L'Amour à la Française


Now the French are weighing in on the saga of the "lovelocks" (see Our love is here to stay and Where did our love go?). With the fencing on the Pont des Arts and some other Paris bridges almost entirely covered by small padlocks left by romantic couples as symbols of their everlasting love, Parisians are said to have become increasingly irritated. "Walking on those bridges has become almost insufferable for them," writes Agnès Poirier in The New York Times. What rankles is not just the unsightliness of the locks but also "the idea that a lock could represent love. Such an idea is abhorrent to them," she says. "At the heart of love à la française lies the idea of freedom… Love is not about possession or property. Love is no prison where two people are each other's slaves." Or, in the words of a 23-year-old café waiter, "The fools! They haven't understood a thing about love, have they?" Mme. Poirier recalls the French philosopher Alain Badiou and concludes, "The idea that you can lock two people's love once and for all, and toss the key, is a puerile fantasy…love is inherently hazardous. Embrace its fragility. But don't ever dream of locks and throwing keys overboard, especially not in Paris." Vive la France.