap locks, maybe too cheap for a big love.
1 person likes this
@Madshadi (8922)
• Brussels, Belgium
14 Jan
I think they decorate the bridge nicely. But looks like that poor seller standing in the cold all day long would wish for a better job.
2 people like this
@topffer (35538)
• France
14 Jan
It is certainly more comfortable in summer, but there are thousands of tourists all the year in Paris, and there is no season for lovers.
1 person likes this
@Susan2015 (21310)
• United States
14 Jan
That is quite a bit for the auction. And I like all the different colored locks in your picture.
2 people like this
@topffer (35538)
• France
14 Jan
Some are starting to be rusty. The amount collected by the auction is mainly due to international buyers, mostly Asians. These love locks have never been successful among the French population.
2 people like this
• Pamplona, Spain
20 Jan
They must look really nice at night for sure. Have not heard of this over here but that does not mean to say it might not exist in other big Cities like Barcelona or Madrid. However no one has mentioned that they are selling this kind of thing ever but other things yes. Truth to tell only the big Exihibitions get a mention on the News and when they make lots of money with it to the tune of Millions of Euros. Suppose its good news but not really interesting Exhibition really at all from what I saw on the Television hope it was more interesting than that.
1 person likes this
@topffer (35538)
• France
21 Jan
They were put first in France and Italy, but I think they are in any big city in Europe now. I cannot tell for Spain though. You had an international exhibition recently ? I remember I went to a world fair in Sevilla in the 1990's.
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
21 Jan
@topffer Yes it was somewhere else though not in Pamplona. Sevilla that was a really good one something for everyone there and I could not go because of lack of cash but I did watch most of it on the Television so I did not miss too much.
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@topffer (35538)
• France
21 Jan
@lovinangelsinstead21 I have good and bad memories of Sevilla. The fair was nice, but I had all my clothes stolen in the car.
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@nela13 (7729)
• Portugal
2 Feb
I have never been there, that bridge is famous.
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@topffer (35538)
• France
2 Feb
The Pont des Arts is famous, the one in the photo is rather recent, from the 1990's, but it is the last bridge where a lock can be fixed in the center of Paris.
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@nela13 (7729)
• Portugal
2 Feb
@topffer I wish one day I can go there.
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@topffer (35538)
• France
2 Feb
@nela13 It will happen or you would be the only Portuguese not having visited France. I am joking. I hear people speaking your language everyday. There is an important Portuguese community in my city, and a church not far from my home has its Sunday mass in Portuguese. Personally I want to visit Porto. It will be probably for next year. I have been in the South of your country during holidays long ago, but I do not know the North.
1 person likes this
@pgntwo (21952)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
21 Jan
Common on the safety rails along the river in Liverpool too, I noticed recently. Why have people this desire to clip a sometimes huge padlock on a wire safety railing...? Beats me.
1 person likes this
@topffer (35538)
• France
21 Jan
It is an expression of popular culture.
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@pgntwo (21952)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
21 Jan
@topffer Ah. Monkey see, monkey do. That makes sense now
1 person likes this
@topffer (35538)
• France
21 Jan
@pgntwo You are a f*cking elitist.
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (10039)
• Malaysia
16 Jan
There are few tourist attractions here that have those love locks, but I haven't heard of any protest or anything about removing them. I also haven't seen sellers solely selling those locks, I guess people just get them from anywhere.
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@topffer (35538)
• France
16 Jan
It is surprising that nobody thought at selling love locks directly on the bridges. There is an opportunity to take in your country.
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (10039)
• Malaysia
17 Jan
@topffer The weather is too hot to sell them outside maybe?
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@BarBaraPrz (20527)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
14 Jan
I have heard of the "love locks" but still don't understand the point of it all. I think it's silly.
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@topffer (35538)
• France
14 Jan
Love makes people silly.
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@BarBaraPrz (20527)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
14 Jan
@topffer You could be on to one of the great truths of life.
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@kepweng (17705)
• Waikoloa, Hawaii
15 Apr
i think thiers a love lock too in japan but i Dont know whos the First one Started that Craziness
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@topffer (35538)
• France
15 Apr
I cannot tell. It started about 10 years ago in France, and a bit earlier in Italy.
@snowy22315 (51061)
• United States
20 Jan
How interesting, I never heard of the lovelocks.
1 person likes this
@topffer (35538)
• France
20 Jan
There are love locks in all big European cities now, I would be surprised if this fashion had not reached the USA.
@YrNemo (14246)
15 Jan
Thanks for this post. I had been curious if people really did it in real life after watching a comedy romance movie ages ago. (Only tourists did this I guess?)
1 person likes this
@topffer (35538)
• France
15 Jan
I do not think that many French are doing it, it is definitely something for tourists, but the number of locks shows that many are leaving a lock in Paris. I read that these sellers were earning very well, I am not sure that the business is as good on this bridge which is a bit off-centered...
@ridingbet (57740)
• Philippines
15 Jan
maybe the lovers who locked their emotions in those padlocks are still enjoying the love between them.
1 person likes this
@topffer (35538)
• France
15 Jan
I am sure that it is the case for many.
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@Kandae11 (40289)
14 Jan
Why the name - love lock?
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@topffer (35538)
• France
14 Jan
Each lock witnesses of a love story. Couples are drawing a heart (or something else) and are putting their names or initials on these locks. Some are little art works nicely engraved.
@JohnRoberts (60971)
• Los Angeles, California
14 Jan
I had read about the love locks situation before. Not an old practice.
1 person likes this
@topffer (35538)
• France
14 Jan
It appeared only 10 years ago and has never been successful among the native population. I suppose that they will also be removed from this bridge soon.
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