Money might not be able to buy love, but it can buy the next closest thing—one of Paris’ “love locks.” The city of Paris is turning the tourist attraction into a good cause, donating money raised from the selling of padlocks placed on bridges to charity.
The locks, once known as a symbol of romance, were placed on the bridges by tourists beginning in 2008 and started creating problems in 2012 due to their weight. Get this: The weight of the locks was equal to about 20 baby elephants! Obviously, under that kind of pressure, sections of fencing began falling out, making it quite dangerous.
When authorities decided to remove the padlocks in 2015, they were left with 65 metric tons (71 US tons) of scrap metal. With all the leftover waste, it was time to get creative. And what better way to re-purpose love than by giving? The city is now selling the locks once affixed to the bridges and donating the money to the Salvation Army, Emmaus Solidarity and Solipam. Beginning May 13, you can purchase them through an online auction.
“Members of the public can buy five or 10 locks, or even clusters of them, all at an affordable price,” Bruno Julliard, first deputy mayor of Paris told The Guardian. “All of the proceeds will be given to those who work in support and in solidarity of the refugees in Paris.”
The locks are being sold in different groups—some a single lot, others with multiple locks. Most locks are unique, with couples’ initials scrawled in them, so you’re not just buying regular padlocks you’d get at the store. Smaller lots are expected to sell for $100-$2oo, while large pieces of the railings could go for as much as $9,000 each. Hey, you can’t put a price on love, right?
While the locks may no longer be on the bridges, they will now be spreading love around the world as people from all over buy the romantic souvenirs.