The Louvre: a famous palace-turned-museum most famous for housing the well-known Mona Lisa, or la Jaconde, as the French call it. However, what the travel channel doesn’t talk about is a foot-bridge crossing the Seine River on the side of the Louvre where the street vendors gather to peddle their wares. This bridge is quite arguably the most romantic spot in all of Paris, France, and yet few know of its very existence.
Imagine a bridge over a river. A simple foot-bridge with chain link fencing on either side, to keep the clumsier tourists from falling in the river. Nothing particularly interesting about the bridge, is there? Think again. Walking across the bridge, you see hundreds, if not thousands, of locks attached to the chain link fence, each with a different story behind it.
The tradition of what is now referred to by my family as the ‘lock bridge’ is what connects people of all genders, races, ages and more to one another. With the act of writing your name on a lock, as well as a friend, lover, family member, or other important person in your life, you are marking a moment in history when this person was your world, even if they aren’t anymore. And with the act of locking it onto the fence and throwing the key into the river, you are making a vow that this love will forever be a part of you, just as it is now a part of the bridge.
Tradition, however, is not the only reason that I believe this spot to be the most romantic in all of Paris, if not the world. The beauty of what is seen on the bridge is also a major factor. At first glance, it is just a bunch of locks. But a closer look reveals details about those who placed them there. A giant padlock, engraved with the names of the lovers demonstrates a need for the whole world to know of their joy. A group of locks with the same names repeated with different dates show a love that has stood the test of time. A lock engraved with just the words “You and Me” speaks of a true romantic, still waiting for the right one to walk across the bridge. Or perhaps, you’ll see a simple bicycle lock with four names written in sharpie – a family who was touched by the beautiful elegance of the nameless bridge.
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