Paris scorns lovers with scour of romantic bridge

Thu May 13, 2010 12:45pm EDT
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By John Irish

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Lovers in Paris were left feeling a little less welcome this week after the tokens of their ardor mysteriously disappeared from one of the city's most romantic spots.

For years love-struck couples have been fastening padlocks to the railings of the Pont des Arts, engraving them with their initials, adding a few sentimental words and then tossing the keys into the Seine river below to symbolize their eternal love.

The hundreds of "love locks" adorning the Napoleonic passarelle under the watchful eye of Notre Dame Cathedral came in all shapes, sizes and styles from sparkling colors to rusting clunkers all bearing witness to love.

They vanished overnight sometime before Wednesday morning.

In a bid to preserve the 19th century bridge's structure, the town hall had said it planned to dispense with romance and had ordered the locks to be removed at an unspecified time.

Officials in the "City of Love" appeared reluctant to take credit for sullying this new tradition now that it has happened.

The various municipal authorities in charge of the bridge said they had not taken the final decision for the overnight raid to remove the detritus of love when asked by Le Parisien newspaper. Parisian authorities and town cleaning services contacted by Reuters declined to comment.

LOVE NEVER ENDS   Continued...

<p>A tourist takes a picture of padlocks, placed there by lovers, on the Pont des Arts' bridge on the Seine river in Paris, March 17, 2010. REUTERS/Charles Platiau</p>