To many travelers, the love locks covering the Pont des Arts symbolize eternal love. In reality, they’re an infrastructure nightmare, and the city of Paris has finally decided to remove them, for once and for all.
From June 1-7, the city will be dismantling the locks completely, and plans are in place to eventually remove the bridge’s metal grills, replacing them with padlock-proof plexiglass walls to end the custom forever.
While the origins of the love lock tradition are unknown, the practice surged in popularity following the 2006 publication of novel I Want You, in which a young couple adds a lock to Rome’s famed Ponte Milvio.
The romantic trend spread throughout Europe and the United States causing serious structural issues for famed bridges. The Pont des Arts specifically is thought to be carrying 165,000 pounds of extra lock weight, and a piece of the railing broke off in June of 2014 because of the stress.
Caroline Hallemann is the associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @challemann.