The last time I was in Paris, I wondered why so many locks were attached to bridges and railings.
I have seen similar locks in Prague and in Budapest, but that’s nothing compared to Paris. Some Parisian bridges are completely covered with them.
I always assumed people put locks on bridges to symbolize that the place has made a profound impact on them and that a part of their heart will always be in Paris, Prague, Budapest, Taiwan, or wherever.
This week, I became padlock-enlightened when I read this piece in The New York Times. The padlocks, apparently, are symbols of the visiting couples’ everlasting love.
Agnes C. Poirier writes in the Times article:
“Once discreet, doing their deed at night, visitors soon acted in broad daylight, in pairs, photographing each other in front of their locks, and videotaping the throwing of the keys into the Seine…..For couples visiting from all over the world, these locks were symbols of their everlasting love. Indeed, in other cities the locks have also caught on as an expression of passion — in Seoul, Budapest, Rome and Tokyo. Living in one of the world’s most visited cities, with 27 million visitors a year, and supposedly the world’s capital of romance, Parisians should have guessed from the beginning that this strange ritual had to do with the fantasy of everlasting love.”
Locks and love? That one, I must admit, I never saw coming. Locks and lust, I can see. But what do locks have to do with love?
By the sounds of things, this is the question Parisians are asking, as well.
Instead of sharing the world’s — however banal — celebration of everlasting love, Parisians are apparently getting increasingly irritated by people’s misunderstanding what true love means.
Poirier writes that behind love — at least love French-style — lies the idea of freedom, not commitment: