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Cruising Article –03/28/2011

Locks of love in Paris, France

European Cruise Destinations

Couples on a European cruise may have a chance to disembark in Normandy, France, where several shore excursions will take them the extra two hours to Paris. Once they've arrived in the French capital, they can take full advantage of the City of Love's romantic traditions 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 Florence, Italy, where travelers do the same at the Uffizi and Ponte Vechhio bridges, tossing the key into the nearby Arno River.