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A Timeless Piece of the City of Light for 200 Euros

The padlocks on the Pont des Arts bridge were removed in 2015 because they were weakening its structure, and will now be sold at auction on Saturday, May 13, in Paris. A timeless piece of the City of Light for 200 euros. Going once…! Going twice…!

Any couple finding themselves in the French capital would traditionally attach a padlock to the balustrade on the Pont des Arts — a pedestrian footbridge over the River Seine in front of the Palais du Louvre — before throwing the key into the river. More than one million padlocks were reportedly attached over the years, the equivalent of 45 tons of metal.

These tokens of love and faithfulness were threatening the structure of the bridge and the safety of those on it, and so the Paris city hall ordered their removal in June 2015. Some 164 lots of padlocks presented as bunches or even intact on a portion of the grillwork will be auctioned off on Saturday, May 13, at the Crédit Municipal building, a historical pawnshop in the fourth arrondissement. Prices range from 150 to 200 euros for a bunch mounted on a stand, and from 5,000 to 10,000 euros for a section of the bridge between 3.9 and 10.8 feet.

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Three clusters of padlocks sold between 150 and 200 euros. © Studio Sebert/Credit Municipal de Paris

The money raised will be donated to three charities whose missions include helping migrants and refugees across France: Emmaüs, l’Armée du Salut and SOLIPAM (Solidarité Paris Maman), a network of health professionals who help vulnerable women through pregnancy.

The lots will be exhibited to the public from May 10 until May 12 from 10 pm to 4 pm, and on May 13 from 10 am to 1 pm at the Crédit Municipal building in Paris. The auction will begin on May 13 at 3 pm and will also be accessible online.

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