Pont des ArtsTourists are currently not allowed on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris after a chunk of its metal grille fell away under the weight of thousands of "love locks" (padlocks) on June 8.

Police have temporarily sealed off the pedestrian bridge as a safety measure. The metal grille fell inward, rather than into the river, and there were no injuries.

It is a popular custom for tourists to attach a padlock to the bridge as a romantic gesture and then throw the key into the Seine River below.

The bridge was originally completed in 1804 and rebuilt in the 1980s.

The love lock tradition is said to have begun in Hungary in the early 20th century, based on the tale of a young woman who lost her love, a soldier, to another during World War I. Young women started symbolizing their love by attaching padlocks to the bridge where the abandoned woman used to meet her lover.

The tradition took hold in Western Europe in the early 2000s and began in Paris in 2008.

A "No Love Locks" campaign, with the tagline "Free Your Love. Save Our Bridges," was launched in Paris by two Americans in February in response to about 700,000 padlocks appearing around the city on other bridges in addition to the Pont des Arts.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly


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