Many travelers who left “love locks” on Paris’ Pont des Arts were disheartened to learn last year that officials were banning the trend and removing the mementos from the bridge. But leave it to the City of Light (and love) to come up with a heartwarming way to honor the hundreds of thousands of locks left over the years.
Paris plans to auction off some of the locks and donate the proceeds to refugees, city officials have announced.
“Members of the public can buy five or 10 locks, or even clusters of them, all at an affordable price,” Bruno Julliard, first deputy mayor of Paris, told journalists, ABC News reported Thursday. “All of the proceeds will be given to those who work in support and in solidarity of the refugees in Paris.”
Juillard said last week that he hoped the sale could raise up to €100,000 ($106,000), The Guardian reported. The auction is scheduled for the spring, though an exact date is yet to be confirmed. City officials are first having experts appraise the value of the locks.
Many couples traveling to Paris made placing a lock on the city’s Pont des Arts a top priority during their trip. The bridge had more than 700,000 locks on it at one point. The excess weight was causing it to collapse, so the city moved to save the structure and prohibit the practice in 2015.
No Love Locks, an advocacy group against the practice, supported the city’s decision to auction off the romantic symbols, calling the gesture “a real expression of love.”
While the trend stopped in Paris, affixing love locks seemed to catch on elsewhere in the world.
In October, New York City officials fought back against tourists trying to leave similar love locks on the Brooklyn Bridge. The Department of Transportation imposed a $100 fine for attaching a padlock to the bridge’s pedestrian walkway, and hung the below sign on the bridge ― a sentiment that nearly all New Yorkers can agree on: