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Paris Will Auction Off ‘Love Locks’ To Help Refugees

“It’s a much better way to show love—the universal kind of love,” one activist said.

The love locks in their heyday.
The love locks in their heyday. Disdero/CC BY-SA 3.0

Love is a powerful thing—especially when expressed in the form of a small chunk of metal hung on a public bridge.

For years, swooning couples wrote their initials on padlocks and fastened them to certain footbridges in Paris, covering the guardrails. Last June, the city had to chainsaw off the “love locks,” fearing the walkways would collapse under all that affection. 

But you can’t keep a love lock down. According to the Local, the city is putting this romantic trash up for auction early next year—and all proceeds will benefit refugees.

The locks, which have been hanging out in a warehouse for about 18 months, will be sold off in chunks “at an affordable price,” announced Bruno Julliard, the chief of environment at Paris City Hall. “All of the proceeds will be given to those who work in support and in solidarity of the refugees in Paris.” Julliard expects to raise about €100,000 ($105,000). 

Afghan refugees camping out in Paris.
Afghan refugees camping out in Paris. Evan Bench/CC BY 2.0

Over the past few months, thousands of African and Afghan migrants have ended up in the city, often camping in the streets until they are either bused to reception centers elsewhere in the country, or scattered by police. 

Lisa Anselmo, one of the first people to call for the locks to be removed, is pleased. “It’s a much better way to show love—the universal kind of love,” she told the Local.

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