On Sunday, April 12th, I'll be making a (probably very brief) appearance on a French TV documentary about Notre Dame. It will be airing tomorrow evening at 6:30pm/18:30 local Paris time, on channel M6 for their regular program 66 Minutes: Grand Journal. If you're in France, please tune in and watch!
I was invited to participate because the producers heard about the No Love Locks campaign, and they were also planning to interview one of the leaders of another historic preservation group whose members live in the Notre Dame neighborhood -- they've been trying to get the city to clear locks from the Pont Neuf and other bridges in their quartier for several years, and we decided to partner with them last year. The producers decided to have us both on camera together on the Pont de l'Archevêché, discussing how horrible this locks have become, and how it really degrades the neighborhood and view of the stunning cathedral. While most of the focus and press about love locks in Paris centers around the Pont des Arts, the Pont de l'Archevêché is just as grotesquely disfigured, and because it is located directly behind Notre Dame, the visual pollution has a huge negative impact on the surrounding area. Imagine you are one of the people living on the Ile de la Cité, and as an island-dweller you have no choice but to pass one of these ugly, locks-laden bridges every day as you go about your life? Intolerable!
So to have the producers of the documentary decide to include a segment on the impact of the locks on the historic Notre Dame site is, well, monumental.
Here's how this bridge looked in 2007 (and how it is SUPPOSED to look) when I took this photo one summer evening:
And here's how it looks today (M6 cameraman getting a close-up of the plague of locks):
I hope the program, and my little part of it, will turn out well and that they will not have edited out the key points I wanted to convey (and I'm hoping I didn't horribly embarrass myself while speaking in French); but I'm very proud that our work on No Love Locks got us an invite to be in an actual documentary about my favorite cathedral, a program that will be viewed by people all over France!
Hopefully, after the program airs, there will be a link online in case you want to watch the program (it will be all in French). Check back here for updates on that.
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UPDATE: Well, bad news: producer of the M6 Notre Dame documentary this evening just informed me they had to cut me entirely from the program, which was "too long". Denise, the lovely French woman who represents the local historic preservation society, apparently survived the editing cuts and will talk about the love locks. That's good, but so disappointing that our No Love Locks campaign will not be represented!
I'm sure it will still be a nice feature on Notre Dame and we plan to watch anyway, especially to see what love locks information did make it into the piece. 18:30 tonight on M6.