Love Locks on Charles Bridge in Prague
Love Locks on Charles Bridge, Budapest

Love locks are everywhere these days. I’ve seen them in Prague, Budapest, Paris, and London. I used to think it was cute and romantic but since visiting Paris in October, my opinion has changed.

I walked along the Seine with my partner and each time we got close to a bridge someone would ask us if we wanted to buy a love lock.

“Hello, lob locks?” the Romany man said to us. He was holding a pair of padlocks up to us. Another man, a thin guy with blonde dreadlocks and a beanie cap busied himself decorating a lock with beads and string for a couple. Another couple was taking photos with the love lock they were about to add to the fence of the bridge.

This was all happening around the blue spray painted heart on the steps to the Pont des Arts, the bridge that made headlines over the summer because it was collapsing under the weight of all the love locks. The heart said clearly: No Love Locks.

The collapsing bridge was by then old news but it was only real to me at that moment — I could actually see where the bridge was coming apart (collapsing was a bit of a headline exaggeration). Despite the campaign and the boarded up fences along the bridge people were still locking their ‘love’ to it.

No Love Locks

No Love Locks campaign paris

You want to immortalize your relationship in a place as beautiful as your relationship — I get it. Even if I hadn’t changed my mind about the destruction of property that was obvious on the Pont des Arts, I just couldn’t help but think that it was incredibly unoriginal. There were thousands of locks along the bridge and I wouldn’t have felt like I was doing something special, just that I was copying a bunch of other people who had done the same.

Last Valentine’s Day, we celebrated in Budapest. This year, we’re celebrating early in Marrakech. No love locks, just memories and the postcards we exchange.

For the love of culture, leave your love off historical monuments this Valentine’s Day.

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