Attention lovestruck tourists in Paris: Instead of proclaiming your undying love for each other like everybody else and affixing a lock to a bridge, the city is asking you to just take a selfie instead.
In addition to expanding your audience with this digital proclamation of love, you’ll also spare some of the city’s iconic and historic monuments from falling into states of disrepair.
On August 11, the city began posting stickers on bridges across Paris with the hashtag #lovewithoutlocks, appealing to tourists to refrain from hanging a lock on some of their national heritage sites, and to take a selfie instead.
“Our bridges can no longer withstand your gestures of love, set them free by declaring your love with #lovewithoutlocks,” explains the city’s newly launched website.
The move comes after the weight of thousands of these supposed love locks, totaling an estimated 45 tonnes, caused a section of metal mesh about 2.4 m long (8 feet) to collapse on the historic Pont des Arts earlier this summer, forcing authorities to close off the footbridge for repairs.
Since appearing in 2008, the practice of hanging locks has spread to other bridges across the city, including the Pont de L’Archeveche by Notre Dame, the Passerelle de Solferino by Orsay Museum and bridges that span the Canal Saint-Martin.
Despite a public campaign mounted by two American expats to end the practice they describe as acts of vandalism, the city has been reluctant to ban the practice altogether, for fear of spoiling its reputation as the most romantic tourist destination in the world.
“Paris delights in its lovers, who come in numbers so great, but its bridges are more fragile than their passion and thousands of padlocks are some weight,” reads a poem-like appeal on the site.
Selfies will be shared on the site, dubbed a “social wall to lovers worldwide.”
By noon on the first day of its launch, the site had amassed more than 30 photos, either of the bridges themselves or selfies of friends and lovers in front of love lock bridges in Paris.