For their 14th wedding anniversary, Ryan and Caroline Maschhoff visited Paris, where the highlight of their trip was vandalizing a bridge.
After their flight arrived at Charles de Gaulle International Airport, they had a few hours to kill before they could check into their hotel. So they caught a pedi-cab to the scenic Seine River.
They stopped at Pont Des Artes and their driver suggested that they stroll along the pedestrian bridge filled with “love locks.” Though not the only love-lock bridge in Paris, it’s the most famous one where people in love write their names on a lock, attach it to the bridge (or to another lock if there’s no room), and throw the key into the river, pledging their eternal love.
The bridge has been loved to death. Woody Allen’s 2011 film Midnight in Paris made this a mandatory stop for American tourists. So many love-struck couples have burdened the bridge with their customized cast-iron and stainless steel locks that an eight-foot section of its railing recently buckled under the weight and went crashing into the river.
That section is now a piece of plywood. So much for eternal love.
Just like the keys to all of the locks, it’s being swept out to the Atlantic Ocean to be lost forever along with shattered dreams, sunken ships and empty wine bottles.
The Maschhoffs hadn’t planned on being on Pont Des Artes their first day or they would have had the lock they brought with them from Sebastian, Florida. But on a recent morning, they assured me they would be returning soon. Sealing their eternal love in metal would certainly be the highlight of their trip to the City of Light.
What were they thinking?
When asked about this tradition, Caroline Maschhoff said, “It’s pretty, beautiful, artistic; so many people in love.”
She thinks a combination lock would be best so they could “come back some day and find our lock.”
They’re in good company. Rebecca, Frannie and Carlee are three American teenagers who are spending a high school year in Italy. When they were asked about all the locks on Pont Des Artes, Carlee said, “The Love Bridge is now an icon in Paris. I do think it’s ruining the bridge and I’d be upset if they did it to every bridge.”
Frannie said, “People come and want to leave a mark.”
Well, Frannie, so do male dogs want to leave a mark wherever they go!
And practical Rebecca called it “a special place where people want to leave something. I’m coming back to put a lock on it even though I’m breaking up with my Italian boyfriend in a month when I return to the USA.”
Sorry for the sarcasm, Rebecca, but that doesn’t really sound like a love that needs eternalizing.
A better idea
You don’t have to be a vandal to “show the world” that you love someone. There are other ways.
Why not just be “old fashioned” and be courteous, kind and gentle – not just to the one you love, but to everyone and to everything? This includes young people, old people, animals and “things” in general.
True love doesn’t need paparazzi-style showmanship. Maybe we should leave that to the amateurs.