For any Francophile, the news of the Pont des Arts fence collapse this past Sunday was a long time coming.
The controversial practice of couples locking a padlock containing their initials to a bridge and throwing the key into the river below has only become popular in the last 10 years. From the Seoul Tower in South Korea to the Kettenbrücke in Bramberg, Germany, residents, tourists and travelers alike feel the need to make their mark.
This is an opportunity for students of architecture, sociology, culture and even city planning to take a step back and re-evaluate the value of this romantic gesture. In 1984, when the refurbished bridge was inaugurated by the mayor of Paris, it was meant to serve as a common space for artists, picnic goers and beautiful views of the Seine. The weight of the love lock habit threatens famous international sites all over the world; the issues of graffiti, vandalism and sustainability are undeniable. Does the significance of a site like Ponts des Arts, that is featured in movies, blogs, social media and the romantic memories of countless world citizens, trump the bridge’s intended use?
This is an interesting topic for students of many disciplines; a discussion about the implications of the Love Locks tradition and its affects on the city, culture and infrastructure of Paris would be best discussed, well, in Paris- or at least we think so.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments and decide for yourself on an efstudyabroad.com/paris program.
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