Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Lost in Paris ~ Part 2

On a walk along the famous Pont des Arts bridge, I stumbled across a tour party and listened with interest to the guide's stories about the famous 'Love Padlocks' (pictured above). Apparently the Love Locks started to appear in 2008 as a result of the famous scene in the last episode of Sex and the City, where Carrie and Big kiss on this bridge. Romantics from all over the world came to share a kiss on the bridge, leaving a mark of their eternal love by writing their names on a padlock and fastening it to the bridge, then throwing away the key into the Seine. The guide joked that if you look close enough you'll see three names on some padlocks, as the French are fond of the Menage a trois. He also said that local boys tend to buy combination padlocks if their love is insincere.
The trend has become so popular that Pont des Arts is now overflowing with padlocks, and the trend has extended to other bridges across the city.

Locals have started a protest to get them removed, and the government is taking steps towards this (the day I was on the bridge a panel had already been taken away). They believe the padlocks are ruining beautiful historical structures as the weight of the padlocks is damaging the bridge, as well as altering it visually. Environmentalists have also been leading protests, as the keys being thrown into the Seine are polluting the water. I like the quirky trend, but I can understand why the locals want to preserve the beauty of their city. I love the fact some couples have now resorted to clipping their padlocks onto the lamp posts...

I love walking around the St Germaine part of Paris - this is where a lot of famous artists and literary types used to hang out back in the day, and I think it has a really magical atmosphere. As soon as I stepped inside Jardin de Luxembourg I felt the same sense of calm I experienced on my last visit. I enjoyed watching children sailing old fashioned boats on the pond - there's a sense of stepping back in time in this park and this image only added to that. The photo I captured of the boats is one of my favourites from this trip.

One of my favourite discoveries on this trip was the Stravinksy Fountain, which is outside the Pompidou Centre. The whole surrounding area is like a Surrealist exhibition, with interesting grafitti on the walls and steps, and the bizarre sculptures in the fountain itself look like something from a Tim Burton film set. I spent a lot of time walking around the fountain, taking photos of the sculptures from different angles. The more I looked at it, the more bizarre it became!

What added to the whole scene was when a gang of young men arrived, and sat at the edge of the fountain, dressed in black and purple studded clothes, with spiked or dreadlock hair. They looked like futuristic rebels from a dystopian film and had quite an intimidating air about them. They kept laughing amongst themselves as if they knew a secret about the fountain none of us ignorant tourists had any clue about. I was too scared to take a photograph of them! Wish I hadn't been such a chicken now.

A peaceful moment was sitting in Park Jean XIII, which overlooks the back section of Notre Dame. You can see so much gothic detail on the building from this angle, that it's a nice place to sit. A local Parisian man sat down beside me and chatted for a while, telling me that the Illes St Louis part of Paris has become so expensive only rich Americans and Italians can afford to buy apartments there. He told me that the leaves of the trees in this park are magic, and that if you leave them in water for 6 months and then pour it into your plants they bloom within days.

What made this trip, was the quirky hotel I stayed in, Hotel Notre Dame.  My friend Rebecca had blogged about it after her stay there last year and I loved the unique/arty style of the rooms. The real selling point was the prospect of having a room overlooking Notre Dame and the Seine, which I got. Nothing quite beats the sound of the bells of Notre Dame ringing in the early morning.

Paris, I look forward to a part 3 sometime.


  1. Absolutely beautiful, Vikki. A fantastic post that once again encapsulates the magic of Paris by focusing on beautiful details. I love the boats sailing on the pond. I think I could very happily spend a whole day people-watching in the Jardin de Luxembourg, escaping into old-fashioned times and seeing life at a slower pace.
    Many thanks for these brilliant posts and I look forward to more in the future. x

    1. Thanks Joanna-the park was a great place to people watch-spotted some interesting characters who I'm sure will pop up in a story in some form sometime!

  2. Love your second post, Vikki - it's a lovely snapshot of Paris. I didn't know they'd started padlocking the rails here - that's a very Russian tradition! Your hotel sounds ideal for staying in that lovely area.

  3. I think the love padlocks have started appearing in lots of European cities. The hotel was great and love that area of the city!

  4. Glad you loved the hotel Vikki - you feel like you are at the centre of everything with the Seine and Notre Dame from each window!

    I am also a padlock culprit and it happened to be a combination lock...oh dear. I think it is very romantic but obviously the environment needs to come first. Collectively, all those padlocks must weigh so much.

    The image of the boats on the pond in the park is really beautiful and serene; a pocket of calm in a beautiful city full of magic :)

  5. I think the padlocks are romantic too, Rebecca, so it's a shame in a way that it became so popular as it's the sheer volume of them that's the problem! Ha, I would never have thought anything of using a combination lock until hearing that story! So just forget your read that cynical tradition from the local boys:) The park is indeed a lovely pocket of calm in the city!

  6. cheap heard here, the heart asics trainers clearance sale of a dynamic, is the asics trainers clearance sale first time to consider this issue. asics trainers clearance sale helper that man. cheap asics trainers clearance Rubbing his eyes and said little brother, sister tell you if I was not a virgin, do you still want my sister. cheap aware of this problem must be asics trainers clearance sale immediately answered, asics trainers clearance would allow just a moment's hesitation .