#lovewithoutlocks: selfies may be key to Paris love lock problems

Paris: City officials are turning to social media in an attempt to save the city's historic bridges from collapsing under the burden of too much love.

Couples are being urged to stop fastening "love locks" on bridge railings and post selfies online instead.

The practice of attaching padlocks inscribed with lovers' names, initials or simply a heart has become so popular in recent years that bridges over the Seine are now festooned with hundreds of thousands of "love locks".

Their weight caused a section of metal mesh on the Pont des Arts footbridge to collapse in June, raising fears for public safety.

Notices are being placed on bridges from today explaining the danger and advising couples to mark their love by taking selfies on a Paris bridge and posting them on Twitter with the hashtag #lovewithoutlocks.

"There was no question of a clampdown or penalising tourists who place padlocks, so we're proposing that they use a 'social wall' instead," a city official told Le Parisien.

The "love locks" trend is believed to have originated in Russia or Italy a decade ago before catching on around the world.

In Chester, in Britain's north-west, the council ordered the removal of 330 padlocks from the Queen's Park Suspension Bridge last month. Paris officials want to tread more lightly for fear of damaging its reputation as one of the world's most romantic cities.

However, thousands of people have signed a petition against the "frightful and dangerous" practice, leading to months of debate about how to solve the problem.

Telegraph, London

This article #lovewithoutlocks: selfies may be key to Paris love lock problems was originally published in Brisbane Times.