While you can no longer place a love lock on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, you can still lock up your love with your spouse or family in the little town of Lovelock, Nevada.
City of Love Bans the Love Lock
For more than seven years, tourists have flocked to Pont des Arts in Paris to place a lock on the bridge’s fence and toss the key into the Seine River below, symbolizing everlasting love. Last year, Paris began removing the locks because the bridge’s fences were crumbling under the weight.
There are several other places you can still participate in this sentimental act of love. Locations in Germany, South Korea, Russia, China, Serbia, Italy and more all have some type of love lock installation. And in the United States we have Lovelock, Nevada.
Chains of Love Locks
There are conflicting stories on the origin of the “love lock” tradition throughout the world. As far as the city of Lovelock is concerned, it comes from an ancient Chinese custom of symbolically locking your love on a never-ending chain. As long as the lock remains on the chain, love will endure.
On Valentine’s Day 2006, the city dedicated Lovers Lock Plaza, a quiet, scenic area behind their courthouse where chains of locks hold the love of thousands who have passed through its quiet streets.
If you forget to pick up a lock before coming to town, you can buy one at the local Chevron gas station, the Lovelock Visitor’s Center, or Temptations, which is where we stopped due to its location right across the street from Lovers Lock Plaza. Temptations is a pretty little place with a coffee bar, deli, ice cream, and gift shop. If you’re looking for a hot meal, the Cowpoke Cafe also gets good reviews on its burgers and small-town cafe menu.
After getting some treats, coffees, and a lock at Temptations, we walked over to the Plaza, read about the tradition, and looked at the chains of locks. We picked a spot and I had the whole family put a hand on the lock as we locked it. If my kids thought it was a little corny, they didn’t show it. I think they actually liked it.
Just two square miles in size, Lovelock is home to three public parks, a skateboard park, a community swimming pool, a hospital, elementary, middle and high schools, a public library, a community center and several businesses. (Interesting, though not romantic, factoid: Lovelock Correctional Center is where O.J. Simpson is currently imprisoned.)
Perfect Road Trip Stop or Visit from Reno/Tahoe
This tiny town in Nevada may not be a final destination for Valentine’s Day or a romantic getaway, but Lovelock is just 90 miles east of Reno – The Biggest Little City on Earth – and 150 miles from South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Both are fantastic spots to vacation for families and couples alike, with tons of winter and summer sports, outdoor adventures, terrific food, casinos, concerts, shopping, and spectacularly romantic views of the Sierra Nevada mountains and Lake Tahoe. And Lovelock is the perfect stop on a road trip through Nevada – it’s right off I-80 and there is a playground next to the Plaza if your little ones need to burn off some pent-up energy.
It’s not Paris, but if you’re in the Lovelock area, your won’t regret taking your loved ones to lock up your love.