Speed Reads

isn't it romantic

An American in Paris wants tourists to stop placing love locks on bridges

Yves Forestier/Getty Images

Couples from around the globe descend upon Paris every day, eager to explore one of the most romantic places in the world. Many wind up at the Pont des Arts footbridge, where they write their names on a padlock and then secure it to the bridge. The practice is gaining popularity, and it's not only lovebirds leaving padlocks now, but also families and groups of friends.

This enrages Lisa Taylor Huff, an American living in Paris. Huff decided that the padlocks were an eyesore and "desecrating" the bridges, so she started No Love Locks, a campaign to ban them. She doesn't like the fact that tourists are participating in this practice, which she says is not a French or Parisian tradition.

"There's that adage," she told NPR. "Tread lightly, take only photographs, leave only footprints." The locks are "heavy footprints." So far, no one in Paris' city hall wants to speak on record about the potential ban, or the fact that Huff's petition has already received thousands of signatures.

The padlock trend began in the late 1990s, NPR reports, and Le Monde estimates that there could be 700,000 locks on the Pont des Arts bridge. One of those was placed by Austrian boyfriend and girlfriend Isabella Schauffler and Fabien Hampel, who threw the key to their lock in the Seine. Schauffler is hopeful their relationship will last "as long as the lock remains." With Huff's petition gaining traction, who knows how long that will be. --Catherine Garcia