“It’s now kind of street art because it’s made of love of people from all over the world,” said auctioneer Collin du Bocage, who expects the lovelocks to fetch between €100 (about US$109) for the smallest pieces and up to “€5,000 to we don’t know what” for the larger sections.
It seems love doesn’t come cheap.
“The revenues from the sale of these locks will support three charities, which will then help people going through a difficult period of their lives,” Colonel Daniel Naud, territorial commander of the Salvation Army’s France and Belgium division, told Ruptly.
These small but numerous locks have weighed on the city long enough, it seems.
In 2015 the Capital of Love decided to get rid of the locks on the Pont des Arts after its railings collapsed under the load. It was reported then that workers moved 45 tonnes of lock-cladded railings.
Later the Pont des Arts got a makeover with lock-proof plexiglass, but even so lovers found creative ways around it.
Whether a commercial (albeit charitable) initiative will encourage visitors to express their love in ways less harmful for the city’s architecture remains to be seen.
“We hesitated a lot, just because we were afraid to annoy the couples that left in Paris such a love message, this act of love. But we were forced to do so for security reasons, because the weight of the padlocks was making bridges unsafe and dangerous,” Bruno Julliard, deputy mayor of Paris, told Ruptly.
The funds raised by the Credit Municipal de Paris auction house next Saturday will be donated to three associations helping to accommodate migrants: Solipam, the Salvation Army and Emmaus Solidarite.