Lovers of Ile-de-France – Pont de l’Archeveche


Of course this type of thing is in Paris! What surprised me is that almost everything you could put a padlock on, has a padlock on it.

I’m serious – a twist of metal, a free rung, a handle in a wall, padlocks cling and hang off them like shells to a rock. Names of men and women are tattooed in childish felt-tip or exquisitely engraved into the metal. It really is quite wonderful.

Looking at all the padlocks, you wonder how the couples out there are getting on. Are they still together? How many weddings, children, arguments and heartbreaks have followed on from the romantic ritual of clicking that lock and lobbing the key into the grimy depths of the Seine?
It is a token of love as old as the rose and the metal glitters beautifully in the early Spring sun.

Me? Jealous? Ha! (Next time I’m definitely coming to Paris with a boy, any boy, I don’t care, as much as I’m fond of my good friend Seline from Rome – we are here visiting her family.)

This gooey gesture actually originated in Serbia during World War II when couples from the chilly town of Vrnjacka Banja sealed their love in fur jackets and frostbite before brave men trekked off to fight, perhaps never to return. Nowadays, we buy one from a pushy seller for 5 Euros and shove it on the bridge before boisterously looking for a crepe stand or a French happy hour, (ahem.)
Fortunately for our time, it is not likely that said suitor is disappearing off to war any time soon.

It made me think of London, where I live when not in Rome looking after Italian bambini. Where are all the padlocks? I’m not sure where they are hiding, I’m pretty sure they are found only in sheds and serve as a token of warning against stray drunks and prying children. But apparently there are SOME on the Millennium bridge, so next time I’m there I will let you know. (Only 27 or so though! What is wrong with Brits and the torture of expressing feelings of love?) Maybe I’m asking too much.

Note to self: next time I’m in Paris I will not rest until I’m on that bridge clutching the toned arm of an intelligent, funny, romantic insert-name-here with seven padlocks to boastfully leave all over Paris and then run off arm in arm to Avenue George V for fizzy champagne and fresh macaroons.
Or is that the wrong message to take from Paris and it’s padlock infestation?


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