Paris unpicks padlocks of love

TARA OAKES, VICKY BUFFERY AND PAUL CASCIATO
Last updated 08:50 15/02/2013
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LOVE LOCKS: Some of the thousands of padlocks clipped by lovers onto the railings of the Pont des Arts bridge over the River Seine in Paris

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Love was definitely not in the air for Parisian officials on Valentine's Day as they swooped in to remove the growing mass of padlocks that love-struck couples have shackled to the side of a bridge over the River Seine.

A growing tradition has seen lovers flock from all over world to the French capital to adorn its already groaning bridges with locks labeled with messages of love.

For city authorities, however, the romantic tokens have brought nothing but heartache, as the sheer weight of metal tempts thieves who remove them using wire cutters, causing structural damage as they work.

Even on Valentine's Day, an operation was in full swing to replace damaged panels adorned with years' worth of the locks.

Die-hard romantics were undeterred by the whirring of saws on Thursday and continued attaching locks in full view of toiling officials.

British tourist Dan Murphy even took advantage of the spot to propose to his girlfriend Lauren Price as they attached a lock to the famously romantic Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge.

"It just shows it's the most romantic city in the world," said Price as she showed off her new engagement ring.

For those who couldn't make it to the bridge or who wanted to show their affection without giving officials any trouble, Paris allowed lovers to display Valentine messages on electronic boards around the city.

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- Reuters

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