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Cruising Article –02/17/2011

Locks of love in Paris, France

Couples on a European cruise may have a chance to stop off in Paris, where they can take full advantage of the City of Love's romantic tradition by "locking" their love on the Pont Des Artes Bridge.

The Pont Des Artes is the perfect setting for a romantic walk, as it overlooks the beautiful Seine River. A tradition among travelers that has sprung up in recent years has been to purchase a padlock (numerous vendors in the area sell them) and either write or engrave their names and the date on it. Couples then clasp the lock around the bridge's fence before throwing the key into the water, a symbol of their everlasting bond.

Despite some claiming that the locks are vandalism, the practice is popular and the city has not made an official statement discouraging the tradition. Nobody is exactly sure how the trend started, but the Huffington Post cites two possible sources. One is the novel "I Want You" by Federico Moccia, which sees the main characters perform a similar act - although it is at the Ponte Milvio Bridge in Rome.

Another possible root is Mount Huang in China, where travelers do the same at a fence by the mountain. Rather than throw the key into the water, they throw it into a valley that is frequently covered in mist. The story goes that in order to break up, the couple must venture into the valley and retrieve the key - no small task.