Paris hopes a hashtag can save its bridges

JESSICA PLAUTZ
Last updated 13:01, August 14 2014
A panel with the message, "Make Love, not love locks" is seen of the Pont de l'Archeveche bridge, near the Notre Dame Cathedral, which is covered with thousands of padlocks in Paris.
Reuters

A panel with the message, "Make Love, not love locks" is seen of the Pont de l'Archeveche bridge, near the Notre Dame Cathedral, which is covered with thousands of padlocks in Paris.

This article originally appeared on Mashable.

Paris is trying to convince tourists to not leave padlocks on the city's historic bridges — with a hashtag.

While officials are stopping short of implementing an actual ban, they are starting to take the damage to the bridges done by the thousands of love locks seriously.

Newlyweds Regina and Vadim Medvedev from Riga in Latvia, take selfies on bridge.
Reuters

Newlyweds Regina and Vadim Medvedev from Riga in Latvia, take selfies on bridge.

The #LoveWithoutLocks campaign asks lovers to take a selfie and share the image with the hashtag.

An official website, lovewithoutlocks.paris.fr, will feature the images.

Critics think a selfie hashtag campaign doesn't do enough to combat the problem, according to the No Love Locks campaign, which was started by two American expats living in Paris.

Mexican tourists, Claudia and Oswaldo, pose on the Pont de l'Archeveche bridge.
Reuters

Mexican tourists, Claudia and Oswaldo, pose on the Pont de l'Archeveche bridge.

"We hope #LoveWithoutLocks is the beginning of an aggressive campaign against 'love locks' and that Mayor Hidalgo will now take a stronger stance on protecting the UNESCO World Heritage site along the Seine," according to a statement from No Love Locks.

Several posts with the hashtag cropped up on social media, though the majority of posts are so far from those who have been fighting the locks.

Love locks have grown in popularity in Paris since 2008.

A panel with love locks and personal messages is seen of the Pont de l'Archeveche bridge.
Reuters

A panel with love locks and personal messages is seen of the Pont de l'Archeveche bridge.

The tradition's origins are hard to pin down, but the latest craze has been tied to the rise of the romance novel Ho voglia di te.

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Not only are the locks a nuisance, critics say, but physical signs of affection are also a threat to Paris' culture, specifically the bridges that are World Heritage sites.

 - Mashable.com

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