Earth & Conservation

Paris Is Turning Its Famous 'Love Locks' Into Cash for Refugees

Officials look to sell the city's famed symbols of enduring romance.

Paris' famed "love locks" – padlocks attached to bridge rails by people in love, the keys thrown away to symbolize their enduring bond – are set to become a charitable commodity of sorts.

Officials in the city have announced they will sell tons of the locks and use the proceeds from the sales to help fund refugee groups, according to The Local.

The city will be able to draw on a vast store of merchandise for the effort, thanks to its removal in 2015 of more than 70 tons worth of locks from Paris bridges.

Though details of the process, expected to commence sometime in 2017, remain scant, the central idea is that citizens will be able to buy the locks in small groups or in bulk. The city hopes to raise about €100,000 (US$107,619) from the sale. Any locks that go unsold will be melted down and sold for scrap.

"All of the proceeds will be given to to those who work in support and in solidarity of the refugees in Paris," Paris City Hall Environment Chief Bruno Julliard told The Local.

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Paris isn't the only city that's experienced the love locks tradition. The practice, which often includes inscriptions written on the locks themselves, has spread to cities worldwide, including New York, Toronto and Vancouver, among many others.

Paris officials tried in 2014 to urge citizens and tourists to instead take selfies while on the city's bridges, but that effort failed.

The lock removal in 2015 was spurred in large part by an organization called "No Love Locks," which urged city officials to remove what it considered unsightly – and potentially unsafe, due to the added weight the locks placed on bridges – marks on the City of Light. Panels were placed on bridge rails to prevent the lovesick from establishing a permanent love lock.

Top Photo: James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images WATCH VIDEO: This Is Your Brain When It's in Love