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Viator Promoting Vandalism Tours of Paris

Padlocks on bridge

In the latest episode of heartbreak and disgust, the world’s largest reseller of tours is promoting vandalism tours, and the beautiful bridge overlooking the 863-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral is completely covered in ugly scaffolding after its railing were destroyed by the rusting padlocks known as “Love Locks”. 

UPDATE April 26th: Thanks to the public outcry and many of your emails, Viator has removed the “Love Lock” tour from its website! The FB page remains active, but hopefully not for long. Thank you to everyone who took the time to share this article and to speak out against the destruction of Paris’s beautiful bridges, it makes a difference! 

locks on Paris bridge
Le Pont de l’Archevêché behind Notre Dame, behind scaffolding until late summer 2016 because of the rusting padlocks.

Are you as sick of reading about the destructive “love locks” as I am writing about them? Unfortunately until tourists stop attaching padlocks to the city’s historic bridges and monuments, I’m going to keep reminding you (and I’m hoping you’ll pass it on to your friends and family and colleagues when they travel to Paris). 

Despite the massive, ongoing efforts of the Mayor of Paris and citizen campaigns like No Love Locks, there are still idiots attaching padlocks anywhere they feel like it. Yesterday I discovered by chance that Viator is now marketing a vandalism tour where couples pay €120 per person for the “Love Locks Workshop while Drinking Champagne”. On this “tour” they get to choose and customize a padlock while drinking Champagne, then “when your Love Lock is ready your guides will conduct you to hang it up on the poetic Pont de l’Archevêché, where there’s a great view of Notre Dame.” I almost threw up reading this. Viator, owned by TripAdvisor, is the largest reseller of tours in the world. As I mentioned in my article What You Don’t Know about TripAdvisor (which now has 80k views!), Viator lets anyone post any tour at all without verifying legality, let alone legitimacy. There is no way to flag the tour, nor a “contact” link to ask Viator to remove it. The “guide” Eléonore Chevallier and her husband also have a Facebook page promoting the destructive tours.

Paris bridge in locks
View of the Pont de l’Archevêché from the Left Bank, covered in scaffolding.
locks on bridge

"No love locks" sign
The little red heart up at the top of this sign says “Our bridges can no longer withstand your gestures of love. No more love locks!”

The most distressing thing is that the railings of the specific bridge they mention has been completely ripped out because of the damage and are now under scaffolding. The pictures above are from this weekend, and the ones below from last summer.

padlocks on bridge by Notre Dame
The Pont de l’Archevêché covered in rusting padlocks and graffiti, from summer 2015.

Unfortunately each time the City of Paris finds a way to prevent padlocks from being attached to a bridge, the vandals just find a new place to attach them: I noticed there are now padlocks being attached to the fencing in front of the Cathedral. Disgusting!

padlocks ruining Notre Dame

Speak out against this horrific practice, and please tell your friends visiting Paris not to participate in the destruction of this beautiful city! 

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  • man i cant even believe it when i hear this stuff… i had a friend and his bride go to paris a year or two ago and they were so happy to have hung a 'love lock', which i had never heard of (i've been to paris twice before and never heard of such a thing). i thought it was cute until i started reading these horrible posts about what the locks are doing to the bridges… i was mortified. i pulled out a pic of notre dame from when i last went 25 years ago and compared it to a recent one and could not believe what the bridge looked like. i mean the idea is cute and all, but this type of destruction is just disgusting… my beautiful paris, i can't believe ppl keep doing this now regardless. what a bunch of idiots, and the city needs to go after these tours and fine them heavily for doing this. i am NEVER using travelocity or via whatever, ever.

  • i was horrified to see a coke of locks attached to the Pont Alexandre III on my last visit. And then you go and read reviews on TripAdvisor by fools who have placed locks urging others to do the same. Seriously, they must be so selfish and self absorbed, it's disgusting.

  • I wrote on the wall and got a reply from a man who strikes me as rather strange, by claiming it's legal in Paris so he feels sorry for me in my home town where it's not legal , I have no idea if it's legal in Atlanta I doubt anyone has ever even tried it here LOL!) . His "page" is also locked down. I wonder if he's connected with this stupid idea. Maybe the partner of the owner?

  • I was in Paris a few weeks ago and was saddened to see that people have now started attaching padlocks to any bit of metal they can find not only on bridges but any loop of wire sticking out of a wall, etc! I have visited Paris many times and have never felt the need to put padlock anywhere except on my suitcase! I hope the authorities can find ways to stop the vandalism so we can enjoy the beauty of Paris.

  • I was very interested to read about Trip Advisor and Viator. What an eye-opener. Thanks so much (… and I won't be reviewing anymore for them, that's for certain!)Mary Bartlett

  • Throw the sellers in jail and fine them enough to make it obvious that they need another way to steal money from the tourists. Viatour's website seems to be missing anything related to Paris.

  • Pont Saint-Louis is a three-minute walk from Pont de l'Archevêché, yet pont Saint-Louis has no locks what so ever on it. Why? Because the vertical metal pillars supporting the railing on the fences at the sides of the bridge are too thick for locks to be attached there. It's not that I know much about this kind of thing but I suspect it would be cheaper for the city to replace the fences on targeted bridges with fences like the those on Pont Saint-Louis, rather than experimenting with expensive heavy glass of the same caliber of that used in banks, Fort Knox, the US embassy here, etc…

  • What a shame that this travesty is being perpetuated as something fun and romantic to do while in Paris. This is unsanctioned vandalism and I hope that nobody is actually scheduling a "tour" like this.

  • In addition, I followed the links to Viatour's Website, and have emailed the tour leader to let her know how I feel about this. I'm hoping she replies, but not holding my breath!I'd love to see her 'in-box" flooded with emails explaining to her just how wrong this is.

  • This is absolutely disgusting! Thanks for the link to their Facebook page. I've left a scatting comment there, but I'm guessing it will be deleted in short order. I've also bookmarked their page, so I can continue to leave negative comments.

  • What confuses me is the fact that everyday I walk over the bridge from the left bank into Tuileries and see that there are city workers,( most of the time 6 to ten of them) removing the locks. At the same time, there are 2 guys selling the locks and tourists continuing to put them on the bridge fence right in front of the men removing them. It makes me crazy to see this. Is the city really that serious about the locks not being put on our bridges or not??

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