Photo of the Day: Love Locks in Paris

Paris is a romantic city. The architecture, the lights, the food, the language; it’s hard to deny that this city is a place for love.

One of the classic expressions of romance in the City of Light is the collection of love padlocks on some of Paris’ most classic bridges. Love locks are a simple thing: a couple writes their names on a padlock, locks it to one of the bridges, and if they are really committing to everlasting love, throws the key into the Seine.

The weight of love in Paris is so big that a few years ago, town hall was concerned about the influence of the locks on the city’s architectural integrity, and one night, all of the thousands of locks were cut down – although the culprit remains unknown. But even French bureaucracy can’t win in the battle of love, and locks returned, in all colors and sizes.

You’ll find the biggest assortment on Pont des Arts and Pont de l’Archevêché (which bridge you choose depends on which type of love you are trying to express), where Flickr user jrodmanjir snapped this photo.

Have your own travel photos that capture a special moment? Submit them to the Gadling Flickr Pool for a chance to be featured on Photo of the Day.

[Photo Credit: jrodmanjir]

Padlocks Of Love Removed From Bridge In Rome

RomeOfficials in Rome have removed the so-called “padlocks of love” from the famous Ponte Milvio, the BBC reports. This is the latest phase of an ongoing struggle between the city and romantic couples that we’ve been reporting on since 2007.

It all started when Italian novelist Frederico Moccia wrote “I Want You,” in which a couple put a bicycle lock around the bridge’s lamppost and tossed the key into the Tiber as a symbol of their undying love. It soon became a fad and the locks became so heavy they actually broke the lamppost. After that people started putting locks all over the bridge.

The bridge was built over the Tiber River in 115 B.C. and was the site of the famous Battle of Milvian Bridge, in which the Emperor Constantine defeated his rival Maxentius to take over Rome, a move that was the beginning of the end of paganism.

Officials say rust from the locks is damaging the historic bridge. Putting a lock on the bridge carries a 50 euro ($51) fine. This is the second time the city has removed the locks. It probably won’t be the last.

Putting locks on landmarks has become a trend in other spots as well. Near where I live in Santander, northern Spain, couples do this on a railing by a cliff overlooking the sea. Is there a similar custom in your local area? Tell us in the comments section!

[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]

VIDEO: Everyone says I love you in 15 languages


In case you decided to save your Valentine’s Day celebration for this weekend, you may want to show your Valentine how worldly and well-traveled you are and find a new way to say “I love you“. Traveler and photographer Kien Lam, who previously brought us the amazing Speeding Around the World in Under 5 Minutes, has made a special romantic video to capture the essence of love around the globe. Show Your Love shows us how similar love is, no matter the country, language, or medium, incorporating 15 different languages from Arabic to Braille to Swahili in love letters, music, texts, and other creative ways to express your feelings.

Show us your love and leave us a mushy comment in your native language!

Caixa Forum Madrid opens major exhibitition on Eugene Delacroix

Madrid, Liberté
Caixa Forum Madrid has teamed up with the Louvre and several other museums and galleries to host a major exhibition on French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix.

Delacroix (1798-1863) is most famous for his painting Liberté, shown above in this Wikimedia Commons image. This masterpiece commemorates the revolution of 1830 in which French king Charles X abdicated and fled to Great Britain. Absolute monarchy was abolished and a constitutional monarchy was created.

This exhibition brings together more than 130 works of the French master from all phases of his career and explores how he was inspired by Spanish painters such as Goya and later influenced Picasso. Unsatisfied with the artistic life in Paris, Delacroix set off to see the world and paint it. He was an adventure traveler in an age when that really meant something and many of his best paintings are of (then) hard-to-get-to countries. The painting below, courtesy Wikimedia Commons, shows The Women of Algiers in their Apartment.

Caixa Forum Madrid is an amazing free art gallery with three floors of exhibition space, a large bookshop, and a cool vertical garden in front. Visiting it is one of the ten best things to do in Madrid. The show runs until January 15, 2012. It will reopen at the Caixa Forum Barcelona in February.
Madrid

Five steps to a romantic New Hampshire getaway

New Hampshire romantic getaway
Put the stress and pressure of the workday behind you. This is exactly what was on my mind a few weeks ago. I needed to get away from the daily grind for a bit, and the back roads of New England were calling. I wanted something quiet, remote and relaxing. New Hampshire came to mind immediately.

It had been a while since my last trip to New Hampshire – close to 20 years since my last visit to the White Mountains. So, I had to reacquaint myself with the local options. In the process of doing so, I found five crucial steps to planning a great romantic getaway to the Granite State.

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When you’re planning your long weekend (or longer) in New Hampshire (or western Massachusetts, Vermont or Maine), keep the following in mind:

1. Invest some time in picking the right room: for me, this was probably the most important part of planning my getaway. I wanted to find an inn (not a bed and breakfast or a hotel) that had a fireplace and an in-room Jacuzzi. I wouldn’t compromise on these criteria … and I wanted them at less than $200 a night (all in). Since the New England Inns and Resorts Association website allows you to search member properties based on these elements, that’s where I went to do my homework and book, finding the Christmas Farm Inn, in Jackson, NH. It wound up being exactly what I was looking form.

2. Remember the New Hampshire state liquor stores: wine is not expensive! The state liquor stores have a wide selection of wines, and they’re a bit cheaper (in most cases) than they are in nearby Boston and not-so-nearby New York. Pick up a few bottles, depending on the length of your stay, for in-room enjoyment. Think about it: (a) wine by the fireplace, (b) wine in the Jacuzzi, (c) wine on the deck and (d) wine in bed. This really is a no-brainer.

3. Get a sense of the cuisine ahead of time: if you’re visiting northern New Hampshire from a city, be ready for some differences. The restaurants close a lot earlier, especially off season. So, hitting the local restaurant at 10:30 PM just isn’t an option – you’ll starve! Plan to eat earlier dinners, leaving more time for chilled wine in the Jacuzzi back at your room (there’s an upside to everything). While there are some interesting options in the area (such as Wine Thyme in North Conway, NH), upscale alternatives aren’t as common as they are in New York or Boston. Be ready to de-prioritize culinary and focus on the “romantic” part of “romantic getaway.”

4. Fight the urge to stay in your room: the whole point of a romantic getaway is to enjoy the person you’re with … which sometimes leads to longer mornings in bed and the temptation not to wander too far from the room (hint, hint). Keep the spirit without becoming a hermit by packing a lunch and a bottle of wine before heading over to Rocky Gorge in White Mountain National Forest. Sit on the rocks as the river rushes by, and sip on a glass of Pinot Noir if the air is crisp (Gruener if it isn’t). Circle the nearby lake for a bit of privacy; the trail is easy to walk and won’t draw as much traffic as Rocky Gorge.

5. Take in a sunset: for a fantastic sunset, head over to Cathedral Ledge. It isn’t far from the Conway, NH area, so you won’t lose much time to the drive. In summer, the later sunset might leave you scrambling to find dinner afterward, so choose a restaurant that’s nearby to make sure you aren’t scrounging after enjoying a bit of natural beauty.