A technique in visualisation – holds the answer
A slice of Paris history was laid to rest yesterday, when the Paris Love Locks bound to the railings of the Pont des Arts were finally removed. Having only lived in Paris for three years, I was surprised at the sad feelings I had about the demise of a tradition, that seemed to have been a part of Parisian culture for so long. However, my subdued status and what I thought was an appropriate period of mourning, over this heart-felt globally reported moment, was brutally brought to an abrupt end by a comment from an MLP fan, that I can only describe as a shocking rude awakening!
Before revealing all, thinking practically, it is no real surprise that the locks eventually had to be wrenched from the bridge, due to the intense weight of the declarations of love that had been hanging there for years. But despite this, it still felt like such a shame to bring down these metal love notes, that people from across the globe had romantically crafted and placed poignantly for all the world to see.
The Pont des Art became a mecca for lovers who made their journey to Paris with the idea in mind. It was like a seal, an affirmation, an outpouring of love that was so strong you could almost feel it as you walked over, what many would describe as, the most romantic bridge in the world.
My husband and I had a lock on that bridge. I remember the day so well. We had gone for a drink at Le Fumoir a very nice bar and restaurant next to the Louvre. After supping a few cocktails and taking in the Parisian scenery that looked so beautiful that day, we held hands and took a promenade by the river. As we crossed the Pont des Arts there were fifty or so people just chilling and milling on the bridge. Some were sitting on the benches, others were enjoying wine and food whilst lazing on little picnic blankets, most were just taking in the glorious views or like me, engrossed in the thousands of love messages that were clasped to the railing. “I love you forever”, “You and I are one”, “We will always have Paris”, “Together always”.
Being suitably romantic I turned to my better half and said “One day we have to get a lock and attach it to this bridge…it is such a romantic thing to do” and he just said “why not now?” and pulled out a bright green lock! I know it sounds silly but I actually choked and flung my arms around him with happiness.
I know! It’s just a lock, just a bridge, so why would I feel this way? Standing there in that moment clutching this lock after 8 years of happy marriage and twin boys too, what could this moment possibly add to all of that? The answer is simply – the romance.
Here we were, in the most romantique city in the world, amongst thousands of tales of loving relationships and connections flanked by beauty under the sunlit skies on one of the city’s beautiful Spring days; clutching a lock that would make our moment, this moment, part of the story! Animated hearts were flying in every direction – it was as though we had drunk a lot more than we thought! Intoxicated with love.
We scribbled our private/public note to each other and spent a good ten minutes working out where to put it. We were taking part in a ritual, walking in the footsteps of the thousands that had gone before us to make their homage to the Bridge of Love.
When we finally married our lock to the bridge and admired it momentarily, we slowly floated over the bridge thinking about how in ten years time our sons would come and find it. How they would enjoy the process of discovering how mum and dad had declared their love for each other, one day in Paris – all those years ago.
Of course now, I realise how naive I was. Admittedly I hadn’t given a thought to the bridge and the pressure it might be under, I hadn’t considered this at all. I wasn’t thinking that it might not be there in the immediate future. I was too caught up in the sentimentality that the moment offered perhaps!
Just to add to this, I recently read on Reddit that one couple were offering to pay someone in Paris to find their lock, so heartbroken were they over its loss and the sentimental value it held (the lock was a gift from a family relative). Did Paris consider the magnitude of its decision and the emotional effect it would have? (sic)
My shared romantic tale and solace over the tearing down of the locks, however is only one side of the story. There are many who feel quite the opposite to me and who are absolutely delighted that this whole ‘Love Lock’ scenario is coming to an end. Take for example one of MLP’s lovely followers on Facebook. She says:
Please! There is nothing like tacky ass shit being compared to art or romance. It’s a lock ! Not a painting not a poem not a song, it’s a piece of metal used to keep someone from stealing your bike. It’s the romantic equivalent of writing your name on a hubcap and welding it to the Eiffel Tower. Paris is a beautiful city that does not require a combination lock hanging like a testicle off a bridge. So common! Clean up the place from cheap attempts at impressing your girlfriend.
No, I say. Surely you must feel a little bit sentimental! Testicles? How harsh! To which she replies with candour:
Sentimental not really. It’s like if your neighbour brought his dog over to poop on your lawn for a decade or two. Sure the look on the dogs face as he takes a dump is cute; and the way your neighbour looks off into the distance, like he is contemplating the meaning of the universe, so as to avoid any chance of seeing you looking out the window – may seem very transcendental. The reality is… there is now a turd on your lawn! Same kinda thing. And I like my testicles metaphor. Really drives it home.
Bam! Mentally my lock was morphed into a hanging hairy testicle so cruelly, that I struggled to visualise anything else for a while! It felt like a right hook from Tyson straight on the chin, taking me down and with it, forcing all my romantic notions to come crashing to the floor. Nursing a ‘virtual’ busted lip I came to, with a new reality.
The truth is that despite the fact that I, MLP, personally had wanted to tie myself to the railings in protest, one million locks weighing over 45 tonnes just had to go. Part of the bridge had collapsed under the weight last year and it was just too much. Now, the metal grilles which date back to 1804 will be replaced with street art until the glass panels are finally installed later in the year.
It’s the end of the padlocks,” said Bruno Julliard, Paris, Deputy Mayor.
“They spoil the aesthetics of the bridge, are structurally bad for it and can cause accidents.”
… and no! Selfies stuck to the bridge as an alternative have been given the thumbs down as an option by authorities.
So, today MLP bids a final farewell to this beautiful tradition in Paris on the Pont des Arts and a personal goodbye to our green love lock. How does MLP suggest getting over the loss? Imagine those Paris Love Locks as a bunch of testicles and believe me the romantic vision you had will disappear forever!
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