One of the highlights of my summer was a place I stumbled onto purely by accident. I was in Paris visiting some relatives when my youngest daughter tugged on my sleeve and said, “Mom, look. The Lock Bridge.”
Despite having read our Lonely Planet travel guide, I had no idea what she was talking about. Turns out, she was referring to the Pont des Arts, the bridge in Paris that recently appeared in the summer movie Now You See Me.
The tradition started a few years ago when lovers would sneak onto the bridge at night and attach padlocks, then toss the key into the Seine. At first the locks were supposed to symbolize everlasting love. Now people flock to the bridge in broad daylight to affix their locks and the symbolism behind the gesture is as varied as the tourists who come from all over the world.
This new Parisian tourist attraction sits in the heart of the city, just footsteps away from the Louvre Museum and Notre Dame. Of all the sights we visited during our trip, the Lock Bridge was my kids’ favorite. We bought a lock from a street vendor, wrote our names on it, and searched for the ideal spot. After attaching it to the bridge, the kids tossed the keys into the Seine and made a wish.
I had never heard of love locks until we stumbled onto the Pont des Arts, but evidently these places have sprouted up all over the world–Seoul, Budapest, Tokyo. Judging by the crowd on that sunny summer day, Paris’s lock bridge is one of the most popular.